Rap should have style over substance
Debate Rounds (5)
First round acceptance
But not only is it poetry, but meaningful poetry. You can say any kind of nonsense and put it to a beat, sure. But that's bad rap, it has no substance or meaning behind it. The pro is trying to argue that rap should be more about catchy beats, they're clearly missing the point of rap. Rap is about telling a story, a story about inner conflicts and hard times, not blasting sounds. And that's all some people see it as, but it's so much more than that. It's the expressed feelings of these rappers who put their words to paper in a truly beautiful way.
Rap gets a bad wrap.
I'll give an example of a news article comparing lil wayne to Eminem. It says this:
"The career-defining single for each of emcee is Eminem's "Lose Yourself," an ode to the struggle of becoming a rapper, and Lil Wayne's "Lollipop," a song about sex. Both songs are approximately five minutes long, and Em fits about 50 percent more words in his song. Weezy's lyrics are much more repetitive, so Shady is essentially working twice as hard to produce the same effect. This certainly proves Marshall is talented and hard-working. It proves he can spit complicated rhyme patterns. But is that what makes a great song? By accomplishing the same thing (a number 1 single) with half the words, Tunechi proves he has a better grasp of lyricism than the Rap God.
While word count seems like a wacky way to compare two lyricists, if we're calling someone the greatest rapper alive, it's an important consideration. Lyrics are words, and, as Twitter has proven time and time again, the less words you use to express a thought, the more appealing it is. Being able to express a concise thought on a subject is the mark of a genius, and doing it melodically is a sign of a musical prodigy -- both of which describe Lil Wayne." (1)
I'll also illustrate with 50 Cent's average lyrics of "In da club" https://www.youtube.com...
"You can find me in the club, bot-tle full of bub (12 syllables)
Look ma-mi i got the x if you in-to tak-in drugs (14 syllables)
I'm in-to hav-in sex i ain't in-to mak-in love (13 syllables)
So come give me a hug if you in-to gett-in rubbed (13 syllables)
Notice how the lyrics are simply, but the rhythm and flow in the chorus is what made the song memorable. It was according to Wikipedia (2) recognized for it's "blaring horns, funky organs, guitar riffs and sparse hand claps." It was "a spectacular party anthem" and showed "50 Cent's ability to twist his words effortlessly" and notably "sparse orchestral samples and snaking chorus."
Now just because some rap talks about things you dislike does not mean that it's meaningless. Rap is about spoken poetry, but it's also music and because it's music, style should not be neglected. Tu pac was widely recognized for his influence more than his beats and Eminem for his lyricism. Now if there is a rapper who blends in style with substance and is original, creative, with many more qualities, most people will probably appreciate his/her music qualities.
Your stats may be correct about those two singles but I like to look at the broader image to get a decent idea. Eminem has 8 albums which he"s sold 50 million copies of in the US, where Lil Wayne has 10 albums and he"s only sold 9 million (1). So, obviously success doesn"t lie in the repetitive lyrics and catchy beats. Also, on this very site the debate "Eminem is a better rapper than Lil Wayne" took place, the pro won 37 points to 14. May I also mention that half of my opposition"s argument consisted of a quote, and that the adjudicators/voters should keep that in mind.
I"m glad truth_seeker brought up Eminem, as he is a classic example of a rapper who expresses "substance over style", though in style he sure isn"t lacking. Known as the "Rap God", Eminem is a rapper who paints pictures with words. His songs, lyrical genius. He entrances us with music and lyrics that we can relate to, like hard times and trauma. This is why Eminem is so renowned, we listen to him because we can relate to him, not because his tunes sound cool. And it isn"t just Eminem, rap was intended as a way to relieve stress and clean out closets.
Rappers whose lyrics we can relate to are the true artists.
Big Sean - Marvin and Chardonnay
"Hold up hold up hold up hold up
Talk to the talk to the talk to the hand
b**** you talk-in' to a grown a** man.."
And I love how you look when ya blaz-in'
And I swear you turn at least half asi-an
And we 'bout to have a lia-son
She's so cool, give head with her-shades-on
You should just go and throw a-cape-on
And it's just so a-maz-ing"
Just because a rapper has substance over style does not make him/her a true artist. Tu pac is considered to be the most influential artist in rap, but even he had no substance and is widely overrated. I'll quote this from a news article:
" A lot of his music was great at garnering an emotion, but his flow is very juvenile compared to some of the greats. Tu pac"s greatest lyrical song is often noted as "Hail Mary" , I can name plenty of emcees who have out done that song, more than a few times. (Jay-Z, NaSs, Biggie, Jadakiss, Wayne, & Big Pun). The truth of the matter is that Pac was very much so a mediocre lyricist. His flow never changed, and he was very repetitive with his rhymes."
While yes in some instances, Eminem does have substance over style, you named one song where he picks style over substance. Rap God is the finest example:
"I'm beginning to feel like a Rap God, Rap God
All my people from the front to the back nod, back nod
Now who thinks their arms are long enough to slap box, slap box?
They said I rap like a robot, so call me rap-bot"
These rhymes are repetitive and mediocre. He then raps at what he calls "supersonic speed." Rapping fast does not equate to rapping with lyrical clarity, it distracts you from fully comprehending the artist's message. Listeners cannot comprehend about 90% of it. That's not substance, that's style.
I mean no disrespect to Eminem or Tu Pac, it's evident that being a "real" artist does not automatically mean that your lyrically talented which seems to be your argument. I know several people who use 50% less words than Eminem and could poetically demolish him. I don't deny that he's a lyrical genius, but it's mostly with rhymes, not with the power of his words. Rap is spoken poetry and as an art form, the quality of your words should outweigh the quantity. We as a species are becoming more technologically advanced and because of that, so should music and that leans towards style. Looking back on Eminem's songs, the beats and flow were good in his time, but it's old school.
Firstly, I"d like to address the elephant in the room. "Rapping fast does not equate to rapping with lyrical clarity". This is a (excuse the pun) "Ludacris" statement, and doesn"t make sense in the slightest. I"m confused as to what you"re trying to prove by saying that Eminem is substance over style and then saying his style is old school, and as your conclusion too. Also, you stated that "there is no solid correlation between an artist"s sales and his skills as a rapper". This is ridiculous. I define success in the music industry as; sending your message and selling albums. Eminem has accomplished this to a world changing extent.
You seem to define rap substance as lyric complexity, as said in your first paragraph. This is certainly not the case as you said yourself, rebutting yourself, saying "the quality of your words should outweigh the quantity" and saving me the bother. Which leads me to my next point which I title simply; the quality of your words should outweigh the quantity. You wrongly accuse me of disagreeing with this statement and somehow think that I chose Eminem as my example because he uses a lot of words rather than meaningful words. Why is that when I clearly said "this is why Eminem is so renowned, we listen to him because we can relate to him"? Never did I say we relate to him because he talks too much!
Now, I really don"t want to tackle your attempt at trying to back up your argument with made-up scientific evidence. But I feel I have to do it justice and bring it to the attention of the voters. When you said, "We as a species are becoming more technologically advanced and because of that, so should music and that leans towards style" I was very confused. How does technology advancing have anything to do with style in rap, or even rap at all? Are you saying that because we have modern technology we should listen to modern techno, and devoid ourselves from lyrics? Then it isn"t exactly, "spoken poetry" then is it?
P.S. Just out of interest could you name the "several people you know who use 50% less words than Eminem and could poetically demolish him"?
"You seem to define rap substance as lyric complexity, as said in your first paragraph. This is certainly not the case as you said yourself, rebutting yourself, saying "the quality of your words should outweigh the quantity"
You misread what i said. I said that in some cases, substance is allowed, but not for everything. When creating a song, nothing is preventing you from mixing style with substance, however style should be focused on more because shorter quotes with meaning are the most memorable.
"Why is that when I clearly said "this is why Eminem is so renowned, we listen to him because we can relate to him"? Never did I say we relate to him because he talks too much!"
If he's famous because we can relate to him then you have just proven my point that substance does not matter. That being said, Tu Pac and Eminem do not need to be lyrically advanced which means that they can focus on creating style while being genuine in their message and still get the same results.
"How does technology advancing have anything to do with style in rap, or even rap at all? Are you saying that because we have modern technology we should listen to modern techno, and devoid ourselves from lyrics?"
You can have lyrics, but also have style in your music.
Thanks to truth_seeker for an intriguing topic and a mutually passionate debate, and I hope I've shown him the truth he sought.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ShadowKingStudios 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro argues style over substance--Eminem is his example; Con argues substance over style--Eminem is his example; Pro highlights Con proved his point with Eminem's style (and substance?) as argumentative factors. Con then uses rhetoric "this is blue, blue is this, is this blue", while Pro draws out of that rhetoric his initial resolution of style should trump substance. Anyone confused, like Con admitted so many times should re-read the debate like Pro noted that Con had not actually done. Pro=ATD. MCA. MRS; Con=BD. C. [Do either of you want a judgment on S&G?]
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