Hip Hop: Shaping Communities
After branching off from the blues, hip hop and rap became a new popular style of poetry. When hip hop became popular, many people did not understand it, but this new genre has its own way of gaining the appreciation of new audiences. “The two main principles to keep in mind when listening to hip hop are the patterns and intricacies of rhyme and what is called the flow, the way the words fit with the music or beat” (Morris 223). Since this style was so new, it encouraged many listeners to keep an open mind and express poetry in a new way. Hip hop is a way to transform a poem from a page into a song, or a three dimensional experience.
Hip Hop, while using many poetic tools, focuses mainly on the use of rhyme and rhythm. Different artists use different types of rhyme, internal rhyme, slant rhyme, as well as classic end rhyme patterns. The use of these rhyming patterns and refrain help to speak about both traditional and unconventional themes (Morris 224). Since hip hop is a typically musical genre, artists but also take into account musical beats, vocalizations, delivery of the words and flow. Flow is most commonly used with improvisation, something hip hop artists rely heavily on when performing. Flow can also be used as “improvising rhymes to vocalized, established beats” (Morris 225). In the hip hop form, what the rapper says is just as important as how it flows and how it is presented.
Hip hop has had a major influence over the past twenty years, impacting various generations and shaping the way they think about certain topics. Even though hip hop started as a predominantly male genre, more female poets have gained popularity. Hip hop has shaped generations and communities and continues to do so today.
Finch Annie, and Kathrine Varnes.An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art. Ann Arbor: U. of Michigan Press, 2002.