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Stupid nobels -- Nobel for lit given to Bob Dylan :)

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Kyriakos, Oct 13, 2016.

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  1. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    The Nobel prizes are sort of a mockery of prizes these days, right? I mean, ever since Obama has won a Nobel peace prize I haven't been able to take these things very seriously.

    Having said that, Bob Dylan has contributed a great deal to literature, even if his main outlet is music. I have no idea who else was in the running, but at first glance I respect this decision and it seems worthy.
     
  2. JohannaK

    JohannaK Heroically Clueless

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    They have always been, kinda sorta. But since they give away so much dosh people care more about them.
     
  3. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    Objectively, I'm afraid.

    That isn't a rap song. Did you mean Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z? It's hard to describe it as lyrically "powerful," though.

    That's a bit better, but it clearly isn't the best. I highlighted the rhyme schemes to show why:

    "Visualizing the realism of life and actuality
    **** who's the baddest, a person's status depends on salary
    And my mentality is money orientated
    I'm destined to live the dream for all my peeps who never made it
    Cause yeah, we were beginners in the hood as five percenters
    But something must have got in us cause all of us turned to sinners
    Now some are resting in peace and some are sitting in San Quentin
    Others such as myself are trying to carry on tradition
    Keeping this schweppervescent street ghetto essence inside us
    Cause it provides us with the proper insight to guide us
    Even though, we know somehow we all gotta go
    But as long as we leaving thieving we'll be leaving with some kind of dough
    So
    , and to that day we expire and turn to vapors
    Me
    and my capers'll be somewhere stacking plenty papers
    Keeping it real, packing steel, getting high -
    Cause life's a ***** and then you die."


    Compare that to what I consider the best verse in hip-hop (all of the non-red colors overlap to some extent with the main rhyme scheme and thus appear smaller than they actually are):

    "Cause see, they call me a menace and if the shoe fits I'll wear it
    But if it don't, then ya'll swallow the truth, grin and bear it
    Now who's the king of these rude ludicrous lucrative lyrics?
    Who could inherit the title, put the youth in hysterics?
    Using his music to steer it, sharing his views and his merits
    But there's a huge interference: they're saying, "you shouldn't hear it."
    Maybe it's hatred I spew, maybe it's food for the spirit
    Maybe it's beautiful music I made for you to just cherish
    But I'm debated, disputed, hated and viewed in America
    as a ************* drug addict, like you didn't experiment?
    Now now, that's when you start to stare at who's in the mirror
    and see yourself as a kid again, and you get embarrassed
    And I got nothing to do but make you look stupid as parents
    who ******* do good, it's too bad you couldn't do good at marriage!
    And do you have any clue what I had to do to get here I don't
    think you do so stay tuned and keep your ears glued to the stereo
    Cause here we go
    "


    Aside from the sheer quantity of rhymes, which verse do you think demonstrates better storytelling?


    Being on-topic isn't really enforced afaik (this isn't an RD thread).

    You haven't heard Cleanin' Out My Closet? Guilty Conscience? When I'm Gone? Stan?!

    Incidentally, he also remade Children's Story as a diss track called Cani[female dog], if you want a more direct comparison.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
  4. yung.carl.jung

    yung.carl.jung Hey Bird! I'm Morose & Lugubrious

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    N.Y. State of Mind isn't a rap song? Are you okay? :lol:

    It's the best track on the album in my opinion. Great imagery.

    Now I like Jigga as much as the next guy, but your analysis is incredibly reductionist, as if rhyme scheme was everything that made a song lyrically great. To me it's not even close to the most important factor...

    Prose, concise and accurate usage of words

    Imagery, Symbolism, how (effectively) does a rapper manage to encapsulate ideas with words

    Flow, of words, not the actual performance of the rapper

    Last of all impetus, the force that makes something happen (within you), relateability, substance over mere lyrical cleverness

    Those are all far more important than having a big vocabulary and having crazy rhyme schemes and meter (as much as I love that, trust me)

    Also sorry, I really don't care for Eminem. Of course he's a talented lyricist, I just don't listen to his music anymore and don't feel knowledgeable enough to discuss his work.

    I think Nas' track is so, so much better in terms of storytelling, because there is an actual, graspable story being told. Life's a ***** is still not the best storytelling track on Illmatic though, that's N.Y. State of Mind for sure.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
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  5. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    Was thinking of the Billy Joel song. :shifty:

    Also, take that video down before the mods see it.

    That was Eminem on a Jay-Z song, actually. Imho very few rappers even approach Eminem in terms of lyricism (by any of your standards).

    Why not? You don't get chills down your spine when you hear a series of words being rhymed over and over again in ways you never imagined? This is one of the great joys of rap music for me.

    I gave numerous examples of Eminem's storytelling.

    Listen to Renegade and tell me the flow by either rapper isn't better than anything Nas has done.

    I'm assuming you listened to either Infinite or Em's post-Relapse work. That's the only way you could possibly make this comparison.
     
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  6. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    That's a great track, added to my work playlist, thanks

    edit: video now taken down, I guess there were a couple f-bombs in it. But it's rap, so what do you expect
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
  7. schlaufuchs

    schlaufuchs La Femme Moderne

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    Don't forget other qualities of verse:

    prosody, scansion, alliteration, assonance, enjambment, parallelism, etc.

    N.Y. State of Mind is excellent. The beat is, perhaps with the exception of Halftime, the best on the album. That baseline is iconic. One Time 4 Your Mind is another great example of Nas' lyrical brilliance. The rhythm of his flow in that song is great. I haven't formally scanned it, but it has this dactylic quality to it that sounds great and you don't hear a whole lot in hip hop.

    It's not just the rhyming, which itself is fantastic, it's the enjambment, it's hard to find a good stopping off point, the each line bleeds into the next. Plus the rhythmic/metric qualities are great. For example all of his rhymes on [ɑɪ] are done within cretics: 'cause a crime; beat a rhyme; 3 to 9's; Free the mind; know the time; older mind. (long syllables bolded). Then at the end of that section he switches it up. Onto the cretic he adds a long syllable that rhymes: (con)trol a 9, fine, and he finishes the passage with a molossus in which the final two syllables follow that [ɑɪ] sound that he's been playing around the whole time: (repre)sent mine I'm. It's a nice little coda on which to segue into the next section of his verse. It's just a brilliant bit of poetics and illmatic is full of these.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
  8. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Pfft, give me good old fashioned three-chords-and-also-yelling any day of the week.
     
  9. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    ^They should give Bush the nobel?

    (not W, and not the Peace one ;) )
     
  10. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    I should have seen this coming; it's not that far behind thinking bars of color on a canvas constitute art.

    He was doing it on purpose?!? That annoyed me to no end.

    I bet you could be convinced that having a bowl movement constitutes art as well.

    (Also, weren't you complaining about people taking things from other contexts and using them for their own purposes? In actual hip-hop circles they talk about 'bars,' 'rhymes,' and 'flow.')
     
  11. yung.carl.jung

    yung.carl.jung Hey Bird! I'm Morose & Lugubrious

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    You're welcome, glad you like it. I took it down myself after Mouthwash's hint, already have too many warnings anyway :D

    I know it was 'Em on a Jay-Z song, I just liked Jay-Zs verse more. Really don't feel the flow and enunciation on Em's verse, but that's personal preference.

    >Why not? You don't get chills down your spine when you hear a series of words being rhymed over and over again in ways you never imagined?

    I do, but it's not the only reason why I appreciate rap songs.. Seems like you are purposefully misunderstanding me.

    >Listen to Renegade and tell me the flow by either rapper isn't better than anything Nas has done.

    What do you strive to achieve saying smth like that? I already stated that I think so. I guess it must be hard to accept that people have widely different opinions when you believe quality in poetry to be objective :lol:

    >I'm assuming you listened to either Infinite or Em's post-Relapse work. That's the only way you could possibly make this comparison

    I've listened to Infinite, Slim Shady LP, Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem Show, Encore and nothing after iirc.

    >I should have seen this coming; it's not that far behind thinking bars of color on a canvas constitute art.

    You sound like the smug soccer mum "my-5-year-old-can-do-this-too" type :D You do not get to be the arbiter of what does and what does not constitute art. Just because you think abstract expressionism isn't art doesn't make it not-art. You can say it's "bad art", sure, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that doesn't change the fact that the artist intended it to be art.

    I think Owen's criteria are completely valid - If they apply to literary analysis of poetry how the hell do they not apply to rap lyrics?
     
  12. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    I'm not. I just don't understand why someone would favor a mediocre rhyme scheme over one of the best rhyme schemes in the hip-hop, unless they didn't really care for rhyming in the first place.

    You think Nas has better *storytelling* than songs like When I'm Gone, Stan, or The Way I Am?

    I am, kind of. But does all art really deserve to be lumped together?

    Because rap is music. Different medium.

    Owen seems like one of those people who speak of "economic equality" and "microaggressions" but have never had a real conversation with a minority cab driver. No one listens to rap because of some weird, esoteric poetry devices, unless they're a white college student with an inflated ego who thinks he can refute racism by finding 'colored music' to be sophisticated.
     
  13. JohannaK

    JohannaK Heroically Clueless

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    How can you have the guts to say that rap song lyrics belong to a different medium than poetry when you are discussing exclusively about rhyme and rhythm?

    More concerning, why do you accuse someone of elitism and racism out of the blue?
     
  14. yung.carl.jung

    yung.carl.jung Hey Bird! I'm Morose & Lugubrious

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    >I'm not. I just don't understand why someone would favor a mediocre rhyme scheme over one of the best rhyme schemes in the hip-hop, unless they didn't really care for rhyming in the first place.

    Actually I never said that I favored Nas' rhyme scheme - It's clearly less complicated. Whether that means bad or not.. Up to the individual. I think Em's is more sophisticated for sure

    >You think Nas has better *storytelling* than songs like When I'm Gone, Stan, or The Way I Am?

    Yes, how often do you need to ask?

    >Because rap is music. Different medium.

    We are analyzing lyrics. So no, not a different medium. It's literally written poetry. Beat poets were both poets and rappers, too. Why make this arbitrary distinction?

    Even Homer was of the opinion that poetry should be recited. He did not make this arbitrary distinction either. In either case, you're wrong.

    >I am, kind of. But does all art really deserve to be lumped together?

    Only kind of? What is that even supposed to mean?

    >Owen seems like one of those people who speak of "economic equality" and "microaggressions" but have never had a real conversation with a minority cab driver. No one listens to rap because of some weird, esoteric poetry devices, unless they're a white college student with an inflated ego who thinks he can refute racism by finding 'colored music' to be sophisticated.

    That is an embarrassing amount of projection and ad hominem and I advise you to just delete that part of your post to save face :lol:

    Of course I am not at all surprised that you'd pull n argument like "other people don't genuinely enjoy things, they only do it for image.

    Obviously you're the only one with a genuine love for rap music and also the one with objectively the best taste! :crazyeye:
     
  15. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    Translation: Mouthwash thinks black people are too dumb to understand these things.

    I think Eminem is a great rapper but I don't like him. I can't stand the sound of his voice. It just annoys me.

    My top three favorite rappers are Big L, Guru, and Rakim. Objectively speaking Rakim is probably the greatest rapper of all time. None of the stuff you guys are discussing right now ever would have dropped if it weren't for Paid In Full.
     
  16. schlaufuchs

    schlaufuchs La Femme Moderne

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    Rakim is very very good. And it's impossible to deny his influence on rap style and technique. Paid in Full is, as you noted, the single most important album in the history of hip hop. But I really just like illmatic a lot more. I just like Nas's storytelling and wordplay more, and his flow is imo more interesting to listen to. In the same way that, if you're talking jazz, Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come is probably the single most important album in the history of Jazz, but if I'm sitting down picking out a jazz album to listen to, I'm probably rather going to pick something like Head Hunters. The Shape of Jazz to Come is an undeniably great album, and Head Hunters 100% wouldn't exist without the Free Jazz that Coleman quite literally invented, but it's also just kind of mentally exhausting to listen to. And if you're asking me to talk about jazz, I'm far more likely to talk about Chameleon or Miles Davis' Pharaoh's Dance or *****es Brew than I am, say, Lonely Woman. Rakim's sort of the same for me when it comes to hip hop.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2016
  17. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    But Slim, what if you win (the nobel)?
     
  18. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    Yeah, I mean I'm not going to sit and argue you're wrong to like Illmatic more. I like plenty of stuff more than Paid In Full - I actually like both Follow The Leader and Don't Sweat The Technique more. That Rakim is one of my favorite rappers and also, in my opinion anyway, the greatest ever is purely coincidental. My favorite part of hip-hop is the cadence- how the verse interacts with the beat. I don't care about rhyming so much.

    I can't speak to the jazz stuff, I'm far from an aficionado when it comes to that.
     
  19. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    John Hodgman has some thoughts on the Dylan/Noble thing, which I meant to post last week,

    The tl;dr is, whether or not the lyrics to a song can be read as poetry, the lyrics are not the song, the song is the performance; the song does not need to be judged by the standards of literature, and indeed can't be fairly judged by such standards; that this award, even while elevating a particular work or artist, demeans the medium as a whole by reducing it to an annex of "real" literature; the great irony of all this being that Dylan was one of the people who decided for himself that a guy and his guitar could make art long before the culture at large gave him permission to do so.

    This perhaps doesn't apply to the discussion about hip-hop, which you could argue is self-consciously literary in a way which other forms of popular music tend not to be, but none the less, something to consider.
     
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  20. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    It is true that usually hip-hop style music is all about the words, which is why often there are bands who just use samples (from other people) for the music.
    In my view it doesn't help an award to spread it to pretty much any type of art which has words. Goethe's poems have been used in classical music, but it would be pretty stupid to have a yearly music ceremony give Goethe an award for influence on music.

    The following may (under some circumstances) be deemed as more impressive/important etc than the poem alone, but it is a different work, it isn't the poem itself:

     

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