Lyrical Masterminds


By: Connor Lenahan

Earlier today Vox shared an in-depth video that talks about some of the most technically gifted and intelligent rappers in the history of the genre. Tracing rhyme schemes from the beginning stages of rap, where the poetry was simplistic and easy to emulate, and progressing through today where evolutionary rhythms have allowed for deeply complex song structures.

This all led to a fascinating deep dive into why exactly some of the world’s favorite artists are so adored. While it was never explicit, it did prompt me to think about why people like Kendrick Lamar and Andre 3000 seem to make music that is sonically better than their peers. It’s because they are playing lyrical chess while the most popular people out are playing an entertaining game of checkers.

It makes sense why there are college courses based around lyrical analysis of albums like To Pimp A Butterfly and Aquemini, as they are rich with craftsmanship that is sadly rare amongst most rappers out today. It’s disappointing that Chance the Rapper isn’t featured because a couple of the lines on Coloring Book are brilliant this same way. Please enjoy this fascinating study.