Rap is a wholly unique artform that elicits a powerful response. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that it stirs up something in the brain. Sometimes it’s the beats; sometimes it’s the lyrics. But oftentimes, it’s the way the rapper manipulates words, using rhythm, pronunciation, and emphasis to enhance the lyrics. But why do we like some rappers more than others? Your preference is most likely due to a rappers’ particularly rhyming style.
To explain the differences between styles, we’re heading back to English class thanks to the people at Vox (expert data storytellers who happen to love rap). In a fascinating video, they enlisted the help of rapper Open Mike Eagle to deconstruct the unique style of some of the world’s best rappers—and visualized his analysis to show us exactly how these artists play with their delivery and word choice.
Why is Eminem the master of multi-syllable rhymes? Why does Rakim see a song as a graph? It’s an impressive look at a number of rappers, from early hip hop to modern-day hitmakers. Even if you’re not the biggest rap fan, the breakdown clearly shows the talent, technique, and variety of styles that the masters use, revealing the talent it takes to differentiate yourself in the game.
See for yourself.