Category: Is rap poetry

Is rap poetry

One of the eternal debates of the popular arts is whether rap music is a form of poetry. English teacher Christina M. Rau claims that it's not in this guest commentary from The Irascible Professor. That is, rappers are manipulating their lyrics to fit a metrical pattern. If it doesn't fit the metrical pattern, it's not rap. You can't read any blank verse poem as is and have it be accepted as rap The problem is that mediocre rap tends to repeat the same phrase over and over and restrict their themes to "booty".

The good rap tends to include social commentary some serious, most more light hearted and have more complex lyrics.

is rap poetry

Here's an example of what I would call a good rap song from Eminem. The traditional line break looks like this: You better lose yourself in the music, the moment You own it, you better never let it go You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo.

The Poetry Foundation: Is Rap Poetry?

According to this, the song rambles a bit and has only one rhyme scheme, but it's missing where Eminem is placing his emphasis. My line break looks like this. Here you can see that there are multiple rhymes and that the foot structure is complex I would say nested.

The interesting thing about this question is that it is about ground zero of how linguists versus most other people view language. Rau's two main objections to rap are 1 it's not good standard English and 2 it's not pretty.

I don't think they're valid objections. Since when did f and t switch places And why is the th sound now an f? Take P. What is strenf and where can I get some? My response - it's not written in standard English, but some form of African American Vernacular English and the phrase "as if it were" is just not commonly used in that form. Nor is there a "th" - they've all become "f" as in "strengf".

Deal with it. Or in more academic terms - you cannot rule out that a form is NOT poetry just because it's in a non-standard language.

If you did that you'd be ruling out bluegrass music lyrics which many people do feel is lyrical art although that may also be a recent shift in attitudes.

However most people associate art with prestige language so Rau is not unusual here. My objection here is that this criticism is based on a subjective judgment. Rau is expecting a certain romanticism found in older styles of English poetry, but is extremely rare in rap. However, not all poetry around the world is "pretty". In fact many older European cultures separated war poetry bloody from other types of nature or romantic poetry pretty.

So again, I can't use "prettiness" as a criterion for poetry. That means I'm struck with "uses some sort of metrical system" rhythm, rhyme or alliteration as my definition of poetry. Most rap seems to have a staccato rhythm, so it's not surprising to me that romance is not a major theme although L. Cool J. Rap seems to be the bloodthirsty and lusty form of the genre. And believe me, if you think rap is lewd The imagery there is about as subtle as the ads asking if I want to impress my girlfriend in bed more.

BTW - It's not that the culture is lacking romance. I normally like the Irascible Professor blogso I was very disappointed in this column Posted by Elizabeth J. Pyatt on June 11, AM Permalink.To state the obvious, things can share certain attributes and not be the same sort of thing, and asking whether rap is poetry has always struck me as a useless question.

Both rap and poetry use literary devices like assonance and alliteration. Both use words. Both are spoken. But rap is a musical-verbal art and poetry is a verbal-musical-typographical one. So why make the comparison? It rhymes, often even internally. Its authors work hard on the lyrics. The subject matter is certainly artistically heightened, occasioning long-standing debates over whether the depictions of violence and misogyny in some of it are sincere.

Rap, considered as a literature rather than its top-selling hits, addresses a wide-range of topics, even including science fiction. Rap is now decades old, having evolved over time and being increasingly curated by experts. The history of poetics, however, records much more contestation than consensus. But while what counts as poetry changes over time and differs across cultures, Caplan is too quick to suggest that poetry has no stable generic characteristics.

One important one—and one that distinguishes it from both hip-hop and rap—is that the musicality and typography of poetry reside in the words themselves alone. In both formal and free verse, the musicality of a poem, whether it is created by end-rhymes, assonance, alliteration, repetition or other forms of internal rhyming, does not exist external to the poem.

In hop-hop and rap, while some musicians are more talented than others, and while rap lyrics do possess musicality repetition, assonance, alliterationthat musicality is incomplete without the beat and notes of the sampled music.

They were crafted to go with external rhythm and notes. Caplan, for one, makes a strong case that there is more to hip-hop in terms of artistry than is often granted, even if I think he oversells it. There is no such thing as high or low culture. There is interesting culture and boring culture. Let the songs or poems speak for themselves. Follow him on Twitter.Now almost 40 years old, rap burst out of the Bronx to become one of the dominant musical and cultural forces in this country.

Read An Excerpt. Then they had to do something on the microphone to keep people's attention You go into the lyrics and you can see just that," Bradley says. This is part of an oral tradition that stretches much further back than the actual history of recorded hip-hop. The first mainstream hip-hop hit was "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang. The lyrics to that song, Bradley says, are about the art form itself. A little while later, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five released a song that would change the direction of hip-hop forever.

Rap is all of these things at once, and it's still that way today. It tells the story of rap as lyric poetry.

What advice do you have for young poets?

Rap and hip-hop are not synonymous, though they are so closely associated that some use the terms interchangeably. Others invest them with distinct values—either rap describes commercialized music and hip-hop the sounds of the underground; or rap suggests a gritty style as in gangsta rap and hip-hop a more politically and socially conscious approach as in backpack hip-hop.

They are the poets, and rap is the poetry of hip-hop culture. Hip-hop emerged out of the impoverished South Bronx in the mids. In defiance of circumstance, a generation of young people—mostly black and brown—crafted a rich culture of words and song, of art and movement.

Rap was the voice of this culture, the linguistic analog of hyperkinetic dance moves, vividly painted subway cars, and skillfully mixed break beats. These young artists commandeered the English language, bending it to their own expressive purposes. Over time, the poetry they set to beats would command the ears of their block, their borough, their nation, and eventually the world.

Rap today bears the legacy of this inaugural generation and, as a consequence, is rightly associated with African American culture. This helps explain how rap—and hip-hop culture in general—has come to be embraced by people of all races and nations.

It is now the lingua franca of global youth culture, varied in its expressions but rooted in a common past. At the same time, rap has inspired heated debate concerning its explicit speech and subjects. For some, rap constitutes a chorus of welcome voices, previously suppressed; for others, it presents a troubling sign of cultural disarray. Beyond its controversy, however, a hip-hop lyrical tradition has taken shape through poetic gestures and forms that rappers developed over time.

The substantial body of literature that has emerged is both related to and distinct from the poetry of the past. In the past thirty years rap has led a renaissance of the word, driving a return to poetry in public life. Though rap is now widely disseminated in American culture, it has yet to attain adequate recognition as poetry even as universities incorporate it into English, African American studies, and music curricula.

Only a few poetry anthologies contain rap lyrics. This volume treats rap as a body of lyrics that responds to transcription, explication, and analysis as poetry. The lyrics included offer a kind of laboratory of language for those interested in the principles of poetics.

Similarities & Differences Between Poetry & Rap

Indeed, the study of rap is an effective means of introducing the key forms and concepts that define the poetic tradition: rappers embrace the clear sonic qualities of rhythm and rhyme, make ample use of figures and forms such as simile and metaphor, make storytelling a key component of their art, and emphasize the spirit of competition once central to poetry.

Just as any body of poetry can be studied from many angles, so too can rap. Viable approaches to the aesthetics of rap abound.We will write a custom Essay on Is Rap Poetry? Poetry can be defined as a unique Art that is created and designed using sounds. Poetry as an Art uses sounds to create an expression of what is intended Ntozake 1. Poetry has unique features that make it stand out as a form of Art. For example poems are popular for their application of rhyme, stress and meter Ron These features play a big role in enhancing sound patterns.

The expression is thus brought out clearly when the poem is recited aloud Randall The question that arises is therefore whether the rap music is poetry. Just like poetry, rap music uses sound to drive the intended message home. Rap artists play with their words to produce sounds that carry the intended message Alan It is therefore evident that rap uses the same process as poetry to achieve its ultimate goal. Stanzas and verses are other features that make rap to be classified as poetry.

Rap music produces its sounds in beats in a line. These lines create a verse Jace 2. This is the same case as in poetry. The physical appearances of both genres do not bring out any difference and this leads to conclusion that rap is poetry. Rap just like this poetry derive song lyrics from a renowned instrument called lyre that was used by poets of ancient times Nelson Rap as music has lyrics.

This usually creates rhyme. Rap is poetry as it is composed from happenings of day to day activities McIver This resembles poetry which depicts the literature and culture of people at a given period Jimmy Rap is one of the biggest selling music genres today, and many rap artists also consider themselves modern day poets, as do their fans.

Whether you prefer poetry over rap or the other way around, there are definitely similarities and differences between both art forms. The main difference is the music. In poetry, a combination of words will create a rhythm such as iambic pentameter.

With this type of phrasing, the first word is an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable with a total of 10 syllables per line. There is a rhythm to the phrasing of poetry and rapping. The difference is that the rhythm of rap works in conjunction to the beat of the music, so although the phrasing can be different, both retain a certain type of rhythm and flow of words.

Although rhyming isn't always present in rap or poetry, it certainly is common. In some poetry, the words at the end of two consecutive lines will rhyme, or the words at the end of the second and fourth lines. However, some artists will make a variation of rhymes throughout the poem. Rap will also rhyme, but the beats of the music will sometimes dictate the phrasing as well as the placement of the rhyming words.

With poets and rappers, one of the biggest similarities is their desire to convey a message. The content may differ, but the need to evoke an emotional response is the same. It's typically driven by their view of the world or society and wanting to state their point of view. There is often the use of metaphors within poetry and rap to convey their message and some is written that allows readers or listeners to make their own interpretation.

The most obvious difference in these two artistic styles is that rap is words put to music and poetry is not. Also, a big consideration in rap music are the beats and the groove. In poetry, there is nothing to consider but the words and perhaps the rhythm and rhyme.

However, in rap the importance of the beats can sometimes overshadow the importance of lyrics. Rappers are also sometimes concerned with whether or not people can dance to the song.

Chances are, you won't find many poets that are concerned with whether or not their poems will inspire someone to dance while reading them. Cee Donohue started as a comedy writer in By: Cee Donohue Updated September 15, Share It.The Anthology of Raped. Yale University Press. One of the best comic subplots in Zadie Smith's novel On Beauty concerns the wary alliance of Carl, a brilliant but unschooled rapper, and Claire Malcolm, the well-meaning poet who enrolls him in her college writing workshop.

Claire first hears Carl perform when she takes her class to a spoken word night at a local cafe: the purpose of the trip, Smith writes, is "to show her new students that poetry was a broad church, one that she was not afraid to explore.

is rap poetry

We have an idea for you. The idea, Claire reveals, is that Carl is a John Clare for the twenty-first century--a proletarian genius who only needs to be taught iambic pentameter in order to write great poetry.

Smith shows that Carl is both attracted by this kind of attention from the literary-educational establishment and rightfully suspicious of it. He tells the workshop that his writing is "not even a poem. It's rap They two different things. Except rap ain't no art form. It's just rap. And it is hard to imagine why any rapper would want to make such an exchange.

If Carl hits it big as an MC, he can look forward to becoming rich and famous, with an audience of millions of passionate fans. If he succeeds as a poet, he can look forward to--tenure. No wonder that, in the real world, poets have been more interested in what they can learn from rap than vice versa. Ironically, poets who are considered aesthetic conservatives have been most enthusiastic about hip-hop. The premise of "new formalism," to use a term almost as old as the Sugarhill Gang, is that rhyme, meter, and narrative are the defining elements of poetry, and that their absence from most contemporary poetry explains the genre's unpopularity and cultural irrelevance.

The huge popularity of rap, which is committed to all those traditional techniques, seems to clinch the case. Dana Gioia, in his essay "Disappearing Ink," called rap "the new oral poetry," and hoped that it could spark a "renovation from the margins" of literary poetry.

The appearance of the massive new Anthology of Rap marks a new phase in this rapprochement. At first glance, the anthology, published by Yale University Press and edited by two English professors, Adam Bradley and Andrew DuBois, might look like a Claire Malcolm-like act of cultural patronage, assimilating rap to the critical and scholarly ideals of literary poetry.

As the editors' introduction declares, "it tells the story of rap as lyric poetry," and is meant to illuminate "its fundamental literary and artistic nature.

is rap poetry

Thus Ice-T's "6 'N the Mornin'" is described as not just "a gangsta rap classic" but also "an aubade, as it begins at the crack of dawn, and partakes of the picaresque as it moves through its series of episodes.

This is not really accurate--an aubade is a poem about lovers parting at dawn, whereas "6 'N the Mornin'" begins this way:. But it's clear that the editors' intention is honorific. The poetic terminology, like the whole presentation of the anthology, is meant to encourage skeptical readers to give rap the kind of attention they are used to giving poetry. Bradley and DuBois are well aware that this means doing a kind of violence to rap, by severing lyrics from performance, the MC from the DJ.

Ordinarily, you don't read Ice-T, you listen to him, and his voice and affect, as well as the producer's contribution of hooks and beats, are crucial to the overall effect. In fact, the editors write, most of the lyrics they include in the anthology had never been written down. They had to be transcribed, entailing a whole series of choices about lineation, punctuation, and orthography.

Yet while the editors acknowledge that "reading rap will never be the same as listening to it," The Anthology of Rap is meant to be more than a collection of song lyrics. As scholars of poetry, they naturally believe that reading is a more dignified form of apprehension than listening--DuBois is the editor of a book called Close Reading: The Reader--and the premise of this anthology is that MCs are essentially writers: "This is not, after all, a collection of lyrics from rap's greatest hits, but rather a collection of rap's best poetry.

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Is Rap Poetry? Essay

Holding the sign is five-year-old Melville Grosvenor, future editor of National Geographic. Thomas Selfridge, became the first person to die in a plane crash when he tested the 1908 Wright Military Flyer the following year. He usually escaped to his estate in Nova Scotia, but one year obligations forced him to stay in the humid capital. Nearby, President Woodrow Wilson had installed an ice plant that lowered the temperature in the White House to 80 degrees.

'The Anthology Of Rap': Lyrics As Poetry

By the time Bell read about it in the newspaper, he had already outdone the president. He then went on to predict the commercial airplane, solar panels, and the need for renewable resources. But the past century had birthed extraordinary discoveries, from the telegraph to the photograph. Bell made daily additions to the legendary notebooks: sketches of inventions, musings, press clippings.

Others were huge undertakings: Bell spent decades trying to breed sheep with more than two nipples. While still working on the telephone, Bell grew interested in designing a flying machine.


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