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Yeezus’ Album Credits Reveal Possible Clearance Error


The liner notes on Kanye West’s Yeezus are dense and filled with a surprising cast of characters and mind-blowing samples. But amidst all the ghostwriters and additional producers there appears to be an error.

The song “Guilt Trip,” featuring Kid Cudi, includes writing credits for Keith Elam, Chris Martin, Kelvin Hansford, Dupre Kelly, Al-Terik Wardrick, and Marlon Williams. Further down, it is explained that the song “contains interpolations” of a song called “Chief Rocka,” which was written by the above-listed names.

“Chief Rocka” is a classic single by New Jersey hip-hop group Lords of the Underground that came out in 1993. The “interpolation” referred to in the album credits appears to be a line on West’s first verse, “the one Chief Rocka, number one Chief Rocka,” which is the hook of the original song. That explains why Hansford, Kelly, Wardrick, and Williams are credited; Hansford, also known as K-Def, produced “Chief Rocka,” while Kelly, Wardrick, and Williams are the three members of Lords of the Underground (DoItAll, Mr. Funk, and DJ Lord Jazz).

But what about Elam and Martin? Hip-hop fans know them better as Guru and DJ Premier, respectively. Together Guru and Premier formed the legendary hip-hop group Gang Starr. And that’s where things get confusing in the liner notes. Gang Starr did not make an appearance on “Chief Rocka.” Premier did not produce the beat; K-Def did. Meanwhile, the original single only credits Wardrick, Kelly, Hansford, and Williams with writing the song.

Chances are likely that this was just an oversight on the part of the person putting together the liner notes. He or she might have assumed that “Chief Rocka” was a Gang Starr song. And this is why you don’t make assumptions in the Internet era.

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