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The Great Weezy Debate, Round 1:

The Great Weezy Debate, Round 1: 

PE
I have received the book and sat up far too late devouring it all. It was a fascinating read; there were some points well made, particularly about Wayne's technical ability and prolific output. I am catching up on some of the songs you mentioned too.

However, if you were a fellow emcee, instead of a scholar- I would totally challenge you to a battle right this moment. I do refute your claim that Wayne is worthy of study like Shakespeare, Dylan or even Dr Suess. And I think that you do the rest of Hip Hop a disservice wby fixating on him, seemingly to the exclusion of all other Hip Hop before him. By focussing on how he says what he says and not what; not only do you show a lack of understanding of how emceeing works (every emcee worth his salt employs all of the tricks that Wayne uses, at slightly different ratios and often to better effect) but you also ignore one of the fundemental parts of being an emcee. 

Emceeing isn't all technical ability and how many puns you can use to describe having sex. Voice, style, authenticity and most of all CONTENT carry a huge amount of weight. Your study pretty much ignores the content of Weezy's rhymes (or makes spurious claims that it is more clever than it appears), where there are numerous rappers out there who can deliver humour, puns, every technical trick in the book, style and tell a story- all in 16 bars or less.  

I was going to throw in a few examples here, but for this point, I only need one. Go back and listen to Illmatic by Nas. In full, with no distractions. It is heartbreaking, real, groundbreaking, banging Hip Hop that changed the game completely.  It's crammed with every technical trick in the book (well, in your book) and still outshines much of what is put out today. Are you really telling me that Weezy has ever or will ever match that standard of emceeing? 

If the book contained more positive examples as to how Wayne favourably compares to other brilliant emcees in the game or how he fits into and contributes to hip hop culture as a whole, I might have bought a bit more of it. Sadly though, it sounds a bit like a love letter to the cool kid in your university class, rather than a balanced exploration of what makes an emcee great. 

Wayne must be onto something- he is most likely a multi millionaire and he has tapped into the 'bitches, bling and drugs' side of rap and depressingly exploited it to it's fullest. But int he same way that Simon Cowell being a millionaire doesn't make him an artist, or Kim Kardashian's fame doesnt make her a genius- neither does Weezy's success make him a decent emcee. 

… your argument only makes sense if the matching syllables per line were the only criteria that rap is based on and it very much isn't. The best verses in the world aren't the same as the technically tightest verses in the world. There is crossover, but they are not the same. ....And if even if they were, Wayne still wouldn't make the cut on the technical side anyway.


KK
I’m glad you enjoyed The Literary Genius of Lil Wayne. However, I think you missed the thesis and one of the main arguments.
The thesis is that Lil Wayne uses literary devices in such a way and to such an extent that he compares to Shakespeare and Dylan as a genius in his use of such devices. Arguing this claim doesn’t require any comparisons to other hip hop artists, but I do, in fact, compare him to others. The simple fact is, other hip hop artists just don’t use literary devices to the extent Wayne does. You try to fault me for not giving them more space in my book or more attention in my listening, but they don’t do what I’m interested in. You claim that Nas’ work is “crammed with every technical trick in the [my] book,” but it’s simply and patently false. Nas just doesn’t do it. Period. Anyone arguing to the contrary would need to provide examples.
A love letter would not be argued meticulously, logically, as my book has been noted to do, “like a mathematical proof,” by critics.
I take issue with your claim that "every emcee worth his salt employs all of the tricks that Wayne uses." Please produce an example of another rapper matching 8+ syllables line-to-line. I've never found one and never had anyone find one to show me.

I grant the point on how vs. what
I have identified objective criteria by which we can measure the literary merit of lyrics, i.e. the frequency and manner in which established literary devices are used. Other emcees simply don’t use them anywhere close to the extent, density, and combinations that Wayne does. I have laid out such uses in my book and have not seen anyone do similarly with other artists, nor have I found or been presented with anything comparable from other artists in the hip hop genre, or any pop music for that matter.

Your response reads to me “I like a bunch of hip hop artists who you, Kreston, don’t seemed to have listened to, so you shouldn’t be making claims about Lil Wayne that are entirely independent of what other artists do, even though your claims don’t require such comparisons. And, I’m going to make unsupported, general assertions that the ones I like do everything Wayne does, but I won’t provide any examples. Instead, I’ll refer you to a song that doesn’t contain anything close to what you demonstrate in your book but that I like for entirely different reasons.”

PE
Mate, there are hundreds... you need to listen to some more hip hop. Probably the easiest example is http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/eminem/rapgod.html  Such a dope tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbGs_qK2PQA

Also, I present 
R A the rugged man (one of my favourites) 
tech nine, immortal technique and kendrick lamar also regularly kill it. 

....And a whole bunch of others, including a ton of my friends.  There is a freestyle emcee called Gramski here who does it with damn near near every free he spits. It's incredible to watch- but matching up syllables line to line isn't an exception to hip hop, it's been one of the rules, ever since Rakim first showed us how to do it. I'll let my pal Baba Brinkman explain it in full.  

What say you to that sir? 

KK

Looked at rap god so far can only find max. 5 consecutive unique syllables rhymed. This is why you need to find one example. 
Give me TWO LINES, please, where 8 or more consecutive, unique syllable-pairings rhyme from someone other than Lil Wayne. 

PE
Can you remind me of the special, best ever, magic lines that Wayne spit that you want me to find a match for? 

I do suggest that you check out everyone that I have mentioned below though, they are all absolutely amazing emcees in their own rights and cover a lot of different styles. I also think you'd be hard pressed to find rhyme patterns in lil wayne songs that match the likes of R A the Rugged man, Elzhi or  Big Pun. 

Which kind of brings me back to one of my main points- Hip Hop does not exist in isloation... Do you like other Hip Hop artists? Who are your top ten emcees? Favourite songs (that aren't by lil wayne)?  What was the last emcee you saw perform live? Have you read any books on emceeing or Hip Hop culture? Have you ever tried any of the four elements yourself? Can you even name them without doing a google search? This might seem like it goes slightly off the point, but I think it is central to the argument of whether or not you are qualified to make these kind of judgements on Wayne's music. You wouldn't study classical composition after listening to a bit of Beethoven and then getting stuck in....and I think you are doing Hip Hop a disservice if you haven't done your homework before jumping in and making grand claims about a single emcee that you enjoy. 

It might also be that I am making assumptions about you that are utterly, completely and ball achingly wrong. I am being a bit deliberately provocative here- so do feel free to prove me wrong.

KK
a rhyme of 8+ unique syllable-pairs

so, a lot of rappers have "multi's" of 3-5 syllables. I'm looking for 6, 7, 8+ syllable pairings in a rhyme. Not 3 syllables three times or 5 syllables twice. I'm looking for:

a-b-c-d-e-f-g-h
a'-b'-c'-d'-e'-f'-g'-h'

^syllables from a rapper other than Wayne.

When I listen to other rappers and hear 1, 2, 3 syllables, maybe 4, rarely 5, I don't get engaged. 

The judgments I make on Wayne's music are as follows:

He has longer multi/poly-syllabic rhymes than other rappers.
He uses every single catalogued type of rhyme in literary analysis. 
He uses far more puns than any other rapper with far greater frequency.
He has more meticulous parallel structure of syllabic counts combined with rhymes, combined with puns.

PE
Ok, a couple of thing here. First- can you send me the actual example of Weezy employing the 'rhyme of 8+ unique syllable-pairs', not because I don't believe you, but so I can find an equivilent and better example. 

Secondly, your retort is verging on the nonsensical; 'When I listen to other rappers and hear 1, 2, 3 syllables, maybe 4, rarely 5, I don't get engaged' Does that mean you don't listen to any other hip hop because you don't think it is as technically proficent as lil Wayne? How could you possibly make the judgements that you make by only listening to Wayne in isolation? And then only listening to Wayne based on a 'number of syllables rhymed' and not the content or music behind him?

I think you are doing Hip Hop and even Wayne himself a massive disservice here. It suggests that only your favourite is worth listening too and then only because of a perceived technical proficency and nothing else.

Because Weezy is seen as 'low brow' in terms of popular culture, you have skirted around doing proper research or due dilligence in studying him and the culture surrounding his music. It's as if it's enough to study him, regardless off the quality of that study; 'Hey look guys, I am studying Lil Wayne! Crazy huh?!'  The fact that you weren't able to, or chose not to, answer the rest of my questions about Hip Hop, says it all so far as I am concerned. 

Over the festive season, I will confer with colleagues and listen to hip hop to find you specific examples that disprove Wayne's superiority on the criteria that you have set. In the meantime: 

He has longer multi/poly-syllabic rhymes than other rappers.
How can you tell if you have not studied other rappers? Where are your examples and evidence, not of wayne but of the other rappers you claim that he is better than? 

He uses every single catalogued type of rhyme in literary analysis. 
So do I, so do we ALL! These types of rhyme are the tools in our tools box and I can give you examples of a variety of emcees which use each and every example. I can probably show you my own rhymes which have examples of all of these. 

He uses far more puns than any other rapper with far greater frequency.
Again, that is a statement which simply isn't true. And until you listen and study other rappers (in the case of your statement, you would have to study ALL other rappers and every rhyme written) you can't start making claims like that with any validity at all. In the words of Celph Titled ' ...good punchlines are just bad jokes'. Here's a quick example, from the masterful but sadly passed, Big L: Best Punchlines From Big L

KK

Like this, from Watch My Shoes:

“Gators, Matadors, baboons and those Grizzlies
Haters gotta go'n iTunes to go get me.”

Parallel structure between lines for 11 syllables. 

I can claim that other rappers don't do this, because I have looked into the purported best-of-the-best polysyllabic rhymes from rap and have found them to fall woefully short of Weezy in terms of length and integration with other literary devices. Your "Best Punchlines from Big L," Big Pun, Eminem, Nas, etc. etc. don't have ANY polysyllabic rhymes even approaching 8, 11, 13 syllables that Wayne has. Furthermore, they don't have any extended parallel structures involving the combination of rhyme, puns, metaphor, etc. that Wayne routinely does. So, if these are the best you can fire at me, then the debate is over. 

If you think I'm missing something, give me the actual lines and point out the length of the polysyllabic rhymes and the other literary devices used.

PE

Ha- that is a great couple of lines.  I will have a dig around to see what I can find to match it. 

To be continued...

Professor Elemental:

Kreston Kent:


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