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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 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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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 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.

30 review for Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop

  1. 5 out of 5

    Robert Lashley

    The problems with Adam Bradley's Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop? Where do I start? That the only references to female MC's are 2 sentences about Lauryn Hill, and one reference to Mc Lyte, Roxanne Shante, Sha rock, and Jean Grae? That there are no-count em-no references to Queen Latifah, Salt and Pepa( or Spinderella), The Mercedes Ladies or TLC? Or that his choice in hip hop is so throughly modern, as in his slavish defense of lil Wayne at a time where millions of black people aren't int The problems with Adam Bradley's Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop? Where do I start? That the only references to female MC's are 2 sentences about Lauryn Hill, and one reference to Mc Lyte, Roxanne Shante, Sha rock, and Jean Grae? That there are no-count em-no references to Queen Latifah, Salt and Pepa( or Spinderella), The Mercedes Ladies or TLC? Or that his choice in hip hop is so throughly modern, as in his slavish defense of lil Wayne at a time where millions of black people aren't interested in defending him? No, the one that sticks out for me is that Bradley is eager to defend the use of metaphor in Lil Wayne's music and eager to excuse his proclivity for threatening to shoot a pregnant woman in the stomach. Early on he recognizes that the lyric's he's defending are vile, but asks the reader to excuse them in the context of society, and find " the meaning that extends beyond the offensive surface". Like so many comfortable, educated thirty something hip hop acedemics, Bradley wants the world to recognize every bit of his culture's humanity without granting a bit of humanity to anyone else. His defenses- to paraphrase what George Orwell once said of Auden's spain- are written by someone who Death, Crack, trauma and Rape are at most words; a brand of amoralism only possible of you are the kind of person who is always somewhere else when someone is killing a loved one, destroying a community with drugs, sexually assaulting a woman, or tormenting a tortured, tortured people. In a sense, the marriage of mainstream hip hop and mainstream academia is a perfect one in it's toxicity. Both are populated by a majority of men who like their horror core ( Roth, Mailer, Seidel, Baraka) (Weezy, eminem, rick ross, and now kanye) will stop at nothing to defend it, and will stop at nothing to castigate anyone who tells them otherwise. Their union in Book of Rhymes follows in both traditions in that it is a love letter to something that so many people hate: less an intellectual exercise than a highbrow example of the psycho sexual masculity that has plagued liberalism from Cleaver to Clinton's 08 primary. it is not only-to paraphrase Orwell again- "playing with fire without even knowing the iron is hot", it is kindling the damm fire.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    Useful book as a starting point for my English literature dissertation focusing on hip-hop lyrics. I read this in the hopes it would give me some grounding for the literary analysis of rap, especially because I'm not particularly good at analysing poetry full-stop, and it met my expectations on that! I'm sure I will be referring back to my notes from this as I get further into my research. Easy to read, and although it goes into technical, poetic terms (which is obvious from the title) it does s Useful book as a starting point for my English literature dissertation focusing on hip-hop lyrics. I read this in the hopes it would give me some grounding for the literary analysis of rap, especially because I'm not particularly good at analysing poetry full-stop, and it met my expectations on that! I'm sure I will be referring back to my notes from this as I get further into my research. Easy to read, and although it goes into technical, poetic terms (which is obvious from the title) it does so in a way that is fairly simple to understand. As a hip-hop 101, manual-esque book it is a comprehensive introduction for someone studying, or just interested, in rap from a poetic perspective!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Fasching-Gray

    He's trying to get people who respect poetry to respect rap music as a poetic form and at the same time he is trying to encourage hip hop heads to take the vocabulary that already exists for discussing poetry and use it to improve how we talk and think about rap. Where these audiences overlap is hard to say, but I do think he mostly succeeds, and he does get into more than just the literary and poetic terminology we learned if we'd paid attention in high school English. It is also fun when he dr He's trying to get people who respect poetry to respect rap music as a poetic form and at the same time he is trying to encourage hip hop heads to take the vocabulary that already exists for discussing poetry and use it to improve how we talk and think about rap. Where these audiences overlap is hard to say, but I do think he mostly succeeds, and he does get into more than just the literary and poetic terminology we learned if we'd paid attention in high school English. It is also fun when he draws from ancient poetic practices like Scottish kenning and ancient Greek capping to make his points. Although he is careful about race and doesn't make the mistake of white washing rap, he shies away from discussing class or advocating poetry programs in the "'hood" and I feel that he missed an opportunity there. He has a bit of a conservative bent throughout in that he doesn't address the politics of hip hop at all, but maybe that's good seeing as how he lists conservative grump Henry Louis Gates Jr Henry Louis Gates Jr. as a mentor in the acknowledgments. Lastly, the biggest problem with this book is the complete lack of women. They have simply been cut out of the story. Considering that, the entire thing becomes an apology for rap's misogyny ... something like (I know this stuff is super-sexist but) check out the assonance in this verse!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Harvey

    Disclosure: I'm into poetry and prosody, wrote my masters thesis on poetry, and also am deeply interested in and ambivalent about hip hop as a poetic form. Not only is hip hop a (the only?) poetry that is popular in the marketplace -- it's gone a long way to reshaping the scene of popular american songcraft as well. Many interesting things to be said about it, and I am ready to get into that conversation. So the good thing about this book is that in reading it, I got to spend a lot of time readi Disclosure: I'm into poetry and prosody, wrote my masters thesis on poetry, and also am deeply interested in and ambivalent about hip hop as a poetic form. Not only is hip hop a (the only?) poetry that is popular in the marketplace -- it's gone a long way to reshaping the scene of popular american songcraft as well. Many interesting things to be said about it, and I am ready to get into that conversation. So the good thing about this book is that in reading it, I got to spend a lot of time reading through hip-hop lyrics with an enthusiastic guide, and it did deepen my appreciation for a lot of what's going on in the hip hop tradition (and it is a tradition). Just getting exposed to a collection of lyrics, all in one place, putting different eras and artists side by side, is valuable mind-food. The bad news is that this enthusiastic author, while cheerful and well-meaning, makes almost NO COHERENT CONCEPTUAL CONTRIBUTION to our understanding of hip hop or its prosody. He is basically just pointing and saying, "Here's something else cool!" He invokes traditional poetry tropes like alliteration or rhyme, but without a good understanding of why these techniques are worth using, in either poetry OR hip hop. So shallow. Dude has a PhD from Harvard but delivers maudlin old chestnuts about rhyme you could get from the "Sound & Sense" textbook in high school. Some hip hop rhymes are weird and interesting; some are frankly boring and childish. This book makes no distinction. In terms of hip hop's content problem -- e.g. rampant, systematic misogyny and homophobia -- he mounts a weak, half-hearted defense. On the matter of the hip-hop tradition of a speaker with exaggerated braggadocio, there's a ton of interesting stuff to say going back through the blues and beyond, and he does at least gesture in the direction you would want to go if you wanted to really engage with that issue. (Civil rights history, Jim Crow, masculinity, New Orleans, music economics...) But he's certainly not going to go there himself. It's probably an OK book for a lay reader with little exposure to poetry or poetics beyond "Sound & Sense", but even that hypothetical reader will come away from this book, I think, strangely lacking any new critical tools. ("Rappers make a lot of creative rhymes!" They sure do.) Still, the book provides a mean to pay attention to something that's worth paying attention to, it's sympathetic to the subject, and it covers a lot of ground. So as far as the beginnings of some kind of sustained critical/intellectual attention to hip hop go, I guess it's a start.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Taka

    Good-- Is Rap poetry? Can it be? How? These are the main questions Adam Bradley answers in this book. He does the job well—though I was already convinced of Rap's poetic nature before picking this up—and is successful for the most part. There are moments when I thought he was stretching it a little, or saying something that applied to not just Rap but to any creative endeavor. So when talking about Biggie and Tupac's different styles, he says, "If we listen to them on their own stylistic terms, ho Good-- Is Rap poetry? Can it be? How? These are the main questions Adam Bradley answers in this book. He does the job well—though I was already convinced of Rap's poetic nature before picking this up—and is successful for the most part. There are moments when I thought he was stretching it a little, or saying something that applied to not just Rap but to any creative endeavor. So when talking about Biggie and Tupac's different styles, he says, "If we listen to them on their own stylistic terms, however, we can judge them against the forms of excellence to which they aspire" (132). Yes, that's true for any art (e.g. we don't complain about a fairytale that there are magical things going on). Or: "Rap is a vernacular art, which is to say that it is born out of the creative combination of the inherited and the invented, the borrowed and the made." But what creative anything doesn't combine "the inherited and the invented"? Overall, though, the book is illuminating and clearly argued. What I was most drawn to were the chapters on rhyme (especially the innovations Rap has made over the years) and signifying, which for Rap consists of dissing and braggadocio. One particularly striking example of the kind of rhyme only Rap can do is what Bradley calls "transformative rhymes" whereby the rapper transforms the pronunciation to make it rhyme with another word. So Tupac on "So Many Tears" has these lines: My life is in denial, and when I die Baptized in eternal fire. He makes "fire" rhyme with "denial" by pronouncing it like "file." Mind. Blown. Or take this from Kanye's "Can't Tell Me Nothing": Don't ever fix your lips like collagen To say something when you're gon' end up apolagin' Or how he makes "writers" rhyme with "ideas" by distorting the former "wry-tears." This is definitely something literary poetry can't do (or not as easily). As for the chapter on signifying, it was especially interesting to learn that the latter was firmly rooted in black American culture, in the ritualized exchange of insults called "dozens" and the exaggerated stories people tell in prisons or at barbershops called "toasts" (which is reminiscent of Beowulf). The part about dozens, incidentally, struck home for me personally because it put in perspective one of my black friends' behavior back in college: he always had comebacks to ANYTHING. One thing to note is: this is not a book about HOW to rap, but about the similarities Rap shares with traditional, literary poetry.So if you're interested in finding out how Rap could be poetry, this book is for you.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    BOOK OF RHYMES by ADAM BRADLEY.. Literary scholar Adam Bradley’s new book BOOK OF RHYMES demonstrates the connection between old school literary poetry and the rhymes of today‘s lyricists. Bradley utilizes a litany of lyrics and classic lines of poetry to support his claims. Each chapter is packed with analysis and anecdotes. The chapter titles are poetic devices: Rhythm, Rhyme, wordplay, Style, storytelling and signifying. Citing lyrics from Big Daddy Kane, Eminem, Nas, Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, Rakim BOOK OF RHYMES by ADAM BRADLEY.. Literary scholar Adam Bradley’s new book BOOK OF RHYMES demonstrates the connection between old school literary poetry and the rhymes of today‘s lyricists. Bradley utilizes a litany of lyrics and classic lines of poetry to support his claims. Each chapter is packed with analysis and anecdotes. The chapter titles are poetic devices: Rhythm, Rhyme, wordplay, Style, storytelling and signifying. Citing lyrics from Big Daddy Kane, Eminem, Nas, Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, Rakim, KRS-One, Outkast, Lil Wayne, as well as poets like Lord Byron, Milton, Shelley, Shakespeare, Yeats, Langston Hughes, Derek Walcott, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens and Edgar Allen Poe, Bradley sheds light on the poetics of hiphop with a meticulous eye. He is one of the few people alive that knows Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER and Sugarhill Gang’s RAPPERS DELIGHT both utilize the ballad form and similar methods of storytelling. The book is the perfect blend of being accessible to every man and still deliver intelligent analysis for the graduate students. Bradley has a PH.D. in English from Harvard and is equally versed in hiphop lyrics and classical poetry. Those serious about poetry, hiphop or both will appreciate the comprehensive history presented and well timed examples. Bradley makes a great case that rappers rank among the greatest public poets of all time. Whether he’s breaking down Shakespeare’s similes, puns by John Donne, how Lauryn Hill and John Milton use alliteration or how Jay-Z uses metonymy, Bradley offers a fascinating read for heads and academics.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Liane

    I wanted this book to either teach me the technicalities of rhyme in an entertaining way or teach me about the history of rhythmic structures in rap, but it was mostly disappointing on both counts. It would be better attached to a freshman poetry class with a professor going into more detail where Bradley falters. In fact, I got the feeling this book was written for freshman poetry class. It was also written for people who don't actually listen to rap (from the horrible intro describing what a r I wanted this book to either teach me the technicalities of rhyme in an entertaining way or teach me about the history of rhythmic structures in rap, but it was mostly disappointing on both counts. It would be better attached to a freshman poetry class with a professor going into more detail where Bradley falters. In fact, I got the feeling this book was written for freshman poetry class. It was also written for people who don't actually listen to rap (from the horrible intro describing what a rap show is really like.. the smoke fills the room blah blah blah... to the arguably off-topic defense of violent, sexist lyrics...). The good parts were when Bradley devoted some detail to specific verses. The great parts were when he quoted from the rappers themselves. Which leads to the conclusion that I got what I deserved. Reading this subject matter when written by an academic is LAME.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    Disappointing, to say the least. This book, which claims to be about the "poetics" of hip-hop, is in fact a very pedestrian, shallow look at the most obtuse and evident aspects of hip-hop. (He dedicates 40 pages to repeatedly explaining the concept of rhythm. Really dipping into the platitudes too in having the chapter on wordplay be straight up explanations of fairly evident lyrics.) Disappointing to say the least, a decent primer for the non-listener but for anyone who has heard a hip-hop trac Disappointing, to say the least. This book, which claims to be about the "poetics" of hip-hop, is in fact a very pedestrian, shallow look at the most obtuse and evident aspects of hip-hop. (He dedicates 40 pages to repeatedly explaining the concept of rhythm. Really dipping into the platitudes too in having the chapter on wordplay be straight up explanations of fairly evident lyrics.) Disappointing to say the least, a decent primer for the non-listener but for anyone who has heard a hip-hop track and at least understood the basics, this will be a slow read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Looking back at “the Humpty Dance” it’s hard to take hip hop too seriously as a form of poetry... by reading this book, though, you'll see a good argument made for the seriousness of hip hop and rap; the true meaning and intensity of these lyrics. It gives good reasons as to why these are some of the most important developments in poetry in the last thirty years. Looking back at “the Humpty Dance” it’s hard to take hip hop too seriously as a form of poetry... by reading this book, though, you'll see a good argument made for the seriousness of hip hop and rap; the true meaning and intensity of these lyrics. It gives good reasons as to why these are some of the most important developments in poetry in the last thirty years.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Zach

    Very deep analysis of both rap's close connection to poetic forms and devices and the stylistic differences that distinguish MCs, like voice, flow, subject matter, etc. I felt like he could have gone more into some other aspects of hip-hop culture like live performance, collaborations, remixing - but otherwise, solid book. Definitely listen to the tracks he mentions as you're reading. Very deep analysis of both rap's close connection to poetic forms and devices and the stylistic differences that distinguish MCs, like voice, flow, subject matter, etc. I felt like he could have gone more into some other aspects of hip-hop culture like live performance, collaborations, remixing - but otherwise, solid book. Definitely listen to the tracks he mentions as you're reading.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Morgan (Turbo)

    I took a long time to finish this one, but it's one I will keep for a long time. I like hip hop and I like books that deal with creative writing, so this was a perfect hybrid, a great balance of academic writing and interesting stories and lyrics from the world of hip hop. Anyone interested in hip hop and lyrics would like this book I took a long time to finish this one, but it's one I will keep for a long time. I like hip hop and I like books that deal with creative writing, so this was a perfect hybrid, a great balance of academic writing and interesting stories and lyrics from the world of hip hop. Anyone interested in hip hop and lyrics would like this book

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jillian

    This is a must-read for any fan or pseudo-fan of hip hop. It breaks down style, voice, flow, storytelling snd characterization, all while keeping great pace. ...and quoting some awesome lyrics along the way :)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Bradley's analysis of the intersection between poetry and hip-hop (including rap) is interesting and insightful. While he sometimes prattles on without adding much substance to his argument, he nevertheless offers some meaningful insights into the connection between ancient song and modern music. As someone who has never really been into rap, I can attest to the interest this book generated within me. Anyone concerned with either medium could benefit from at least flipping through this little bo Bradley's analysis of the intersection between poetry and hip-hop (including rap) is interesting and insightful. While he sometimes prattles on without adding much substance to his argument, he nevertheless offers some meaningful insights into the connection between ancient song and modern music. As someone who has never really been into rap, I can attest to the interest this book generated within me. Anyone concerned with either medium could benefit from at least flipping through this little book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Hari Kumar

    This book had a pretty neat concept and from reading about it online, there was a lot of hype surrounding it. Some of Adam's analyses are spot-on and taught me a bit more about some classic lines, but overall I found it to be a bit bland and unoriginally done. He discusses the importance of rhyme, rhythm, wordplay, and all that. This would be a great intro for someone who literally knows nothing about rap, but it didn't do anything more than scratch the surface. This book had a pretty neat concept and from reading about it online, there was a lot of hype surrounding it. Some of Adam's analyses are spot-on and taught me a bit more about some classic lines, but overall I found it to be a bit bland and unoriginally done. He discusses the importance of rhyme, rhythm, wordplay, and all that. This would be a great intro for someone who literally knows nothing about rap, but it didn't do anything more than scratch the surface.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    I think ultimately this book suffered from academia-ism. Really, there wasn't enough content to sustain the number of pages. Also there weren't enough women, and non-black-male artists were Eminem. For a book about hip-hop there was a startling lack of diversity, which wouldn't have been a problem if the book hadn't been insisting that it was capable of discussing hip hop in its entirety, rather than a specific sub-section of the genre. I think ultimately this book suffered from academia-ism. Really, there wasn't enough content to sustain the number of pages. Also there weren't enough women, and non-black-male artists were Eminem. For a book about hip-hop there was a startling lack of diversity, which wouldn't have been a problem if the book hadn't been insisting that it was capable of discussing hip hop in its entirety, rather than a specific sub-section of the genre.

  16. 5 out of 5

    C.

    The is an enjoyable look at the beginning of Hip Hop, rap, rhythmic beats, and poetic lyrics in the urban music scene. I enjoyed most of the information, but be warned there are some profanities quoted from songs. It is a beautiful look into the way rhyme working in the music industry.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jason Comely

    Gave me a new appreciation for the art and skill of rap, and poetry in general. Too bad so much of rap is vulgar and misogynistic. It doesn't take the sparkle off this gem of a book though. A new all-time favorite for me. Gave me a new appreciation for the art and skill of rap, and poetry in general. Too bad so much of rap is vulgar and misogynistic. It doesn't take the sparkle off this gem of a book though. A new all-time favorite for me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    a well-written book for the sake of both studying and enjoying

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alan Martin

    Interesting read. Leans too often to the academic, but Bradley is a Professor. I definitely have a greater appreciation for the art of Hip Hop.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    Read this for my Multicultural Poetry class--really, a wonderful book that analyzes the poetics of hip hop.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Hodgson

    Excellent exploration of the art of rap ... With a literary and cultural window into this writing world

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Ramos

    An interesting view/history about rap, that gives cultural information and some tips to write. I would recommend it if you are interested in this music genre.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jace Payne

    Amazing for anyone interested in Hip Hop as a continuation of the American linguistic tradition

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joe Haack

    Makes a case that poetry (and public interest in it) is not dead, but is alive and well... in hip hop.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ori Fienberg

    This at least begins to combat the notion that there's no such thing as "hip-hop lyricism." It's becoming trendy for the last generation of poetry scholars to acknowledge that hip-hop can be poetry, however I bet most would be hard pressed to reel off lyrics and even fewer would attempt to teach it in a class. I was in a high school class the other day where the teacher played Bob Dylan and passed out copies of his lyrics. Probably that was titillatingly subversive when it was done in the class r This at least begins to combat the notion that there's no such thing as "hip-hop lyricism." It's becoming trendy for the last generation of poetry scholars to acknowledge that hip-hop can be poetry, however I bet most would be hard pressed to reel off lyrics and even fewer would attempt to teach it in a class. I was in a high school class the other day where the teacher played Bob Dylan and passed out copies of his lyrics. Probably that was titillatingly subversive when it was done in the class room 30 years ago. Yes, some inner-city high school students have heard of Bob Dylan and some even listen to him, but he's not current. Introducing them to Bob Dylan may be valuable, but the students would probably be a whole lot more engaged if the teacher could reference Nas, Jay-Z, or Eminem. This book doesn't do much to put to rest the notion that "if it doesn't rhyme, it's not poetry," and while I know it's petty since it's such a slim volume, but I was disappointed when some of the hip-hop lyricists who I consider essential inspirations never made appearances. That said this is an attractive unitimidating volume. I hope soon we'll start to recognize the literature of hip-hop as we now do for comix. I just hope some teachers will flip through this. If they do they'll instantly be able to find things they could incorporate into a poetry lesson.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Arnoldo Garcia

    Drop all your biases against rap and hip hop. If you want to know how reach thousands if not millions of listeners and (ahem) readers with poetry, this is a great book to start. "Book fo Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop" is both an introduction of sorts to hip hop and rap and breaks down how rap/hip hop is one of the most popular forms and dynamic forms I would add of poetry that;s on the air and hips of young and old day and night. Adam Bradley, the author, breaks down the revolution (my word) ra Drop all your biases against rap and hip hop. If you want to know how reach thousands if not millions of listeners and (ahem) readers with poetry, this is a great book to start. "Book fo Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop" is both an introduction of sorts to hip hop and rap and breaks down how rap/hip hop is one of the most popular forms and dynamic forms I would add of poetry that;s on the air and hips of young and old day and night. Adam Bradley, the author, breaks down the revolution (my word) rap/hip hop has made by creating a dual track, synthesizing and meshing rhythm and rhyme, beats and flow, into a new poetic form that many take for granted. Bradley points out some obvious links to poetry: it's called "flows" (which in Greek, the original poeticus paisanas place of most poetry when poets think of ars poeticas, is called rheos) by rappers. Anyway, this is a refreshing read of poetry fundamentals set against the challenge of poetry-makers selling millions and making millions off what everyday people consider poetry (i.e. it rhymes and has rhythm!). Pick this book up and join the word revolution. Isn't that what every writer and poet writes and dreams of? Countless readers and listeners, lovers of poets and their poetry. "Hip hop, hippity hop..."

  27. 5 out of 5

    Daichi

    Short and easy. The context is pretty interesting. All the connections with the prestigious traditional rap, real life examples, quotes from recognized rappers, and contemplated analysis. However I am not pleased with the structure. You think Adam Bradley is building a solid statement, but he suddenly intervenes it with something irrelevant. That irrelevant info might be something interesting, but it surely does distract you. Maybe it's only my problem, but it really did frustrate me. I also tho Short and easy. The context is pretty interesting. All the connections with the prestigious traditional rap, real life examples, quotes from recognized rappers, and contemplated analysis. However I am not pleased with the structure. You think Adam Bradley is building a solid statement, but he suddenly intervenes it with something irrelevant. That irrelevant info might be something interesting, but it surely does distract you. Maybe it's only my problem, but it really did frustrate me. I also thought the rhythm section was dull. I know poetry is related to rap, but I did not buy this book to read 50 pages about traditional poetry. About poetry, you will need a certain amount of knowledge and terminology about it. Without it, you might find yourself lost. Everything will be explained with adequate explanation but confusion is inevitable. One last thing, I cannot understand how Adam Bradley qualifies Lil Wayne as a "lyricist". He quotes a line from Lil Wayne's song which refers to the R&B singer Keisha Cole. That line is horrible, but Adam somehow sees it as talent. Different perspectives I guess.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Finnell

    Library Journal Review: With hip hop’s tremendous growth over the last decade the amount of literature covering the genre has grown considerably. Yet, very few books have been written that are devoted exclusively to the poetic elements of hip hop. Having studied under such luminaries as Cornel West and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Adam Bradley is emerging as a pioneering scholar in the study of hip hop. In the Book of Rhymes Bradley shows that rap can be analyzed as literary verse while still recogniz Library Journal Review: With hip hop’s tremendous growth over the last decade the amount of literature covering the genre has grown considerably. Yet, very few books have been written that are devoted exclusively to the poetic elements of hip hop. Having studied under such luminaries as Cornel West and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Adam Bradley is emerging as a pioneering scholar in the study of hip hop. In the Book of Rhymes Bradley shows that rap can be analyzed as literary verse while still recognizing its essential identity as music. Dissecting hip hop’s dual rhythmic voice – rhymes over beats, Bradley uncovers rap’s own poetic tradition as well as its progressive contributions to the medium of poetry. Throughout the text, terms such as assonance and consonance are explained through the lyrics of Keats and Eminem. Rap is a relatively new genre of music, but lyrical analysis reveals the use of intricate structures steeped in poetic tradition. This text is a refreshing read that challenges the common assumption that hip hop is simple or mundane.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sophia Ordaz

    As an English major and a hip-hop fan, I had high hopes for this book and its exploration of what can be gained from a poetic analysis of hip-hop. The book is divided into chapters describing the essential elements of hip-hop, like rhythm, rhyme, and style, and is interspersed with passages analyzing lyrics with an eye for poetic devices. I found Bradley's use of literary theory and references to the English poetic tradition effective, but his explanation can verge on the obvious, which is why t As an English major and a hip-hop fan, I had high hopes for this book and its exploration of what can be gained from a poetic analysis of hip-hop. The book is divided into chapters describing the essential elements of hip-hop, like rhythm, rhyme, and style, and is interspersed with passages analyzing lyrics with an eye for poetic devices. I found Bradley's use of literary theory and references to the English poetic tradition effective, but his explanation can verge on the obvious, which is why this book is best fit for a freshman student or an early listener of hip-hop. I was left desiring more praxis of the poetic anlysis that Bradley proposes for hip-hop. It would be so dope to read a poetic breakdown of a Nas or a Kendrick Lamar album, but then this would be a different book. As other reviewers have pointed out, the absence of female emcees is GLARING, which is why, when stuck between giving this book 2 or 3 stars, I went with 2.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    I really like the concept of this book and I think that Bradley's style of writing and analysis is perfect for a rather light book. Unfortunately I was rather dismayed by Bradley's lack of diversity of rap artists. Perhaps he wanted to make this appeal to the more casual/contemporary hip hop fan, but Lil Wayne is not very good and he seems less so when you hold his lyrics up to analysis. I feel like that a lot of examples he used could not hold a candle to some old school stuff that he ommitted. I really like the concept of this book and I think that Bradley's style of writing and analysis is perfect for a rather light book. Unfortunately I was rather dismayed by Bradley's lack of diversity of rap artists. Perhaps he wanted to make this appeal to the more casual/contemporary hip hop fan, but Lil Wayne is not very good and he seems less so when you hold his lyrics up to analysis. I feel like that a lot of examples he used could not hold a candle to some old school stuff that he ommitted. He talks about 50 so much in the book. Why? I know that he represents the current mainstream hip-hop sound in a lot of ways. But I don't think he will go down as a great lyricist. I guess I am just dissappointed that the book did not celebrate the great poetry of artists like Guru, KMD, Main Source, Pete Rock/CL Smooth, and other artists whose rhymes really can be seen as great art.

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