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Linguaholic

If you guys like excellent wordplay, try watching rap battles!


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In my contention, today's battle rappers are using English in a level not even the poets of old could match.

I understand that that's a pretty huge claim to make but on a purely technical level, battle rappers are honestly the biggest pioneers of slang we have today! (And most battlers don't even know it)

I'll keep posting examples in this thread periodically to illustrate how clever they can get with their wordplay but for now, I'll just give you a quick example:

'You ain't made money, it made you and you let it change you

because to get ahead, you flip and tell that's what change do'

- JC (on JC vs Chilla Jones)

On the surface, it's a comment on how the other rapper gave into money and became disloyal to his crew.

But let's look at the second, metaphorical level:

'You ain't made money, it made you and you let it change you

because to get a head, you flippin' tail, that's what change do'

Heads? Tails? Change?

The elements in the punchline perfectly go with the theme of currency set up in the line before.

I'll post more if you guys are fascinated by all this!

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  • 1 year later...

I completely agree!  I have been a fan of hip-hop/rap music since my early teen years when I first heard TLC, then I got into gangsta rap, then Crunk, etc.  I have always been fascinated by the idiom/metaphor driven lyrics of the really talented rappers.  Not 90% of the mainstream stuff, but the underground spitters.  Most real hip-hop/rap is basically poetry speeded up and put to music.

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True, rap songs nowadays have great wordplay, although from my experience, they also have the most horrendous use of grammar, lol! Like in Nivea's song "Laundromat", she said, "You's a lying, cheating, son a b*tch".. Lol! "You's"?? Now that is totally wrong, lol!

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On 5/30/2016 at 10:18 AM, sidney said:

True, rap songs nowadays have great wordplay, although from my experience, they also have the most horrendous use of grammar, lol! Like in Nivea's song "Laundromat", she said, "You's a lying, cheating, son a b*tch".. Lol! "You's"?? Now that is totally wrong, lol!

Actually, that's not exactly wrong, it's just dialect!

It's a common mistake; AAVE, or African American Vernacular English, is usually mistaken for bad grammar or the user "just not speaking English very well," even by native English speakers who were born and raised in the U.S. But it really is its own dialect, complete with its own internal and consistent rules about how to use the language. It's not really any different from hearing Southerners say "ain't" or "y'all," or someone say "make like" when they mean "act like," or put "a-" before a verb. It's definitely good to know that it's a dialect and therefore if you're trying to learn to speak what's thought of as "proper" English, you should be using different grammar, but it's not just wrong grammar.

(I'm mostly responding to you because I thought you might find it neat to know this stuff. I don't mean it as a lecture, I just find dialects really interesting!)

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On 6/2/2016 at 0:44 AM, Katerwaul said:

Actually, that's not exactly wrong, it's just dialect!

It's a common mistake; AAVE, or African American Vernacular English, is usually mistaken for bad grammar or the user "just not speaking English very well," even by native English speakers who were born and raised in the U.S. But it really is its own dialect, complete with its own internal and consistent rules about how to use the language. It's not really any different from hearing Southerners say "ain't" or "y'all," or someone say "make like" when they mean "act like," or put "a-" before a verb. It's definitely good to know that it's a dialect and therefore if you're trying to learn to speak what's thought of as "proper" English, you should be using different grammar, but it's not just wrong grammar.

(I'm mostly responding to you because I thought you might find it neat to know this stuff. I don't mean it as a lecture, I just find dialects really interesting!)

 

Wow, I didn't know that. So I guess Nivea was grammatically right all along? I actually didn't know that such a vernacular type of English existed! So she was grammatically RIGHT all along with her song. Thank you for that info!

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