Hip-hop isn't noise. It's poetry.

  • Article by: Gilbert Newman Perkins
  • Updated: September 22, 2013 - 11:23 PM

Criticism of hip-hop misses just how masterfully its artists have deployed the English language.

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mariezzSep. 23, 13 1:13 AM

I definitely agree with the fact that hip-hop, and rap, are similar to poetry. In fact, I think those music forms likely contributed to the current popularity of poetry slams. However, I do think some hip-hop & rap has gotten a very negative reputation because of the way it portrays women. Additionally, repetition of offensive words is not hardly ever poetry. There is hip-hop & rap which avoids these negatives, but far too much does not.

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stolaf80Sep. 23, 13 6:12 AM

There is a big difference between being pro good-times, drinking, or what have you and being anti-women, anti-achievement, pro-thug. I'm glad some rappers are reading the classics. However the bulk of hip-hop is still celebrating anti-social values, despite what the apologists like this guy says.

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tituspulloSep. 23, 13 7:12 AM

stolaf80Sep. 23, 13 6:12 AM There is a big difference between being pro good-times, drinking, or what have you and being anti-women, anti-achievement, pro-thug. I'm glad some rappers are reading the classics. However the bulk of hip-hop is still celebrating anti-social values, despite what the apologists like this guy says.____________The "bulk of hip hop?" Clearly, your scope and knowledge of the art-form is severely limited.

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viqueenfailSep. 23, 13 8:10 AM

Wow. If you don't like my dance music you must not be a good dancer. Music is music. Not everyone likes every form of music. So what?

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joe_mnSep. 23, 13 9:11 AM

I choose to avoid music I don't like. Same for horrible tv shows. It's easy.

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potter101Sep. 23, 1311:15 AM

mariezzSep. 23, 13 1:13 AM I definitely agree with the fact that hip-hop, and rap, are similar to poetry. In fact, I think those music forms likely contributed to the current popularity of poetry slams. However, I do think some hip-hop & rap has gotten a very negative reputation because of the way it portrays women. Additionally, repetition of offensive words is not hardly ever poetry. There is hip-hop & rap which avoids these negatives, but far too much does not.**********************************There is value even in negative poetry, it defines it's origin, it defines where it is coming from and it defines its existence and it defines the word itself.

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Slider451Sep. 23, 1312:21 PM

The lyrics may be poetic, but they are only one component of music. And when lyrics are covered up by the instruments, distortion, or otherwise obscured so as to be unintelligible, you're often left with noise. A lot of metal music is like this, too. When I can understand it I usually like it. But I could barely pick out any words from Kanye's performance on SNL Saturday. Is it my responsibility to look up the lyrics to glean the poetic wisdom he was imparting?

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freddygSep. 23, 1312:22 PM

It is not unlike every other form of expression - musical, written or otherwise. There is the creative and the repetitive, the intellectual and the inane, the positive and the negative, the political and the apolitical. Just like every other form of expression (today), it is generally the most repetitive, inane and negative that is noticed most.

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rondbySep. 23, 1312:35 PM

Intersting that this writer ignores the fact that most lyrics to hip hop 'songs' could not even be printed in this paper in the first place. That alone discredits his point.

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herby2013Sep. 23, 1312:36 PM

Compare black musicians of the past like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and many others with modern day rappers and what do you find? You find that in the past they made real music that required talent and years of practice to produce. Now? Chanting along with an electronic drumbeat and some electronic noises thrown in at regular intervals in a pathetic attempt to fill up the sonic space. Anyone who thinks rap is music obviously isn't listening. Who do you think had more talent? Jimi Hendrix or Snoop Dogg? There really is no comparison.

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