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HD: Why Eminem is one of the most impressive lyricists ever
Posted: 26 February 2013 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Without teenage boys in my house I never would have heard any rap after Grandmaster Flash, and I certainly wouldn’t have listened to Kanye West’s new song Clique.  I have to admit I was squeamish at first because I thought the clique-clique-clique in the hook was click-click-click, you know, like a revolver (and yeah maybe it’s supposed to be ambiguous).  With that out of the way I can appreciate the talent of rhyming “Israelian” with “Brazilian”, and the line about meditating at home in Pompeii ‘bout how he can build a new Rome in one day makes me think there really is hope for Today’s Youth.

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Posted: 26 February 2013 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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The first rap record was the song ‘’Skaiing West,’’ released in 1963 by a group calling itself Sir Lord Comic and the Cowboys

I think that’s stretching it a bit. There have been spoken word musical performances of various styles basically from the year dot. Ska-ing West doesn’t seem to be in a style we would associate with rap in the hop-hop sense.

Jamaican DJs in the Bronx such as DJ Kool Herc did no doubt have a big influence on early hip-hop music but it was also influenced by beat/jazz poets such as Gil Scott-Heron.

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Posted: 26 February 2013 07:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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The Sugar Hill Gang’s 1979 Rapper’s Delight is generally considered the first rap album, but there are a few others that can make a respectable claim to that honor. Of course, the genre is a bit older in live performance, but I don’t think you can call anything before the mid-70s “rap.” There are older forerunners and progenitors, of course, but ska and the others are a very different style of music. Calling Skaing West “rap” is like calling the R&B of the 1940s “rock and roll.”

Blondie’s “Rapture” was this white boy’s introduction to the genre too.

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Posted: 27 February 2013 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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The novel The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker is an extraordinary extended riff on rhythm and rhyme in English poetry.

It is a great book—well worth the read if you appreciate this subject (or if you don’t and want to learn how to appreciate it).

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Posted: 03 March 2013 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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I think some rap is extraordinarily skilfully done.

Should I give another chance to Nicholas Baker? I’ve only read The Fermata, which struck me as a waste of time, albeit an eccentric one, which I suppose is its claim to fame.

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Posted: 03 March 2013 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Nicholson Baker is one of the best essayists around (and is a hero to those of us who hate libraries’ practice of throwing old newspapers in the dumpster); I keep a copy of his The Size of Thoughts: Essays and Other Lumber (1996, Random House) by my bed for nighttime reading.

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Posted: 15 March 2013 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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A line by Gym Class Heroes illustrates the kind of wordplay I associate with rap:

“If I was just another dusty record on the shelf
Would you blow me off and play me like everyone else?”

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Posted: 16 March 2013 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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"Shredding the Balloon” by Hilltop Hoods
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iY9mpiloSIU

[ Edited: 26 March 2013 07:08 AM by OP Tipping ]
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Posted: 26 March 2013 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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"Cries a Girl” by Buck 65
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7gxsjPVTi0

I like Buck 65’s style: he’s laidback and doesn’t necessarily have the best rhymes, but he has a knack of making it look easy rather than forced: e.g. natural sets like “ridicule a kid in school”, “you’d imagine / beauty pageant”.

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Posted: 26 March 2013 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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"Ebonics” by Big L

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzyaAuPh1lE

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Posted: 03 April 2013 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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this does it for me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl0XvwM7uMo

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Posted: 04 April 2013 12:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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The lyrics of the last link here because I couldn’t follow the lyrics after the first line. 

I like good rap because it’s gritty and unconventional while still working within the boundaries of poetic convention.  However, as Dave pointed out, there’s good rap and bad rap, and rap that uses profanity or violent or sexual descriptions just for the sake of it, is simply bad.

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Posted: 04 April 2013 01:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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The link that jointgib posted is Damian Marley’s Just Ain’t The Same, which is a shameless ripoff of the classic Dr Dre track The Watcher from the album Chronic 2001, to which ElizaD provided the lyrics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8ezWOEiLF8

Dr Dre himself is not much of a writer and his extensive use of ghostwriters is an open secret, as they say. The Watcher was largely written by Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

Dre is however a great producer and has a knack of digging up and making good use of samples. He butchered Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir into an unrecognisable form for Fight Music by D12. Another track from Chronic 2001, called What’s the Difference has as its base a slowed down version of the intro to “Parce que tu crois” by Charles Aznavour.

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