I really like metaphors in rap music. They can either make or ruin a song, and, when used effectively, showcase the peak of creativity in hip hop lyricism. Often I especially enjoy them when I understand them for the first time after having heard them several times before. Since hip hop injects massive amounts of information so quickly, good metaphors are easy to miss. I think this is especially true in Christian hip hop, where listening to the lyrics involves intentional concentration on theological content, often at the expense of musical creativity. Metaphors are also fun when they’re personal. When you can relate to the city/concept/experience repped in the line.
Piper says that metaphors are used to explain a higher reality. So a metaphor is a smaller scale, or less glorious than the original. So, for example, we say that God is like a human father. This doesn’t mean that human fathers are Godlike. The metaphors go the other way. This is helpful for rap metaphors, because they serve to illustrate greater reality. Kimbo slice fights hard, just like we should fight hard against sin. This means that our fight against sin is harder and tougher than kimbo’s fight against weak fools. It does not mean that we should model our fight against sin by what Kimbo does in the ring. The metaphor goes the other way. Ok, I’m done.
I know that this post is different from what I usually have to say. I make no apologies; this is my blog. You don’t have to be here.
All of that aside, the point of this post was only to put up a few metaphors that I’ve enjoyed recently:
“…homey you gotta fight, go hard in the ring like ya boy kimbo slice” – ‘Fight’ by J’son For the record, I love references to Kimbo. And I love looking at Kimbo. Google him. He is an absolute beast. And I don’t even care for whatever kind of fighting he does.
“When life throws you curveballs, like, Nolan Ryan on ’em; won’t give up in the field, Detroit Lions on ’em” – “Kobe Bryant on ’em” by Sho Baraka (download the free mixtape with the song here: http://reachrecords.com/news/9221. See, this is what I was talking about. Detroit! That’s us! We know more than anyone how bad the Lions are. So it’s funny. One more:
“[I’m not sure what the first half of this line is, but], [God] traded for me but I don’t help the team, just like Iverson.” Dang. I don’t even remember what song this was in. Ok, well this post is going downhill fast. I feel bad for AI, because this is totally a shot at him. Ha. Well, it is kinda true. Give us Chauncey back!!
For the record, I love the ways that Weezy uses metaphors (usually, some of his are corny). Other secular rappers are great at using them too (see: eminem, ludacris). I just listen to more triple H than secular rap now.