Rapper’s De-Linky

Lots going on but I’ll quickly share some linky goodness:

Via Pearce – an excellent ten-minute breakdown on how rappers execute rhyme and wordplay. Great for anyone interested in words and rhythm – poets & English teachers will like this!

And related: Hamilton and the glory of language

“America’s economic illness has a name: financialization. It’s an academic term for the trend by which Wall Street and its methods have come to reign supreme in America, permeating not just the financial industry but also much of American business.” From Time: “American Capitalism’s Great Crisis

Via Rachel B – can you guess the correlation?

The Atlantic has an interesting interview about how much of our experience of reality is illusory. There’s not enough here to be convincing, but I’m curious to know more.

Also from the Atlantic, here’s the latest bout of Conor Friedersdorf “university students are coddled entitled milliennials” pearl clutching, linked so I can hate-read it later: The perils of writing a provocative email at Yale.

Via David R, how the myth of Irish slaves became a favourite meme for racists

Film Crit Hulk writes some fascinating stuff about new (online) media channels and the future of TV. Features the McElroy brothers, whose D&D podcast The Adventure Zone is reliably entertaining – the Alligator put me on to that one last January.

This NYT account of the aspiring novelist who became Obama’s foreign policy guru really explains a lot about the Obama administration. I figure this guy would not have fit in with any other President in recent memory, and wouldn’t work with any of the candidates for the office either. Fascinating. West Wing enthusiasts are particularly recommended to read this.

And finally, Hobbes & Me

6 thoughts on “Rapper’s De-Linky”

  1. Is there much rap where the syntax is complex? From the video, most of the lyrics consisted of minimally connected phrases or sentence fragments, with the unity between them achieved through rhyme and a sometimes tenuous procession of ideas. I’d love to hear some instances where that was coupled with longer syntactic structures.

  2. (Oh hey yeah I left this tab open for a reason didn’t I!)
    Jamie – I think the general trend is as you say – sacrificing the continuity and development of ideas in order to load up more rhyme and wordplay. It isn’t a zero-sum game, but obviously getting complex rhymes and unity of meaning at the same time is a lot harder than just one or the other. Most rappers will do both on different tracks, sometimes they’ll be more into telling a story or whatever, other times just skipping through ideas as they riff on a theme (or sometimes abandoning coherence entirely and just following the wordplay into chaos). One clear example of doing both at once is, in fact, the Hamilton play referenced in the other link above – Miranda does some really really clever stuff with rhyme, but never loses sight of the ideas he’s communicating.
    Not that I profess to be any kind of expert! My heyday of rap was the early 90s, and while I enjoy listening to it still, I really can’t speak with authority about what’s out there. Pearce might know more…

  3. Hm, I hadn’t thought about this. Maybe Immortal Technique or Aesop Rock, although I’m not familiar enough with them to provide examples.

    How about R. A. the Rugged Man’s verse in Uncommon Valor? Ignore the first verse by Vinnie Paz, it’s not great. R. A.’s verse starts with “True story.” (He’s recounting his father’s experiences in the Vietnam war, it’s a bit of an emotional journey.)


    Here’s the lyrics:


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