Are you ready for your Daily Mathematics?
For several years this weblog has existed I have tried to explain that the essence of rap could be described by using a mathematical formula. Rap is a hyper-evolved level of communication using music, melody and mnemonic devices. This is why it is loved all across the globe. The greatest achievement of the human species is our ability to communicate on the highest level with speech. If we only had body movements and yelling we would have never have invented Twitter.
I think that the highest level of rap artistry is contained in the artists that frequently use polysyllabic words. The complex compound words can contain several meaning all at once based on the root of the word and the context it is delivered. The artist commonly considered to be the best rapper of all time was the master of injecting his rhyme speech with polysyllabic words. These phrases bent and stretched his rhymes well past the verse they were spoken in and put them into the stratosphere as some of the most used quotes spoken in the Hip-Hop culture.
Bear in mind that the most important word to an emcee is polysyllabic – microphone.
Eminem’s latest album ‘Relapse’ is fantastic for it’s graphic gory content. This album is part of the great history of epic entertaining horror-core productions. This album is rap’s ‘Nightmare On Elm Street’. It is horrific, disgusting, profane, satirical and brilliant all at the same time. Lyrically, I consider this to be on a classic level. If the beats by Dr. Dre were swapped out for some of the dark production of DOOM, or more appropriately RZA, this album would be a certified classic. This drop though is to discuss the lyrical eminence of Eminem. A reader stated that this album was garbage. I don’t believe that reader listened to this album or if he did his ability to judge art is negligible.
This album is the VAN GOGH of rap music. The fact that Eminem even referred to himself as VAN G adds to his lyrical prowess. The heartbroken madman who has gleefully crossed the line into insanity is vividly painted in story format as well as open form rap braggadocio. I asked the reader to offer an album that contained better lyrics than ‘Relapse’. His offering was Lil’ Wayne’s ‘The Carter II’. That should already tip you off to the fact that this reader is a da-dunn da-dunt. Lil’ Wayne’s ‘The Carter II’ is actually Wayne’s best album. As I scanned over the album looking for a track to do a cross-reference comparison to I looked for songs that had similar lengths to the unusually long tracks posted on ‘Relapse’. I decided to use the track ghost-written by Juelz Santana called Tha’ Mobb.
As a repayment for Santana’s skills on this song I believe Wayne introduced Juelz to syrup.
Wayne uses 853 words in this song. Thirty(30) are polysyllabic. The longest being promethezine clocking in a strong twelve(12) letters. The key number in all of these stats though is the percentage of polysyllabic words to the entire composition. Wayne’s final numbers were 3.5169/1000. That is the percantage of polysyllabic words his verses would contain per 1000 words. Big Daddy Kane averages about the same. Kane is loved and feared, but no one, not even Kane himself, calls him the greatest rapper alive. Hyperbole lives and his name is Lil’ Wayne.
The Eminem song I used is the comically violent 3am. This song had the same run time as Lil’ Wayne’s Tha’ Mobb (5mins 21sec). Eminem uses only 769 total words but forty-eight(48) of them are the 3+ syllable variety. The longest polysyllabic word in this murderous rap rampage was the thirteen(13) letter hallucinogens. Eminem was obviously on something extra to have the mind to craft this masterpiece. The average percentage of polysyllabic words per 1000 for Eminem is 6.2418 and approaching twice that of Lil’ Wayne. My point in all of this is to illustrate that the Relapse album is far from garbage no matter how you look at rap music. It merits your highest consideration for the lyrical content contained therein. And at the end of the day, instead of flow and swagger, shouldn’t lyrics matter most in RAP music?
BTW, Rakim Allah’s percentage on ‘Microphone Fiend’ was 7.272 and this is why we call him the G.O.A.T.
Additional background reading for those of you just tuning in to Dallas Penn…
More mathematics shenanigans @ DP…