In the era of mumble rap with T.I. and Gucci Mane arguing over who invented trap music, with themes that are at times heart-wrenching and at others border on being irresponsible to share, the foundation of music is still the rhyme – in my opinion.
As a poet influenced greatly by rap music, I can’t help but think of the overlap between these two genres.
In my latest theatrical play, Hip-Hop Saved My Life I used poetry – as usual, but one of the poems was rapped over G-Eazy’s Me Myself & I instrumental.
That’s not all
It got me to thinking – where are there examples of rap being poetry or rappers overtly and explicitly including poems in their songs.
Word play is an obvious example – Jay-Z famously had a triple entendre. But truthfully Jay wants to rhyme like Common Sense. Common had the Last Poets on his Be album on the track The Corner.
Fast forward some years and you have Nigerian-American Washington DC native Wale who gained notoriety on Rick Ross’ camp with the Album Ambition. He starts the song Diced Pineapples with a poem – on Illest Bitch says ‘I was gonna write you a poem today’ and recites one on Mack Wilds’ Bonnie and Clyde.
I once did poetry remixes of each song on two of Wale’s albums and this was a natural progression so – can rap be poetry?
Is some rap unworthy of the poetry title?
While some rap is obviously lame and not worthy to be labeled poetry – rapping about things like drinking cough syrup to get high, these simple rhymes, repetition and rhythm can be seen as poetic objectively speaking. And about the drug use – it seems that many artistic types have succumbed to this terrible force.
To get back to my poetry – it is often viewed as rap without a beat. Is it because I listen to way more rap than I read poems and can quote any song any time off the top of my head. I used to take it personally and feel misunderstood. But after it was used in my play – I embraced advice I got once to “just write rhymes”.
Who knows how my poetic style will develop, maybe I need to mix up the rhymes I expose myself too – because I admit using terms like “savage” and “G.O.A.T.” lend themselves to being rap friendly. I am an example of how rap can be poetry?
But hey I got Rapsody to recite when of my rhymes once and it came naturally to her and she thought it was dope – ultimate stamp of approval.
Maybe you should bring on the rap comparisons.