Barry Jones | Staff Writer
Photo Credit: Flickr User The DePaulia
In the eyes of the public, songwriting is one of the more underrated aspects of a musician’s overall talent. However, every year, the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame recognizes some of the best songwriters to ever contribute to the music industry.
The 2020 list of nominees is full of familiar names such as The Neptunes, Mariah Carey, The Isley Brothers, Outkast and Journey. According to the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame website, “A songwriter with a notable catalog of songs qualifies for induction 20 years after the first commercial release of a song.”
“Every year, the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame recognizes some of the best songwriters to ever contribute to the music industry.”
Many of these acts, specifically the Neptunes, Outkast and The Isley Brothers, are known for their own amazing catalog but are not often recognized for the records on which they have written. As a way to understand the versatility and pure talent of this year’s nominees, let us take a look at the records they have contributed to in the realm of songwriting.
The Neptunes: Though they are most famously known for being responsible for their long stint in hip-hop, pop and R&B production, the Neptunes (Pharrell Williams & Chad Hugo) have written an incredible amount of popular hit records. Those include Frank Ocean’s “Sweet Life” (2012), Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” (2005) and Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” (2002).
The Isley Brothers: The Isley Brothers are one of the most prolific groups to come out of the 1970s. Their catalog ranges over five decades. Their most famous member, Ronald Isley, has not only written a majority of their own catalog but has also written for some of music’s biggest stars. These include: Whitney Houston’s “One of Those Days” (2002), Salt-N-Pepa’s “Shake your Thang” (1988) and Naughty by Nature’s “Hip Hop Hooray” (1992). Some of their own biggest hits include: “Footsteps pt. 1 & 2,” “Choosey Lover” and “Between the Sheets.”
Outkast: Another group that is known for its prolific hip-hop catalog, Outkast has secretly accumulated songwriting credits ever since its beginning. Both Big Boi and Andre 3000 wrote on Beyonce’s “All Night” single off her 2016 album “Lemonade.” They have also written on J. Cole’s 2010 single “Who Dat.”
In addition to these writing credits, Outkast remains as one of the most sampled hip-hop groups of all time, so a majority of their writing credits come from other artists paying homage to Outkast’s original lines or song titles.
The 2020 class of nominees for the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame is one of the more talented classes of late as it relates to hip-hop, R&B and funk/soul talents. The winners will be inducted June 11.