Many people argue that hip hop and rap lyrics are not forms of poetry. They point to the content of songs as their reasoning for why that is the case. But this does not hold up when you look at the figurative language many rappers use in their lyrics. Comparatively, rappers use many of the same techniques as poets in composing their lyrics to songs. There are a few of these techniques in figurative language that you can use in writing your lyrics that will make them flow like poetry.
Descriptive techniques make your lyrics more vivid and memorable. Some of the best rap lyrics ever written have used descriptive language. Here are some techniques you can use to make your language more descriptive:
- Simile – a comparison between things that use the words “like” and “as”.
- Metaphor – a comparison between things that do not use the words “like” and “as”.
- Hyperbole – a technique that uses exaggeration to make a point.
- Understatement – the opposite of hyperbole where something that’s a big deal is made to seem less important.
- Paradox – a statement that seems to contradict itself.
- Imagery – a description of something that uses sensory language; language alludes to seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, or hearing something.
- Onomatopoeia – a word that imitates the sound it is describing, like the word “boom”
Rhymes are essential to great rap lyrics, but they go beyond simply rhyming the last words of lines. A good rapper uses all of the rhyming techniques available to them like a good poet does. Two of the best-known techniques are:
- Alliteration – a string of words that all begin with the same sound
- Assonance – used in internal rhyme; the repetition of a particular vowel sound within a line
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