February 25, 2010
One of the most interesting musical and literary developments of the 1980s was the emergence of rap, a form of popular music in which words is recited to a driving rhythmic beat. It differs from mainstream popular music in several ways, but, most interesting in literary terms, rap lyrics are spoken rather than sung. In that sense, rap is a form of popular poetry as well as popular music. In Black English, rap means “to talk,” and in most current rap songs, the lead performer talks or recites, usually at top speed, long rhythmic, four-stress lines that end in rhymes. Although most rappers today use electronic or sampled backgrounds, rap began on city streets in the battle of “signifying,” in which two rappers aim rhymed insults at each other, sometimes accompanying their tirades with a beat made by clapping or finger snapping. Run DMC, an early rap group, produced “Peter Piper,” a rap song that contains early rap attributes, which shows the group’s sophisticated understanding of the traditions of English popular poetry. Just like every rap song that was made, “Peter Piper” contains many rhymes in the end of many lines. Rhymes like “Jack B. Nimble what nimble and he was quick, But Jam Master cut faster Jack's on Jay's dick,” is just one of the many consecutive rhyme lines on the song. Not only do rhymes help the artists express the song in a better and more creative way, but also easily hooks the listeners to the song. While listening to the song numerous times, I caught myself bobbing my head on the rhyme lines. Another poetic device that was part of this song was alliteration. The line “Now Peter Piper picked peppers but Run rocked rhymes” is a great example of this poetic device. Alliteration is a great way to include in a rap song because it’s usually not something that is included in them. Just like rhymes, alliteration helps the rappers tell a more creative and unique...
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