How Rappers Use Stop Words to Build Rhymes

One of the coolest things I’ve found amongst the low syllable per words guys (50, Styles P, Fabolous etc.) is how they sandwich stressed rhyming words with common, often 1 syllable unstressed words that carry little to no emotion or meaning by themselves.  These unstressed words are used to connect ideas and sonically create something pleasant and simple in understanding.

These words can be classified as Stop Words.  Stop Words, in natural language processing, are common words that are taken out of searches in documents because of their frequent occurrence.  It turns out, these words are often the exact words that are perfect for rappers to use inside the rhyme sandwich.  They lack characteristic or emotion and can connect ideas to maintain the low-syllable per word style that many rappers use.  These words includes, but is not limited to these 25 :

For example, the opening bars of Styles P’s Good Times where he says:

Everyday I need an ounce and a half
S.P.; the only flower that you know, with a bounce in a half
Listen kid, I need a mountain of cash
So I could roll up, hop in the whip and like, bounce to the ave

 

The rhyming words Ounce – Bounce – Mount, Half – Cash – Ave are seperated by these unstressed, emotionless idea-connecting stop words.  Styles P is a notoriously low syllable per word guy (1.21 SPW on this song) who takes pride in his lyricism.  Without using stop words to build his multi-syllabic rhymes, he’d lose a large part of his character as an artist.  He’d probably average more SPW and risk the minimalist aesthetic he’s developed that makes him such a fascinating listen to me.

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One thought on “How Rappers Use Stop Words to Build Rhymes

  1. jenny says:

    not many rappers use words like “and” and “the” to bring their rhymes together

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