Headed to play basketball a few weeks ago, listening to Styles P, talking shit, Paniro (and Jada) rapped:
I know a few dudes doin life bids in jail
And they way smarter then the white kids in Yale
The rhyme is simple as hell but it got me thinking about just how perfect of a rhyme that is. The whole structure of it is based on opposites (and much of the song plays to this idea). The real power of the line comes from the ‘Yale/Jail‘ rhyme with the ‘life bids/white kids‘ used to build the multi and add a layer of description to the rhyme.
There exists linguistic tools out there to measure the relative closeness of words based on the WordNet database. So, the words Car-Bike would be much more closely related than Car-Phone (almost two times more ‘similar’, actually).
So, what I did was take the word ‘Jail’ and found all the 1-syllable exact rhymes for it and used the WordNet Similairty tool to find the ‘relatedness of the words’. Data Below:
ail - 0.0588 ale - 0.0556 bail - 0.0556 bale - 0.0833 braille - 0.0667 dail - 0.0526 dale - 0.0769 fail - N/A flail - 0.1 frail - 0.0909 gael - 0.0667 gale - 0.0556 grail - 0.0833 hail - 0.1 hale - 0.0714 jail - 1.0 kail - 0.0667 kale - 0.0667 mail - 0.1 male - 0.0833 nail - 0.0833 pail - 0.0909 pale - 0.0909 quail - 0.0667 rail - 0.1111 sail - 0.1429 sale - 0.0625 scale - 0.0909 shale - 0.0625 snail - 0.0667 stale - N/A tail - 0.0909 tale - 0.0667 trail - 0.0909 vale - 0.0833 veil - 0.0909 wail - 0.0556 wale - 0.0909 whale - 0.0769 yale - 0.1429
It turn out,the words JAIL-YALE, in the whole rhyming list, ARE THE TWO MOST RELATED WORDS COMPUTATIONALLY. So, Styles P (and Jada, I guess) chose the absolute most related words to rhyme (1-syllable, perfect rhymes). Important because it shows that ‘lyrical’ isn’t about using huge rhymes or whatever. It’s about being limited to a small space word-wise and still being clever and good.
Doing the same thing with the word ‘PRISON’ (finding a rhyming list and cross-referencing with the similairty scores) we get a score of 0.1429 for the rhyme: