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Passions in Poetry

Rap Music = Poetry ?

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kadafi09
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0 posted 11-24-2003 03:58 PM       View Profile for kadafi09   Email kadafi09   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kadafi09


My question to everybody is, can one find elements of poetry in some rap music?
jbouder
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1 posted 11-24-2003 04:22 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Yes.
LilTai
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2 posted 11-24-2003 06:49 PM       View Profile for LilTai   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LilTai

absolutely....rap, the good kind at least, is just spoken poetry to a beat...=)

-tai
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3 posted 11-24-2003 11:41 PM       View Profile for Marge Tindal   Email Marge Tindal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marge Tindal's Home Page   View IP for Marge Tindal


I certainly think so~

~*When the heart grieves over what it has lost,
the spirit rejoices over what it has left.
- Sufi epigram
       noles1@totcon.com   

Greeneyes
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4 posted 11-25-2003 09:41 AM       View Profile for Greeneyes   Email Greeneyes   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Greeneyes

isnt all music poetry?

I had a dream last night
you came to me on silver wings of light
I flew away with you in painted sky
Was it real
Is it what you see,touch or feel

hush
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5 posted 11-25-2003 01:57 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Well, yeah... rap, at its best, is a fusion between poetry and music, with both the lyrics and the beat maintaining an importance. I don't listen to a lot of it, but based on my few listenings to it, I'd say that the new Outkast CD is an excellent example of what you're saying.

I think the more important issue is the social signifigance of certain messages in rap music. In a lot of rap, there is a pervasive sense of violence and a wanton use of explicit sexual language. (No that I think that's such a bad thing... )

The issue is whether these messages and tendencies have a negative and/or profound affect... for example, Get Low by Little John and the East Side Boys is one of the most disrespectful songs as far as the objectification of women goes that I've heard in quite some time... Yet Missy Elliot has a tendency toward the same sort of objectification of the male body ('Are you worth it? Let me work it..')

I think the difference lies in the focus... the male lusts primarily for sex, often with anyone so long as the boobs are big and she's willing. The focus is on her... while female rappers tend to treat themselves as something that not everyone deserves, or as an object of fantasy (as in Lil Kim's How Many Licks). The focus, here, is still on her.

Well, now that I've turned this into a treatise on gender issues...
Essorant
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6 posted 11-25-2003 02:10 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

If it weren't obscene most of the time.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (11-25-2003 02:11 PM).]

Ringo
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7 posted 11-25-2003 04:09 PM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

To answer this, I have to go back to a question that was asked in CA a while ago... "What is poetry?" And ask one of my own... who are we to say it isn't poetry?

Back in the late 60's and into the early 70's (if I have the time-line correct) there was a generation of "beat poets". According to the really bad mocvies and tv shows depicting that era, they would often play bongos, or jazz, or something else while they spoke. Some of those same poets are revered by many people even today because they spoke what was in their hearts, and they spoke for the masses.
Now, let's look at rap for a quick second:
They play drum beats, and often times, music behind the "poet" who is speaking in rhyme and meter about what is on his/her mind, and about what is important to the masses...
The only real differences I can find are the specific beats, the style of music played, the concerns (in some cases), and the race of the poet.
Then again, those are just my thoughts.

We are all equal but we’re individually different
and able to reach the impossible if we try.

LilTai
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8 posted 11-25-2003 06:17 PM       View Profile for LilTai   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LilTai

I'm not trying to be rude or to offend anyone...however, if you do not listen to rap, and hear only the crap that is played on the radio, please do not judge what the meaning of rap as a whole is. "radio rap" is just a stereotype- the right combination to earn the most money.  real rap and hiphop is a culture of poetry and soul...don't judge it unless you know and understand it...
-tai
hush
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9 posted 11-28-2003 06:15 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Hey Tai,

I'm behind you there. I used radio examples because it's more accessible.... you can turn on the radio and hear "Get Low" pretty much every hour, on the hour...

Who's going to know who I'm talking about when I start citing Sarah Jones and Ursula Rucker (Although I think she's a little more in tune with soul and r&b)...?

If anyone wants to here a really good example of educated, artful, and politically sound rap, go pick up some public enemy. (Or really, all you have to do is watch "Do The Right Thing." You'll know "Fight the Power" by heart at the end...)
Nan
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10 posted 11-29-2003 06:56 AM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

When I teach poetry to teenagers, I encourage them to bring me their favorite rap lyrics (subject to discernment of course)... and they're often surprised to see how poetic it is...

Me Bad...
Stephanos
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11 posted 11-29-2003 09:55 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Gettin' down wid' Ron
on PHILOh 101
Askin' every kind of question
that has crossed the human mind

From the pre-socratics
to talkin' bout drug addicts.
From plato, to Play-Doe
We seem to touch it all.

Metaphysics and morality
the best epistemology
When it comes to dat philosphy
it seems we got the call.



Rapping philosophers.  Hmmm ...

Not to be racially offensive,

But I'm just a white boy without much hope in this area.


Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-29-2003 09:58 PM).]

hush
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12 posted 12-02-2003 01:10 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Dude, Stephen.... Eminem made it big, so could you...
Kaoru
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13 posted 12-02-2003 04:56 PM       View Profile for Kaoru   Email Kaoru   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kaoru

Rap music is not poetry.. It's usually written to go well with a consistent and repetitive beat/melody.

"Beatnik" writers wrote spoken word poetry, they considered it that. Rap is in a genre all it's own, so it's not neccesary to compare the two. Rap artists could consider themselves poets but, so could anyone.

To me, rap music is far from poetry, it's lyrical. Lyrics and poetry are similar, but also two very different things.
Stephanos
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14 posted 12-02-2003 09:29 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

There's no doubt that musical lyrics incorporate poetry.  In that sense it is poetic, and just adds other auditory elements.  So yes, they are different because lyrical music is not purely poetry.  But it seems that one could rightly describe rap music as poetry but with a modified vehicle of delivery, involving musical elements that are not typically shared with poetry.  Personally I would say that poetry and lyrics are two somewhat different things, with a whole lot of similarity.


Stephen.  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (12-02-2003 09:31 PM).]

jbouder
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15 posted 12-03-2003 01:12 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Stephan:

Perhaps more like Vanilla Ice than Marshall Mathers - I think you have one-hit-wonder potential in the rap scene ... just don't rip off Queen like Vanilla Ice did.

Kaoru:

Surely rap music is not poetry, but I think if you saw the lyrics on a page and knew nothing about the accompanying music, you might never know the difference.

Jim
Stephanos
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16 posted 12-03-2003 01:38 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Jim,

I'm not quitting my day job.  But I will continue to "rap" at least on this forum from time to time.
  
Stephen
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17 posted 12-03-2003 04:04 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Absolutely!

Beat music and poetry was all about the freedom of expression, regardless of form. It was much like what mannerism was to art from 1520 to 1600. It disregards the mechanics and practicality of more classical poetry and a metronome is often set to the fluent words or lyrics.

Rap music is tied very closely to the beat genre. I happen to think Eminem is one of the most poetic voices of this generation, regardless if one thinks he is racist or not. His lyrics are brave, ruthless, fluent, and charismatic; all great characteristics in a beat poet. "Lose Yourself" is perhaps the most poetic song I have heard in the past year, obviously a rap song.

Of course to the Greeks music and poetry were always an alliance to each other, so one can say rock music, jazz music, country music, inspirational music, any form of music is poetry!

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20

Kaoru
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18 posted 12-03-2003 10:58 PM       View Profile for Kaoru   Email Kaoru   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kaoru

Perhaps..
Stephanos
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19 posted 12-04-2003 01:51 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Eminem is one of the most poetic voices of this generation, regardless if one thinks he is racist or not. His lyrics are brave, ruthless, fluent, and charismatic


Noah, with all due respect, Eminem's lyrics are some of the most repugnant I have ever encountered ... the very opposite of brave, and charasmatic.  I'll concede that they are ruthless and fluent.  But then again, sewage pipes are fluent aren't they?

If anyone is not familiar with Em's lyrics, they might be tempted to think that I am being priggish or pietistic in speaking so strongly about them.  But just look up his Lyrics on the Web and see for yourself.  They are ugly and artistically bland.  And believe it or not I have given a magnanimously generous review with these few words.  About the only thing that could be said of them is that they reflect a certain reality about society ... but it is that reality within society that we all consider to be pathological and regrettable, a condition of physical, moral and spiritual degradation.

Consider these Lyrics from the song "Kim".  It's about a toddler accompanying his Dad, to a bridge where the corpse of his murdered mother is to be thrown over.      


"Wake up sweepy head we're here, before we pway
we're gonna take mama for a wittle walk along the pier
Baby, don't cry honey, don't get the wrong idea
Mama's too sweepy to hear you screamin in her ear (ma-maa!)
That's why you can't get her to wake, but don't worry
Da-da made a nice bed for mommy at the bottom of the lake
Here, you wanna help da-da tie a rope around this rock? (yeah!)
We'll tie it to her footsie then we'll roll her off the dock
Ready now, here we go, on the count of free..
One.. two.. free.. WHEEEEEE! (whoooooshhhhh)
There goes mama, spwashin in the wa-ta
No more fightin wit dad, no more restraining order
No more step-da-da, no more new brother
Blow her kisses bye-bye, tell mama you love her (mommy!)
Now we'll go play in the sand, build a castle and junk
But first, just help dad with two more things out the trunk
"


or this from a song called "Role Model" ...


"Me and Marcus Allen went over to see Nicole
When we heard a knock at the door, must have been Ron Gold'
Jumped behind the door, put the orgy on hold
Killed em both and smeared blood in a white Bronco (we did it!)
My mind won't work if my spine don't jerk
I slapped Garth Brooks out of his Rhinestone shirt
I'm not a player just a ill rhyme sayer
That'll spray an Aerosol can up at the ozone layer (psssssssh)
My rap style's warped, I'm runnin out the morgue
Witcha dead grandmother's corpse to throw it on your porch
Jumped in a Chickenhawk cartoon wit a cape on
And beat up Foghorn Leghorn with an acorn
I'm bout as normal as Norman Bates, with deformative traits
A premature birth that was four minutes late
Mother... are you there? I love you
I never meant to hit you over the head with that shovel
"


No offense Noah.  But these lyrics are not good poetry.  They are hellish.  Yet, technically they still classify as "poetry".  (that last sentence written with much reluctance)


Stephen.

hush
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20 posted 12-05-2003 01:45 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Stephen...

'About the only thing that could be said of them is that they reflect a certain reality about society ... but it is that reality within society that we all consider to be pathological and regrettable, a condition of physical, moral and spiritual degradation.'

Now, I know you know better than this 'we all' business...

Eminem is offensive and piggish... that's his image. However, the two songs you chose to quote are quite possibly the worst you could have quoted and are hardly representative of his lyrical talent, which I believe he has quite a bit of. It's as bad as proof-texting the bible for passages supporting your point as ignoring those that don't. For example, look at this set of lines from The Way I Am:

I sit back with this pack of Zig Zags and this bag
of this weed it gives me the (s) needed to be
the most meanest MC on this -- on this Earth
And since birth I've been cursed with this curse to just curse
And just blurt this berserk and bizarre (s) that works
And it sells and it helps in itself to relieve
all this tension dispensin these sentences
Gettin this stress that's been eatin me recently off of this chest


I really honestly think he uses rhyme in a very effective way, especially coupled with the way he reads the lyrics in the song. Now, regarding Lose Yourself (which I also consider to be a very poetically sound song):

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti
He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
to drops bombs, but he keeps on forgetting
what he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth but the words won't come out
He's chokin, how? Everybody's jokin now
The clock's run out, time's up, over - BLAOW!
Snap back to reality, OHH - there goes gravity
OHH - there goes Rabbit, he choked
He's so mad, but he won't
Give up that easy nope, he won't have it
He knows, his whole back's to these ropes
It don't matter, he's dope
He knows that, but he's broke
He's so sad that he knows
when he goes back to this mobile home, that's when it's
back to the lab again


I really, honestly think the imagery and rhyme style here evokes a tone that is appropraite to the subject matter and effective in moving the listener. Look at these lines from later in the song:

'All the pain inside amplified by the
fact that I can't get by with my nine to
five and I can't provide the right type of
life for my family, cause man, these God damn
food stamps don't buy diapers,'

This is honest look at trailer-park society. This is a look at the poeple to whom we, as a society, delegate the term 'white trash.' This is life for people without money, this is life that ain't no crystal stair, it's hard and it's mean but it's life. It's truth and it's spoken in (to me) a suprisingly poignant way from a rapper with a hard-ass edge... but a talent for evoking empathy from at least some of his audience.
Opeth
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21 posted 12-05-2003 07:04 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Hush,

What did you expect? The same has happened to Ozzy. Christian leaders went after the lyrics to his song, Suicide Solution, believing that it was a song which promoted suicide, yet it was an anti-alcohol song written by Ozzy while fighting his alcohol problems.

Now about Rap music, forget the religious nonsense... some thoughts...

1. It is poetry, but much of it is forced rhyme. Changing and creating words to make lines rhymes, to me, and believe me I have done it to, portrays bad poetry/lyrics. One could argue it is creative to do so, but then that would be like a musician starting a song in the key of G Major and then changing keys throughout the song.

2. Rap music brings the both the black & white races down. Ask Spike Lee about how it harms the black youth of our society. Our youngsters should be learning how to speak proper English.


"If this grand panorama before me is what you call God...then God is not dead."

hush
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22 posted 12-05-2003 04:25 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Well, I'm not saying let's all cry a river for poor scapegoat Eminem... he made his bed the way he wanted it, and now he lies in it... multi-platinum albums and all. Controversy = sales... Ozzy knows that, Marylin Manson knows that... hell, Britney and Madonna know that. To shock is to sell.

Now, as far as rap music bringing down youth with it's grammatical inaccuracies... so, are we saying that's the only music that does so? Please. Pop music might not be so rife with it's 'aks's and traditionally urban language inversions (i.e. 'where you be at') etc... but it's got plenty of double negatives and simply poor, lazy grammar with forced rhymes as well. (Same can be said of country, rock, really examples of any musical genre).

I actually find what we consider eubonics -- a mainly black, urban english dialect -- to be pretty interesting. Look at the use of the term 'be' instead of 'are' I cited above. Be is a much more active, powerful verb than the passive 'are.' Or, 'where is you' vs. 'Where are you'--- both are passive verbs, but to me, the use of 'is' -a shorter, somewhat sharper word- is more powerful.

I'm not necessarily saying that eubonic speaking styles should be encouraged, but I think we should understand the roots of the expressions, and their significance, before we simply write them off.
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23 posted 12-05-2003 04:28 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Stephanos, with all due respect, the real question here is not if Eminem is a humanist or not, it's if music or whatever you'd like to call it like his is poetry.

Marshall Mathers indeed has done some things that have troubled and even disgusted me, but that doesn't make him not a fabulous poet! It is STILL poetry. I happen to think "The Way I Am" and "Stan", for instance, both written out of intense angst, is poetry at its best. I've never heard an artist express rage of never getting any privacy when swimming in fame with such passion than in "The Way I Am". As for Stan, even the form of his lyrics is remarkable. They are written as a series of letters mailed from a fan, each one getting worst than the previous one, of a die-hard fan who demands his son get an autograph or something, and with all the letters he gets he just doesn't have the time to get through them all and so the fan goes insane. Isn't one of poetry's many functions meant to take a slice of life and express it in an abstract or emotional way?

Perhaps Eminem's lyrics can sound "hellish" yet they are STILL poetry, and rather artistic poetry too. Obviously when he has sold over 30 million copies of his last two albums combined, the youth of this generation do feel something from him, so he truly is a voice of this generation, love him or hate him.

Now, if you take another one of his weaker songs, like "Superman" for instance, then a stronger counter-argument can be made I'm sure!

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20

Mistletoe Angel
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24 posted 12-05-2003 04:36 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Hush, I absolutely agree with your thought.

Like I mentioned in a previous response, the Greeks always allied poetry and music together, and troubadours, bards, they all adopted those ideals and brought them forward through many later ages.

Therefore, according to their beliefs, every genre of music is poetry. Jazz music, country music, rock and roll, you name it! Some of the greatest philosophers like Aristotle beleved that music was a necessity to living, and though some at the time believed an aristocrat should learn music but not perform it as a living, music as always encouraged in the family and up to the 15th and 16th centuries, especially in 1588, when madrigals of Italy were translated to English and became known as the "Music from Beyond the Alps", the same ideals of Plato and Aristotle shared with Greco-Roman musical beliefs flourished on yet again.

I understand that I have digressed from the main topic of rap music in particular being poetry, but I truly believe confidently all music is poetry.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20

 
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