The New Style of Simile is Dope—Idiot
A few weeks ago, Drake made comments about a certain style of rhyming that he has become known for in his recent rise to superstardom. You know. The Simile’s Younger Cousin flow. The Not Quite a Full Punchline flow. The Let’s Pause Instead of Saying “Like” flow.
Drizzy said he felt that it was overused on the whole and, moreover, that certain rappers had no business using it, cause they weren’t doing it the right way. “A bunch of rappers started doing it and using the most terrible references in the world,” he said. No argument here; there’s definitely been some questionable uses.
But much like Drake, I feel like this specific kind of rhyming can, in some cases, foster some of the most creative rhymes, but in others encourage lazy and weak ones. Plus, they seem a bit easier to concoct than you’re typically well thought out punchline. A few months back, #fakedrake lines was a hashtag that was picking up some steam on Twitter. Jay Smooth over at ill/nildoctrine compiled some of what people were saying and talked a little about the use of the style, offering some criticisms. My personal favorite of the Twitter lines was, “I stay with a quarter in my system, payphone.”
I then made up a few with my friends, and I though they weren’t all that bad.
“I ride around all day with a Mac and cheese, Annie’s”
“I’m telling stories that are timeless, Brothers Grimm”
“Hit me and you won’t like what happens next, funny bone”
“None of these rappers can touch me, Shomer Negiah” (Look it up).
I think these lines are halfway decent, and I definitely don’t rap, nor do I attempt or pretend to. As a general rule, I like my rappers to be more skilled at their craft than I am. With this flow, sometimes they don’t need to be. That’s where I take issue with it. I like it often times. But others, it leaves me wanting more.
In that same quote, Drake said that the best way it had been used was in “Forever.” Not quite. “Forever” is a great song. After being beaten to death with it for a while there, I hadn’t heard it for a long time until I listened this morning. And that joint is sick. But it’s not the best use. However, Drake does mention the song that best used it in his quote, he just doesn’t say or realize that it was the best use.
The best use was, by Drizzy’s and most other’s accounts, also the first. On “Supa Dupa,” from his mixtape UKNOWBIGSEAN, Big Sean gives birth to and murders the style in a matter of three minutes. Instead of just dropping isolated lines, Sean does cartwheels and backflips, often connecting one line/semi-simile to the next, all while sprinkling in some double-entendres. To me, despite it’s use in numerous songs in the time since, the verses on “Supa Dupa” remain the best example of the style being all it can be. Army. A few excerpts:
“When they see me on my high horse, polo
See what I’m wearin’, I know those
Hoes’ll want the same thing, homo, Elton, Jojo”
“The story of my life is to get glory off the mics (Mikes), Quincy”
In this songs, the rhymes flow seamlessly from one line to the next, like it’s a perfectly dreamed stream of consciousness.
Now, in “Maybach Music 2,” Kanye used the style once, when he said, “So all the shit you talkin’ dead, coffin.” Maybe Kanye actually fathered it. Deeper Than Rap, the album that track appeared on, came out on April 21 of last year. UKNOWBIGSEAN came out five days earlier, on April 16. It’s likely the G.O.O.D. music mates heard one another doing it, played around with it, and talked about it together.
Whether or not he’s the father of it, which it seems he is, Big Sean certainly bodies the flow. But not everyone does.
What do you guys think of this rhyme style? Does it need to go? Is it a lyrical revolution? Or does the answer lie somewhere in the middle? Stuffing.—Adam Fleischer