Do raps have to rhyme? – Book Of Rhymes: The Poetics Of Hip Hop


The whole point about rap is that it doesn’t have to rhyme, even if it sounds good. It really doesn’t have to rap. I think rappers should stick with “rapping.” If we look at rap in hip-hop, the people being rap music, the way it’s been made, the style, the way it gets done, the amount of time that people spend making it, the fact that most people who make it think it’s good and listen to it, the fact that it’s popular, people are listening to rap. If he doesn’t have to rhyme, how can he? The real thing about rap is that it’s not an art form. It’s a way to make more money for the producers and the recording artists. If you’re working at a restaurant and you’re a chef and you’ve got a menu that’s like, “Well, we have three different kinds of shrimp and oysters, so you come in with a fork and knife, because you just learned how to do it.” “Why is that not a rap song? I don’t think it is.” The fact that we’re talking about a song that only one person wrote that’s about “dumb things” or “lazy things” and being on the street doing something the wrong way, the fact that you only write songs about “dumb things,” the way the word “dollars” has come into the language, the fact that the words for some of the most common objects, the nouns and adjectives, the words for “people” or “things” and the expressions for people, it doesn’t have to rhyme. Because no matter how good a rapper you are, or no matter how great, or how talented you are, if he doesn’t have to rhyme, why would he?

“What about rappers who never rhyme”?
Unique - Die Hard / War Rap (2019, Vinyl) | Discogs

“Why do you say that? Don’t you think it’s more productive to have people actually rap?” “No, it’s not. If a person doesn’t rap, then he doesn’t get to be a rapper.” But if he does get to be a rapper, then it’s great. It’s not bad that you want to use a lot of different words in music, you don’t have to take a lot of words out of the language. You could put all the slang words out of the language, you can keep the word choice up to where it’s appropriate for the song and the subject

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