18 October 2012

MC Rhymesomuch

There is a large segment of the population for whom rap is synonymous with a caricature of Run DMC.

To rap, you kind of do something like:

I'm MC Punchful and I'm here to say/ I'm gonna rock the rhymes in a punchful way!

You do a back and forth thing with your hands and kind mug your face like you're trying to look tough.

Now you're rapping, now!

I try to stay away from any kind of analysis regarding rap/hip-hop because I'm still convinced that it's impossible to do without coming across as:
  • pompous
  • a failed satirist
  • racist?
  • funny ten years ago
I already paved the way in another post discussing the efforts of 2 Chainz and Kanye, and I've addressed an earnest desire to recognize some of Eminem's choicer work. That was relegated to Purgatory but I think it's time to let it through the gates.

This is from "A Kiss" from Hell: The Sequel. The song is (the album, really) split between Eminem and Royce da 5'9". 

Okay I already feel like I'm in over my head.

No! I will remain resolute and continue. 

Here we go, "A Kiss". 

A one-night stand is all he wants with a female fan, yeah one like Stan/ And he's so about a one night stand, his bedroom has two lamps/ And only one nightstand(...)
There's no antecedent to the pronoun in the first line but he fixes that by describing "he" as "one like Stan". Stan's Eminem's alter ego - lot's of rappers have one so that's not too big a deal.

The rhyming here is solid but the part I really enjoy is the one night stand/one nightstand bit.

Night stand and nightstand are homonyms kind of except it's spread across two words. I'm more impressed with this kind of visual pun. You got a bedroom? Reading lamp? Stick it on a nightstand. So if you have two lamps and just the one nightstand your plan would then involve bedding women who were so perceptive that their train of thought would go: "Bedroom, huh? That's odd that there's two lamps in here but only the one nightstand. One nightstand? Wait, this is a one night stand!"

Pretty good.

One more song from the same album and then I'm going to go crawl back into obscurity. From Lighters:
I love it when I tell ‘em shove it/ cuz it wasn’t that, long ago when Marshall sat flustered lacked luster/ cuz he couldn’t cut mustard/ muster up nuthin’, brain fuzzy cuz he’s buzzin’ woke up from that buzzer/ now you wonder why he does how he does it, wasn’t cuz he had buzzards/ circlin’ ‘round his head waitin’ for him to drop dead was it?/ or was it ‘cuz them bitches wrote him off, little hussy ass scuzzes/ fuck it, guess it doesn’t matter now does it?/
The king of this verse is [z]; the queen is [s]. Every line has a "z" or "s" sound and they all kind of flow together to make this very dense sounding verse. It stands out from everything before and after it. It's delivered quickly but not obnoxiously fast. It's just... all of those alveolar fricatives (voiced and voiceless) hit the ear in a very unique way.

And he wrote it! And it's not apparent from how it's written how it will end up sounding. You have to say it out loud (to yourself, quietly) to really get it.

"Does it", "was it",  "...it cuz" etc. He's fully taken the way we turn these phrases into words; we mash them together in most informal speech - and brought them to fit right in with "scuzzes" and "buzzards" and "fuzzy". Very good. It's very clever, I think.


Peace! We outta here!

::drops mic::

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