Well, he was smilin’ like a vulture as he rolled up the horticulture
December 4, 2010 7:07 AM Subscribe
posted by grumblebee (82 comments total)
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Out on bail, fresh outta jail, California dreamin’
Soon as I stepped on the scene, I’m hearin’ hoochies screamin’
What a surprise to read that couplet on "The New Yorker's" website
, in an article about Jay-Z
's new book
. It also discusses Adam Bradley's "Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop
," an academic study that respects rap lyrics
as serious poetry.
For years, I suspected that there had to be beauty in hip-hop lyrics. I know that, to many here, that's as obvious as it is true. But I have a very difficult time finding my way into rap. As much as I'm interested in what it may be doing lyrically, I can't get into hearing it performed. I know that will sound absurd to many people (it's an oral tradition!).
All I can say is that I've tried and I failed. Recently, I posted this
much derided comment about a rap lyric I didn't like (and still don't like). Luckily, "The New Yorker" has helped open a window for me. I know it's ironic that a middle-class, intellectual white boy can't appreciate rap until it's discussed in "The New Yorker," but -- honestly -- I didn't know where to look for good examples of rap lyrics. This article has showed me the way.
And the subject of the article dovetails nicely with two other books I've read recently. As the article mentions, Jay-Z's book is very similar to Sondheim's
. And it's also similar to this
wonderful dissection of Shakespeare's mechanics.
(See also: http://www.metafilter.com/97315/I-realized-it-is-basically-insane-to-make-any-kind-of-judgment-about-rap-without-hearing-it