What Makes A Rapper "Lyrical"?

Discussion in 'Hip-Hop Central' started by Crates, Apr 20, 2007.

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  1. Crates

    Crates Well-Known Member

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    Just curious to hear what you all have to say on this. Myself I'am really not a lyrical rap listener unless the lyrics are wack and too repetative. I tend to focus more on a rapper's flow. For those of you who do focus more on lyrics what does a rapper have to say in order to meet your lyrical criteria?
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  2. 504_NOLA

    504_NOLA New Member

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    When I think of lyrical, I think of they way they put the words and rhymes together. Making really complex rhymes and saying them in a way that sounds good. Another thing I notice, all the good lyrical rappers in my opinion, you can't predict their rhymes. Like some cats, you can pretty much know how their line is going to rhyme before they ever say it. But with lyracists, I notice you can't predict what they are gunna say because its too complex and they have multiple rhymes going. And lyrics laced with multis sound good too. Just when someone steps on the mic and makes you go shiiiiit boy let me rewind that..

    This probably sounds like rambling that makes no sense, but I understand what I'm talking about lol..
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  3. DragonAvatar

    DragonAvatar Folks

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    For myself, lyrical is when a rapper has a great vocabulary and makes his rhymes flow together in perfected unison when a rapper can freestyle and it sounds great as well. I hate repetitive hooks and flows, and when a rapper has half assed lyrics like "chicken noodle soup" or "snap yo fingaz!" that shit is wack and shouldn't be considered rap.
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  4. .:Pain:.

    .:Pain:. Futurely J. Keeper

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    A "lyricist" to me is someone who focuses their energy on making good lyrics. I don't think lyricists necessarily hafta have a real nice flow or a good rhyme scheme. With lyricists, it's more about the use of poetic devices, the cleverness in their wordplay. Lyricists, when listened to the first time, usually don't appear to be anything special. It's not until you actually sit down and concentrate on the song that you can fully appreciate their talent. Pure lyricists are incredible writers and probably would excel in any other form of creative writing, but usually don't have the charisma, or flow, or rhyme scheme, depending on the rapper, to break into the mainstream. Examples of "pure" lyricists (imo): Illogic, Slug, El-P, Benefit, Sage Francis, Black Thought, Common, Nas (borderline), Eyedea, Vordul Mega...
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  5. Stez

    Stez New Member

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    add Talib Kweli ^^
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  6. nappyjim

    nappyjim Active Member

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    For me, if I am listening to a verse and I can guess the next one, I don't consider them lyrical. I like it when a rapper rhymes a word I have never heard rhymed before or something I didn't see coming. Cause them I'm like, "whoa, that was hot".

    I cant think of a good example right now, but I think you know what Im talking about. You may be hearing a song for the first time and you hear a verse and you can basically guess whats coming next. You might not be spot-on word for word, but you can guess the basic structure of the next verse.

    Something like
    My gun goes click clack
    Watch all the pussy nigga's................what do you think comes next?
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    get back
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  7. Murder Ink

    Murder Ink Jigsaw

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    to be lyrical to me, means to connect your thoughts with your words in an interesting and original way. It's not always neccesary big words that make a rapper lyrical, cuz they could just be rambling about incoherent shit that makes no sense, like Benefit. You can't have a small vocabulary and be lyrical either tho, but lyricists do not neccesarily have to be complex poet laureates, if your heart's in the lyrics and your mind connects with them, you will spill the right words. But also you can't be using simple ass rhymes, cuz that'll make your look retarded, so I guess some •••••••••• is needed to be a good lyricist, every rapper is different, Raekwon is a superb lyricist cuz he connects his thoughts, but is just as lyrical as Canibus who's known for complex and scientific words. You dig?
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  8. Kal-EL

    Kal-EL Krazed Familia

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    For me...a lyricist and a poet kinda goes hand-n-hand....

    Useless babbling with big or small words doesn't make you a lyricist. You have to take the language you know...the words you know...and use them in a way that's original. Take a word that means one thing...and use it in a different form, yet, keeping it in context and maintaining the original definition to the word. You have to play with your vocabulary...even if your vocabulary aint that extensive. You have to take your words, what you wanna say, and "GO IN". Dont half step EVER. Get your point across. Have something to say.
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  9. Crates

    Crates Well-Known Member

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    Some things I do like with certain rappers is their ability to say alot with just a few words. It's like they can word things in a way to sum something up without over using words. I thought Ice T was good at that. I also like rappers who are able to show by what they say that they have been exposed to alot as far as being informed on various things or that they are very observant of things.
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  10. .:Pain:.

    .:Pain:. Futurely J. Keeper

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    ^Jay-Z is the best in the biz with that IMO. It's like he condenses whole verses into two lines sometimes.

    Talib was never a real lyricist in my book. Just because you're a concious rapper doesn't mean you're a lyricist. He plainly states things for the most part, and his use of poetic devices, while he does use them more than most, are for the most part uncreative or outright cliche'...
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  11. .:Pain:.

    .:Pain:. Futurely J. Keeper

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    When has Benefit rambled and not made sense? I mean, he talks about some nonsensical shit sometimes, like owning a midget, but I don't ever recall him not making sense...
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  12. Jazzy-J

    Jazzy-J New Member

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  13. Kuya

    Kuya AKA V-MAX

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    Yea a better example of an "incoherent rambler" would be Prevail from Swollen Members. He talks about hearing a wolf cry into the summer's dove eyes or some abstract shit.

    Benefit is dope by the way, dude had a sleeper internet album, I wonder if he still making music.

    Oh and what is lyrical?

    Multis (multi syllables), such as early Eminem, Rakim, etc.
    Sample: "I'm like a pitbull that eats sheep and spit wool//And chews on human body tissues like my stomach gets full//"

    Metaphors, such as Common, Diabolic, or Apathy.
    Sample: "I'm a demon that fell faster and became hell's master//"

    Punchlines, not cheesy ones, such as Iron Solomon or Datin.
    Sample: "You think you hard? Let's take it out on the street//My punchlines make Rosa Parks get up outta her seat//"
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  14. Lost Prophet

    Lost Prophet 11/04/2000 - 06/19/2009

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    Pun was one of the best lyricists ever.
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  15. skitzo8816

    skitzo8816 New Member

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    fixed it
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  16. don cardyac

    don cardyac New Member

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    to be lyrical is to have a creative flow and say lines that are so catchy till people will remember them forever.

    and someone who can do multies, punches, wordplay, etc.
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  17. Freebass

    Freebass NAH NUDDAH

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    how does benefit keep getting brought up?.......seriously, that dude made one half ass album like 8 years ago, and has done nada since......his shit is novice at best, and putting him in the same sentence as nas or black thought is just ignorant
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  18. .:Pain:.

    .:Pain:. Futurely J. Keeper

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    ^His one album displayed more creativity than most artists entire catalogue, including Black Thought. That, my friend, is an undeniable fact. Regardless of whether or not you like his style, or can't appreciate him because of the literal sound quality of that album, or simply because he only made one album, that one album is classic (imo), and displays more talent, skill, and creativity than most other rappers...





    And yes, add J-Live...
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  19. lunatic231989

    lunatic231989 New Member

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  20. V-Max

    V-Max ROUND ONE: FIGHT!!!

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    Waaaaay back in 2000, an unknown 19-year-old Florida-based emcee started massive reverberations on the DIY-underground hiphop scene with the release of his debut album B.E.N.E.F.I.T. [http://www.ukhh.com/reviews/nonuk/65.html] The album boasted an impressive range and depth of subject matter and whilst it did suffer from certain technical limitations and a degree of stylistic immaturity, only a fool could have denied that Benefit was a genuine diamond in the rough. Unfortunately (for us) Benefit never seemed to cash in on the acclaim of his album and so, apart from participating in a certain competition conducted by Chuck D, Benefit soon stepped back into the shadows of obscurity…until now that is. Benefit is back! He's got his own label, a new website and he's putting out a revamped reissue of his album which should hopefully rekindle interest in the guy just in time for the imminent release of his sophomore. Benefit remains as reclusive and as reluctant to go anywhere near the limelight as before but I did manage to coax him into dropping a few words for ukhh.com - enjoy!

    Q: Please introduce yourself to anyone who is not yet familiar with Benefit..

    I'm the world's greatest emcee/producer/cult leader.

    Q: OK, an easy place to start is with your classic anti Political-correctness anthem If I owned a midget. Did you get any negative feedback in relation to the track?

    Nah, everyone was supportive. People realize that I don't hate on midgets. It was just a light hearted defamation. I'm white, and if someone made a song called, If I owned a white slave, it would be hilarious… at least to me.

    Q: What roles do you think the guy who plays "Mini-Me" should audition for next?

    He needs to audition to become my hype man.

    Q: Apart from If I owned a midget, you are most well known for winning Raptstation's "Power to the people & the beats" pro-Napster competition. Did you like anyone else's entry in the competition as much as your own?

    I thought The PackFM and Tonedeff track was Dope.

    Q: What did you do with the prize money?

    I bought equipment for my studio, and paid some bills.

    Q: what do you now use to compose your beats and record your music? Are you happy with what you've got or is there something better you're saving towards?

    I recently just completed my studio, and I'm really happy with what I have now. I do everything in a workstation centred around an Aardvark Direct Pro Q10. My new music will be exponentially better quality considering I recorded my last effort with $17 worth of equipment.

    Q: "$17?" - Only $17? What was this equipment?

    It was one of those $5 skinny white mics that come with computers, and a horrible $12 soundcard - They're on the cover of the album. You can see it at the Indelibility store online.

    Q: In the past few years, Many rap acts including yourself have sampled retro arcade and console games such as Pacman and Super Mario - which games of today do you reckon will become the beats for emcees in a decade from now?

    I really don't think people will keep using video game music in hip hop - although, a lot of these keyboard beats I'm hearing these days do sound like the old 8bit NES music.

    Q: Has winning the rapstation comp opened any doors for you in terms of collaborating with other artists and producers? Conversely, has it closed any doors in your face?

    It hasn't really done either…yet. Hopefully it will get Chuck D on my album though.

    Q: Even though Napster is dead, free file-swapping interfaces remain a controversial phenomena. Now, even if labels are taking the lion's share of sales of their artists' output, surely it's better that the artist gets something and doesn't just give their stuff away? Also, surely it's necessary for labels to make money off the back of their existing artists in order to fund their development of future talent?

    Well, free information exchange online has sent really good hiphop to distant areas of the world that would have never been exposed to this incredible culture otherwise. If a dope artist has their music online free, and it spreads all over the world, they will develop a fanbase in cities across the globe. The true fans will still buy the music and merchandise, even if they can find it free online - That's why independent artists can still make millions, without a major label leaving them with $50,000 out of that $1,000,000. It's definitely necessary for labels to make money back, in fact its vital, but now after the RIAA has shut down Napster and even worse, Audio Galaxy, their sales aren't hurting to where they can't afford to spew out more microwave music. There's no way to stop music trading online, and I think it will help the true artists, and slightly hurt the major labels who saturate the market with poor quality gimmick laden records... But even with the damage done to the majors, this still won't be a fairly balanced industry. Also, I don't know how much these Major labels develop future talents. I think for the most part they pay stations to play a lot of talentless music and develop future followings.
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