Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop

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Basic Books, Feb 24, 2009 - Music - 272 pages
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If asked to list the greatest innovators of modern American poetry, few of us would think to include Jay-Z or Eminem in their number. And yet hip hop is the source of some of the most exciting developments in verse today. The media uproar in response to its controversial lyrical content has obscured hip hop's revolution of poetic craft and experience: Only in rap music can the beat of a song render poetic meter audible, allowing an MC's wordplay to move a club-full of eager listeners.

Examining rap history's most memorable lyricists and their inimitable techniques, literary scholar Adam Bradley argues that we must understand rap as poetry or miss the vanguard of poetry today. Book of Rhymes explores America's least understood poets, unpacking their surprisingly complex craft, and according rap poetry the respect it deserves.

 

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Book of rhymes: the poetics of hip hop

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With hip-hop's tremendous growth over the last decade, the amount of literature covering the genre has increased considerably. Yet, few books have been devoted exclusively to the poetic elements of ... Read full review

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Contents

Rhythm
3
Rhyme
49
Wordplay
85
PART TWO
119
Style
121
Storytelling
157
Signifying
175
Epilogue
205
Acknowledgments
215
Credits
219
Notes
221
Index
235
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About the author (2009)

Adam Bradley, a Harvard PhD, is Assistant Professor of English Literature at Claremont McKenna College. He lives in Claremont, California.

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