Hip hop can deal with emotions sort of but it’s not a strength. Nas’s song about dancing with his dead mother made me cry but that is neither here nor there. Moms make me cry in general. Whatever. It’s an exception. Hip hop is style and virtuosity.

Bach’s counterpoint produces linearity by complicating the relations between interdependent sounds. Bach is not what you listen to when you need a good cry. Bach is a mathematician; he puts notes in the right places.

DOOM uses rhyme like a counterpoint to synthesize style and skill. The rhymes seem too tightly wound, too codependent, too demanding to proceed, and then suddenly something springs free and the track moves along again. “Catch a throatful/From the fire vocal/Ash and molten glass like/Eyjafjallajökull/Volcano out of Iceland/Go conquer and destroy the rap world like the white men.” Throatful and vocal slant rhyme two syllables, but the addition of “catch, ash, glass” support the end rhymes so that in first three bars 1/3 of all syllables produced rhyme. Not to mention the assonance of the long “O” in throatful and vocal with molten. But then! And this is an example of DOOM at his finest: Eyjafjallajökull is a real thing, a volcano in Iceland; the use of this foreign, mysterious, multisyllabic word unites the first four bars and is itself an example of DOOM’s style-in-excess. Every syllable of Eyjafjallajökull rhymes with one in the previous three bars. This means that in DOOM’s first four bars, well over half of the syllables rhyme. Not to mention, his lexicon is refreshing and demands an active audience. That’s sort of what style is. Then “Eyjafjallajökull” calls forth it’s next line, “Volcano out of Iceland,” which defines the word itself. Content calls form into being as form calls content. DOOM then switches the style and lets some air in with an easy one syllable rhymed punchline, “Go and conquer the rap world like the white men.” The irony of this line in this context is not lost on this writer and that’s why I chose it.


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