Some notable songs that refer to rap music as poetry are “Rhythm Is Gonna Get Ya” by Public Enemy, “So What the F*CK Do We Talk About” by Tha Dogg Pound, “Bars of Soap” by Ill Bill, and “Gangsta Goes to Work” by Big Boi.
Rap as poetry is used to tell stories.
The song “The Scientist” by Science Speaks is a long poem written in rhyming couplets.
While it doesn’t sound like poetry, it is an example of rap poetry.
In the 1990s, poetry and rap were often associated
In his book “Literature and Hip-Hop,” Marshall Harris uses a map of the United States to link many rap albums to famous poets in American literature.
While the majority of the poets included in this map are famous, some lesser-known poets were mentioned.
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Some of the poets represented include Countee Cullen, Charles Baudelaire, Langston Hughes, Richard Wilbur, and Langston Ely.
In “Teen Idols, Notorious Gangsters, and Insurgent Poets,” Graeme Thompson refers to the “hybrid nature of hip-hop and poetry” and that many MCs and rappers borrow from poets’ techniques such as imagery and metaphors.
Some of the works mentioned in the book “Hip-Hop: What It Is and How It Got That Way,” are “Rapping to Pimp a Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar, “Hip-Hop Saved My Life” by Roc Marciano, and “This Life is a Process” by Saafir.
Rap and poetry are seen as integral to American culture
Hip-hop and poetry have long been intertwined in culture.
Since rappers can only speak for a certain amount of time before a beat is produced, many of their lyrics are about their life experiences.
Rap is usually thought of as the artistic and literary form, though it also deals with all subjects, including culture, sex, love, politics, religion, police brutality, class, gender, and race.
In a 2001 study about rap as a medium, Daniel Ha said that this mode of expression “relies heavily on lyrical detail, which draws from personal experience, verbal rhythm, and often the lyricist’s own voice.”
Rap was most popular in the 1980s in the United States and still is played in many nightclubs and bars.
In some countries, rap lyrics have been outlawed for their harsh language and depictions of violence.
Rappers have used the medium to raise awareness for issues such as social inequality and police brutality.
While the majority of rap lyrics and MCs are male, there have been female rappers and MCs
There has been a major shift from the misogynistic hip-hop music of the 1970s, the reason for which is said to be due to the rise in women of the hip hop generation and the women’s liberation movement, which led women to become more active in and involved in hip hop music and culture.
Between 2000 and 2010, there were notable female MCs, female MCs who had been featured in other rap songs, including De La Soul, Scarface, and Jill Scott.
Some of these include but are not limited to Latrice Royale, Spice, Trina, B.O.B., Cardi B, Cardi B, Akala, Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, Lil’ Kim, Mary J. Blige, Ghostface Killah, Lauryn Hill, Lady Miss Kier, Lil’ Kim, and Eve.
One of the earliest female MCs to gain major mainstream success was MC Lyte.
A pioneer of hip hop, she and others like her helped open doors for women to become MCs and give a voice to hip hop in its early years.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Foxy Brown and Hadda Rapaz were the first rappers to have true success and become popular without the help of male MCs.
They broke ground by bringing misogyny, a stereotype not present in hip-hop, and turn it into a positive statement.
Foxy Brown is considered one of the most influential rappers of the last two decades
Brown has been nominated for 6 Grammy Awards and has sold over 6 million albums worldwide.
She is known for her fearlessness, and ability to speak about taboo subjects in a lighthearted, but even humor-filled way.
Biggie Smalls is also considered one of the most influential rappers of the last two decades.
He is best known for his song “Hypnotize” and its popular chorus; “I’m a bad bitch, no lady.”
He was murdered on the day of his album’s release.
Jay-Z is considered one of the most successful rappers of the last two decades, and is one of the best-selling artists of all time, with singles like “Dreams and Nightmares”, “Hard Knock Life”, “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)”.
In 2005, he was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
In 2018, he became the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Madonna, as well as many other well-known singers, have also made a rap/hip-hop crossover as an apparent trend; in 1984 she featured in “Girl You Know It’s True” on her album “Like a Virgin”.
However, Madonna has never explicitly credited herself with being a rapper.
Toni Braxton and Monica were among the first and most popular female hip-hop artists of the 1990s.
While more of an R&B artist, Monica’s “The Boy Is Mine” (1998) features Eminem in the title role.
Mary J. Blige and Aaliyah performed as background vocalists in “Your Love Is My Drug” and “It’s On” on Aaliyah’s debut album “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number”.
Rihanna has also been a prominent vocalist on albums by other artists, including Beyoncé (“If I Were a Boy”) and Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”).