Cook'd and Bomb'd

Forums => Shelf Abuse => Topic started by: touchingcloth on August 01, 2020, 12:12:31 AM

Title: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: touchingcloth on August 01, 2020, 12:12:31 AM
Discuss.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Mister Six on August 01, 2020, 12:17:48 AM
No.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Urinal Cake on August 01, 2020, 12:28:58 AM
You're lucky if Dre produces his own beats let alone writes his own lyrics.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: chveik on August 01, 2020, 12:29:59 AM
are those two the only rappers you know?
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Astronaut Omens on August 01, 2020, 12:40:47 AM
You can love rap and poetry and still think that rap isn't poetry. The main difference for me is rhythm. Rappers flow over the top of a steady drum rhythm so they don't have to establish a primary, essential pulse, it's already there.. As such they have way more freedom to change their speech rhythms or throw in arrythmic interjections.
Poets, page or spoken word, have to work harder to establish a pulse- not necessarily anything as a rigid as a 4/4 beat but neverthless something to act as a rhythmic theme for a piece.

Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Sin Agog on August 01, 2020, 01:51:13 AM
I wandered lonely as a baller.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: bgmnts on August 01, 2020, 02:26:56 AM
You can love rap and poetry and still think that rap isn't poetry. The main difference for me is rhythm. Rappers flow over the top of a steady drum rhythm so they don't have to establish a primary, essential pulse, it's already there.. As such they have way more freedom to change their speech rhythms or throw in arrythmic interjections.
Poets, page or spoken word, have to work harder to establish a pulse- not necessarily anything as a rigid as a 4/4 beat but neverthless something to act as a rhythmic theme for a piece.

Do limericks count as poetry? They have a pretty easy rhythmic pattern.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Astronaut Omens on August 01, 2020, 03:18:09 AM
Yes, absolutely. The limerick is a perfect example of a poetic form, something different people have used again and again, a clear rhythnic design, a fixed number of syllables in each bar, a fixed rhyme scheme AABBA, even a fixed opening line, always a variation on "There was a young woman/man/person from..."  Most modern poetry doesn't look as rigid as that at first glance, but most of the stuff that's good is written by people who've spent a lot of time thinking about and practicing those old forms and then writing their own stuff informed by that. And I'd argue that they just can't be as flexible as rappers can without losing the poems sense of rhythmic momentum-wheras with rappers, because the drums are always there in the background, they can make more drastic switches in rhythm over a few lines. Read any good poetry out loud and you'll be able to detect rhythms, find some rap lyrics for a track you've not heard and try and read them out loud and you will get lost a bit more quickly. It's a different discipline.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: PlanktonSideburns on August 01, 2020, 05:36:38 AM
No they're something else
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: PlanktonSideburns on August 01, 2020, 05:38:31 AM
If the op's post is true, who is Pam Ayers equivalent to?
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: clingfilm portent on August 01, 2020, 05:50:31 AM
If the op's post is true, who is Pam Ayers equivalent to?

U-God
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: touchingcloth on August 01, 2020, 07:58:21 PM
are those two the only rappers you know?

No. It’s a David Brent quote from when he was trying to get on the good side of a black man.

I started this thread after watching a documentary about Hamilton - the show and the man - where an academic put forward his thesis that Lin-Manuel specifically and rap singers in general are the first artists since Shakespeare to do what he did, in terms of turning the language of commoners into poetry with mass appeal.

I don’t think I agree with that completely, but it’s an interesting thought. Arguably also a facile and unoriginal one.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: touchingcloth on August 01, 2020, 08:00:06 PM
If the op's post is true, who is Pam Ayers equivalent to?

Catullus, if her poem “Oh, I wish I’d sodomised and face fucked you” is anything to go by.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: thecuriousorange on August 02, 2020, 10:57:40 PM
I honestly misread the title as "The equivalent of Woolworths". I thought the thread would be about rappers that were popular, though mediocre, and have no place in this decade.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Glebe on August 03, 2020, 03:34:18 AM
David Starkey leaves thread furious.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: dissolute ocelot on August 03, 2020, 12:59:33 PM
Quote
There is a Thorn—it looks so old,
In truth, you’d find it hard to say
How it could ever have been young,
It looks so old and grey.
Not higher than a two years' child
It stands erect, this aged Thorn;
No leaves it has, no prickly points;
It is a mass of knotted joints,
A wretched thing forlorn.
It stands erect, and like a stone
With lichens is it overgrown.
And it gets worse. (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52996/the-thorn-56d231ea9f8d9) Find me any passage of Ice-T that's worse than about three quarters of Wordsworth's turgid doggerel.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: touchingcloth on August 03, 2020, 01:40:46 PM
I don't think it's at all an accident that the site Genius started life as Rap Genius.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Shit Good Nose on August 03, 2020, 04:41:22 PM
If the op's post is true, who is Pam Ayers equivalent to?

Oh, I wish I’d looked after me gold teeth [sucks teeth],
And spotted the mother fuckin' dangers beneath
All the fuckin' bullets I chewed,
And the sweet fuckin' food.
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me gold teeth [sucks teeth].

I wish I’d been that much more willin’
When I had more tooth there than fillin’
To give up gangbangin',
From respect to me n***as,
And to buy something else with me shillin’.

When I think of the bitches I licked
And the hos I picked,
Oily butts, big and little,
All that hard peanut brittle,
My conscience gets horribly pricked.

UZI MOTHERFUCKER!


etc.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: PlanktonSideburns on August 04, 2020, 10:06:47 AM
Brill
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: JaDanketies on August 04, 2020, 10:16:22 AM
you'd assume Wordsworth was always intended to be read and chewed over, whereas Ice T and Dre are always intended to be heard so you can bop your head to it. It's a bit like comparing looking at Van Gogh to a scenic tour of Iceland; they're two different mediums and they're appreciated in two different ways. Perhaps a better example would be comparing watching Breaking Bad to reading Dickens.

I don't think I'd call Ice T and Dre some of the greatest wordsmiths in hip hop, either. MF DOOM is lyrically superior. Not to slam Ice T or Dre, I like both of them. Wordsworth must've done something right so he must have some merit as a poet.

Even comparing MF DOOM's lyrics written down vs Wordsworth's poems, they're aiming for two different things. For instance DOOM is interested in getting as many rhymes in as many clever locations in a rhythmical manner as possible, and using metaphor, simile and other techniques to make jokes and say something funny. Wordsworth is about evoking some imagery and getting a rhyme in at the end of every line.

One for the money, two for the better green
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine
Told the knock-kneed ghetto queen, "Get the head fiend"
Tell him it's for Medellin and use oxyacetylene
Who needs airplay? It's all just hearsay
Leave a wig like it was having a bad hair day
Miracle glide master, asked him what's his secret
He said Shasta and turned to formaldehyde faster
When I'm home with my lady, I try to duke her daily
One night, she tried to flail me with her ukulele
Pack your heat, the Villain on the cover of Black Beat
With a bunch of crackers and some snack meat
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Marner and Me on August 04, 2020, 01:39:51 PM
Ice Cubes a better writer than Dre.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Mister Six on August 04, 2020, 03:06:18 PM
you'd assume Wordsworth was always intended to be read and chewed over, whereas Ice T and Dre are always intended to be heard so you can bop your head to it.

....

Even comparing MF DOOM's lyrics written down vs Wordsworth's poems, they're aiming for two different things. For instance DOOM is interested in getting as many rhymes in as many clever locations in a rhythmical manner as possible, and using metaphor, simile and other techniques to make jokes and say something funny. Wordsworth is about evoking some imagery and getting a rhyme in at the end of every line.

I don't think it's good to be too prescriptive about mediums/genres. Here's Block by clipping:

[Verse 1]
No parking Wednesdays at noon and the garbage lines the streets
A cereal box with cartoons and a price tag way too steep
And a fence that leans to the south around a yard with specks of grass
And a dog with more teeth than mouth chained up sifting through trash
That ice cream truck rolls too slow and the picture's black and white
And the cabin up back still ain't cold and it's mostly out at night
And there ain't no kids where it go and it don't play music right
And a kid with a hoodie looks old under the traffic light
That liquor store sells Patron but it just sits on the shelf
And that Steel Reserve in the back practically sells itself
And the Arab up at the front don't ever touch the stuff
Single Swishers and blunts in a package opened up
And a white tee XXXL make the men on the corners look tough

[Verse 2]
And the men on the corners have lines and the women walk by straight
Bold black and red for sale signs posted up on the gates
Of every other Victorian with wood over the windows
And someone converses about Jordans while wearing last year's Timbos
And a Chinese takeout menu decorates the gates with symbols
And the cats are feral and fat and unreasonably nimble
The glass is full to the top no cans or bottles in it
Big bags being dragged down the street clanging and leaking liquid
Expired tags on a Buick with one rim all in chrome
And an older woman in stretch pants shuffles along too slow
Pieces of flowers and a poem falling off a flickering light pole
And a picture of someone it seems somebody used to know
And a buzz in the air from a congregation of telephone wires

[Verse 3]
And on the wires are birds sitting tiny and black
And tennis shoes from the 90's looking fine and intact
And a cable awkwardly hanging never reaching a house
And below it a stained up and soggy formerly leather couch
And rainbow patterns of oil pooling in potholed cement
And a screen door with no hinges hanging hopelessly bent
And a Bentley dressing the cover of a car magazine
And a Price Is Right crowd cheering on a television screen
With a big bat jutting out and the color mostly green
And a stove where one burner works and the oven should be cleaned
And coupons clipped on the table waiting to be redeemed
And a siren sings long and deep and the chopper's double meaned
And the median is asleep so to wake and walk at strange things   

...which also messes with Astronaut Omens' belief that rap lyrics have no obvious inherent metre.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: JaDanketies on August 04, 2020, 03:31:10 PM
I don't think it's good to be too prescriptive about mediums/genres. Here's Block by clipping:

banger. Definitely evocative. Better than some shit about why cows stand and stare.


Did you know Clipping. and MF DOOM both try to avoid the first-person perspective in their music?  There's no doubt they put about as much effort into their lyrics as you might expect from Wordsworth.

Maybe OP using Dre and Ice T as their examples muddies the water a little bit - I mean, Dre is one thing, but Ice T? Nobody ever congratulated Ice T on his great lyricism. I like his songs and Bodycount are surprisingly listenable but I don't think anyone pores over his lyrics
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Mister Six on August 04, 2020, 03:48:52 PM
Did you know Clipping. and MF DOOM both try to avoid the first-person perspective in their music?  There's no doubt they put about as much effort into their lyrics as you might expect from Wordsworth.

Absolutely, although DOOM cheats a bit by just referring to himself in the third person!
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: BeardFaceMan on August 04, 2020, 03:55:28 PM
banger. Definitely evocative. Better than some shit about why cows stand and stare.


Did you know Clipping. and MF DOOM both try to avoid the first-person perspective in their music?  There's no doubt they put about as much effort into their lyrics as you might expect from Wordsworth.

Maybe OP using Dre and Ice T as their examples muddies the water a little bit - I mean, Dre is one thing, but Ice T? Nobody ever congratulated Ice T on his great lyricism. I like his songs and Bodycount are surprisingly listenable but I don't think anyone pores over his lyrics

Ice T is a far better lyricist than Dre, mainly because Dre had most of his raps written for him. Great flow, though.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Astronaut Omens on August 04, 2020, 04:24:29 PM
I don't think it's good to be too prescriptive about mediums/genres. Here's Block by clipping:


...which also messes with Astronaut Omens' belief that rap lyrics have no obvious inherent metre.

I didn't say they can't have one, just that they don't need one (because the beat's there in the background). Do a syllable count on each line of the DOOM verse above, it's completely different in every line. The term 'flow' surely is all about the skill with which rappers fluidly change rhythms over a solid unchanging beat.

The DOOM verse is also a good example of what make rap a distinct genre in 2 other ways:
Poets have often used internal rhymes in the past, but there's never been a style of written poetry that made so much use of internal rhymes, eg. the "ee" sound in the first four lines of the Doom verse.
And-there's never really been a genre of poetry where "I am amazing/the best/the greatest" was the subject matter, but loads of rappers do this.  B-Y- R.O.N, if I wasn't then why would you say I am.

Something else, so many great rappers like Rakim and Raekwon are good on paper but their records are good because of their distinctive vocal presence- even a weak Raekwon verse sounds impressive I think because of his voice. I don't think even within performance poetry there's anyone who uses their voice to appeal in the same way.

This issue is obviously loaded because some people (on both sides of the argument) take the issue of whether rap is poetry or not to be a measure of rap's value. But this argument is confused, I think, because it assumes that poetry is itself inherently of value. But this isn't true, and limericks, which were raised earlier, are a good way of thinking about this- if you come up with a rude limerick in five minutes, it will definitely be a poem because it's following an established poetic set of rules- that doesn't mean it'll be any good.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: bgmnts on August 04, 2020, 04:29:26 PM
Could Ice T or Dr Dre rap Wordsworth lyrics to a beat? Or vice versa, i.e could an orator recite rap lyrics in poetic meter.

Furthermore, if Dr Dre wrote the line "pussy tighter than conditions of us black folk" then he is indeed the king.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Mister Six on August 04, 2020, 04:39:46 PM
Words

Aye, fair enough.

EDIT: although...

And-there's never really been a genre of poetry where "I am amazing/the best/the greatest" was the subject matter, but loads of rappers do this.  B-Y- R.O.N, if I wasn't then why would you say I am.

...seems irrelevant.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Astronaut Omens on August 04, 2020, 04:42:39 PM
Could Ice T or Dr Dre rap Wordsworth lyrics to a beat?

Yes, but it wouldn't sound very good. It would sound stilted. Vanilla Ice was often made fun of by other rappers as been particularly weak, and that's because his flow was waaaay too rigid. Think about how almost every line of Ice Ice Baby stops dead, leaving a gap before the next line: "Grillin' MCs like a pound of BACON. (pause)"- a better rapper would have danced around the pause a little bit, leaving a bit of suspense about whether the line was over, whether another bit was going to come in.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: touchingcloth on August 04, 2020, 07:51:15 PM
Maybe OP using Dre and Ice T as their examples muddies the water a little bit - I mean, Dre is one thing, but Ice T? Nobody ever congratulated Ice T on his great lyricism. I like his songs and Bodycount are surprisingly listenable but I don't think anyone pores over his lyrics

The title is a jokey reference to The Office:

Quote
You see all these white, middle-class fuddy-duddies going “we’ve got to find the new equivalent”. And they’re looking in Oxford and Cambridge. Dr Dre, Ice-T. They’re the equivalent of Wordsworth.

Could have titled the thread: Rap & Poetry: Discuss.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Smeraldina Rima on August 04, 2020, 08:12:06 PM
Vanilla Ice was often made fun of by other rappers as been particularly weak, and that's because his flow was waaaay too rigid. Think about how almost every line of Ice Ice Baby stops dead, leaving a gap before the next line: "Grillin' MCs like a pound of BACON. (pause)"- a better rapper would have danced around the pause a little bit, leaving a bit of suspense about whether the line was over, whether another bit was going to come in.

This reminds me - inversely - of John Clare's parody of Wordsworth's enjambment in "SONNET AFTER THE MANNER OF XXXXX":

I sought my little walking stick that
Stood behind the door oth office and
From the peg by the wall I reached my hat
& started to view the expanse of air sea land
Of the visibly created world Business
Had long confined me to its trammels so
I felt the delight more keenly In a dress
Of mightiest magnificance did flow
The garments of the universe The sky
Was like a broad blue looking glass & O
The joys of creations myriads was excessive Why
I saw the oxen like Philosophers repose
Profoundly by the mighty depths & I
Would have plunged into its mysterys but O my cloaths
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Inspector Norse on August 05, 2020, 12:55:57 PM
Yes, but it wouldn't sound very good. It would sound stilted. Vanilla Ice was often made fun of by other rappers as been particularly weak, and that's because his flow was waaaay too rigid. Think about how almost every line of Ice Ice Baby stops dead, leaving a gap before the next line: "Grillin' MCs like a pound of BACON. (pause)"- a better rapper would have danced around the pause a little bit, leaving a bit of suspense about whether the line was over, whether another bit was going to come in.

Though strangely this lazy, slow, barely-rapped style is very common and hugely popular now, what gets called ”mumble rap” though that name is misleading. Not sure Vanilla Ice fits, though; I remember a documentary where Ice-T (I think) said one big reason Van Winkel got no respect was that he pretended to be from ”the street” when he obviously wasn’t.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: BeardFaceMan on August 05, 2020, 01:01:22 PM
Though strangely this lazy, slow, barely-rapped style is very common and hugely popular now, what gets called ”mumble rap” though that name is misleading. Not sure Vanilla Ice fits, though; I remember a documentary where Ice-T (I think) said one big reason Van Winkel got no respect was that he pretended to be from ”the street” when he obviously wasn’t.

Vanilla Ice was from the street and was a respected MC, then he sold out and went pop, that's why everyone hated him.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: flotemysost on August 05, 2020, 11:07:20 PM
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me gold teeth [sucks teeth],
And spotted the mother fuckin' dangers beneath
All the fuckin' bullets I chewed,
And the sweet fuckin' food.
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me gold teeth [sucks teeth].

I wish I’d been that much more willin’
When I had more tooth there than fillin’
To give up gangbangin',
From respect to me n***as,
And to buy something else with me shillin’.

When I think of the bitches I licked
And the hos I picked,
Oily butts, big and little,
All that hard peanut brittle,
My conscience gets horribly pricked.

UZI MOTHERFUCKER!


etc.

Fantastic.

In my first year at uni, we had a seminar in the English language module that included some brief analysis of Jay-Z's lyrics. I enjoyed it and I could see the value in it, but I remember thinking at the time that it did almost feel like a parody of everything the Daily Express probably thinks about modern snowflake Mickey Mouse PC gone mad degrees.

Wonder if the students are now analysing that corned beef poem.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Noodle Lizard on August 07, 2020, 08:52:56 PM
I went down a GeniusLyrics wormhole the other day and noticed that Eminem is a relatively active contributor (although his comments and insights into his own lyrics are often pretty banal - "I was on drugs when I wrote this bit").
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Astronaut Omens on August 10, 2020, 12:04:58 PM
This reminds me - inversely - of John Clare's parody of Wordsworth's enjambment in "SONNET AFTER THE MANNER OF XXXXX":

I sought my little walking stick that
Stood behind the door oth office and
From the peg by the wall I reached my hat
& started to view the expanse of air sea land
Of the visibly created world Business
Had long confined me to its trammels so
I felt the delight more keenly In a dress
Of mightiest magnificance did flow
The garments of the universe The sky
Was like a broad blue looking glass & O
The joys of creations myriads was excessive Why
I saw the oxen like Philosophers repose
Profoundly by the mighty depths & I
Would have plunged into its mysterys but O my cloaths


It's really nice to see this comically bitchy side to Clare, because I usually think of him as a sort of doomed see-er who was too good for this world
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: Astronaut Omens on August 10, 2020, 01:23:04 PM
Fantastic.

In my first year at uni, we had a seminar in the English language module that included some brief analysis of Jay-Z's lyrics. I enjoyed it and I could see the value in it, but I remember thinking at the time that it did almost feel like a parody of everything the Daily Express probably thinks about modern snowflake Mickey Mouse PC gone mad degrees.

Wonder if the students are now analysing that corned beef poem.

Fantastic.

In my first year at uni, we had a seminar in the English language module that included some brief analysis of Jay-Z's lyrics. I enjoyed it and I could see the value in it, but I remember thinking at the time that it did almost feel like a parody of everything the Daily Express probably thinks about modern snowflake Mickey Mouse PC gone mad degrees.

Wonder if the students are now analysing that corned beef poem.

One of the popular anthologies used by students, Rivkin's 'Literary Theory' contains (in one edition) a huge scholarly discussion of Ice Cube's 'The Ni**a Ya Love to Hate" from Adam Krims "Rap Music and the Poetics of Identity". What's interesting here is just how much work it takes Rivkin to describe a dense, collage-like track and the way the vocals work within it before he can even begin to analyse the sense of the words. Even just talking about the words, there are questions about whether all the different voices on the track constitute part of the lyrics or not.

About the relationship between English Lit degrees and stuff outside of the traditional canon:
  Ideally an English literature degree would give people a knowledge of the shape of the canon, some transcendent experiences with great art, some skills with which to make their own art, and a heightened ability to get what's going on with ALL the things people do with words. The skills students learn in moving from medieval Christian poetry to 18th century satirical magazine to modernist novels should in turn make them more adept at negotiating the contemporary supermarket of words and ideas. The student who's been paying attention should be able to get what's going on with rap lyrics, jokes, political speeches, shampoo adverts, newspaper opinion pieces, all of it. They should be able to spot rhetorical tricks like chiasmus a mile off. They should be better at thinking about whether an edgy, taboo-busting joke is actually a bit of reactionary lying in disguise.

There are obviously contradictions going on here, since the practical and necessarily debunking knowledge of what techniques writers in the past used, and why they wrote what they did doesn't necessarily sit easily with a conservative-canonical art worship. This is the point on which the Daily Express type journalism you're talking about is confused. There's an assumption that English department should exist just to maintain the great texts, but studying something isn't necessarily to revere it. In fact, I tend to think that people who get annoyed at students studying pop lyrics, or sitcoms for example haven't really ever considered how those things get made, that they even have authors.
Title: Re: Dr Dre, Ice T: they're the equivalents of Wordsworth
Post by: touchingcloth on August 15, 2020, 09:57:56 PM
One of the popular anthologies used by students, Rivkin's 'Literary Theory' contains (in one edition) a huge scholarly discussion of Ice Cube's 'The Ni**a Ya Love to Hate" from Adam Krims "Rap Music and the Poetics of Identity". What's interesting here is just how much work it takes Rivkin to describe a dense, collage-like track and the way the vocals work within it before he can even begin to analyse the sense of the words. Even just talking about the words, there are questions about whether all the different voices on the track constitute part of the lyrics or not.

About the relationship between English Lit degrees and stuff outside of the traditional canon:
  Ideally an English literature degree would give people a knowledge of the shape of the canon, some transcendent experiences with great art, some skills with which to make their own art, and a heightened ability to get what's going on with ALL the things people do with words. The skills students learn in moving from medieval Christian poetry to 18th century satirical magazine to modernist novels should in turn make them more adept at negotiating the contemporary supermarket of words and ideas. The student who's been paying attention should be able to get what's going on with rap lyrics, jokes, political speeches, shampoo adverts, newspaper opinion pieces, all of it. They should be able to spot rhetorical tricks like chiasmus a mile off. They should be better at thinking about whether an edgy, taboo-busting joke is actually a bit of reactionary lying in disguise.

There are obviously contradictions going on here, since the practical and necessarily debunking knowledge of what techniques writers in the past used, and why they wrote what they did doesn't necessarily sit easily with a conservative-canonical art worship. This is the point on which the Daily Express type journalism you're talking about is confused. There's an assumption that English department should exist just to maintain the great texts, but studying something isn't necessarily to revere it. In fact, I tend to think that people who get annoyed at students studying pop lyrics, or sitcoms for example haven't really ever considered how those things get made, that they even have authors.

Posts like this are one of the reasons I love CaB.

I’m a science more than arts guy by education, and to my shame I’ve referred to English lit as a Mickey Mouse subject in the past, but the more I read things like this the more I realise what a daft young prick I was.