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Are Rap and Poetry Related?

There are many forms of literature, and poetry is one of them, poetry exists even before writing itself was invented, and it’s a form of literature that remains appreciated and popular to these days.

Not only is it a written art, but a spoken one as well, and every piece of poetry bears a lot of affection and meaning. On the other hand, Rap music is a genre with a history much shorter than poetry’s, we can find the earliest rappers probably in the 80s when music all around the world was being revolutionized. However, people can say that poetry and rap, despite their differences, are the siblings of the arts. Rap, unlike other music genres has lyrics that include poetic quality. Rock and Pop have lyrics that are straightforward, but rap has lyrics with hidden meanings and underlayers, which requires the listener to pay attention in order to understand fully what the artist is meaning to express. Assonance and alliteration are used differently by both rap and poetry with the purpose of impacting both listeners and readers.

The differences between Rap music and Poetry

We can find many differences between the two of them, but the main difference is definitely the beat itself. Rap songs on one hand require a musical background, a rap song without background instruments and beat and rhythm would be less effective. Poetry on the other hand leaves plenty of space for subjective interpretation when reading it aloud and understanding the pace to each piece. While Rap songs are all about the pace and rhythm, poetry, when read, is left to personal interpretations in terms of these two factors. The second difference we can find among these two types of artistic expressions is the vocabulary and the lexicon used. Poetry can somehow be defined as a conservative form of expression, while rap is constantly adding new terms and words, rappers tend to play with meanings of words and word rhyming or mixing words together or making up new ones. Poetry uses older variations of words or switches the meanings of these to create a better effect, but they rarely reinvent the language.

Are rappers poets?

When asked what they think, rappers would say “yes”, most rappers would consider themselves poets and this is actually not far from the truth. Composing a good rap song requires skills and talent that is comparable with the talent and skills of a very good writer, along with great musical skills. The lines -or bars- found in rap songs are of a very complex nature and that’s the reason rap fans consider this music genre to be a form of poetry. In terms of the themes approached, both rap and poetry, are areas of arts in which the artist has full freedom. Some believe rap music is all about money, shady business, and drugs, but this view is very simplistic, as this genre also addresses other subjects in a very wide range, just like poetry, and that’s why we can define both forms of expressions as close relatives.