Rap Lyrics And The Elements Of Poetry

Essay, Research Paper


Poetry is language that is more intense than the ordinary language. The elements

of poetry make it recognizable that there are techniques and styles that add to this

intensity. These elements can be found in the lyrics of many rap songs, especially within

the lyrics of ?What?s It Gonna Be? by Busta Rhymes and Janet Jackson.

Rhyme is the most practiced element of poetry. It is defined as being the repetition

of sounds in language. You can find this repetition within many verses of ?What?s it

Gonna Be?. For example, in verse one ?Baby just tell me how you feel, we livin it and

just givin it to you real?. The two ending words ?feel? and ?real? gives the song a

rhyming effect. Another example of rhyme is in lines eight and nine of verse one. These

lines say, ? To my people who regulatin the dance floors, better step in yo business and

handle yours. ?Floors? and ?yours? also add the rhyming effect of this song. The rhyme

in ?What?s it Gonna Be? classifies this song as being somewhat poetic.

Poetry communicates experience, and experience comes to us largely through the

senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, and touching). Imagery is a mental and visual

impression that appeals to one of the five senses. Visual imagery is a sense thats

expressed throughout ?What?s it Gonna Be?. For example, verse two line twelve says,

?Paintin a picture I see it?s hot on the window?. ?See? is the keyword in line twelve that

shows visual imagery. Hearing is another sense that?s used frequently within this song.

For example, the chorus says ?Gonna make, gonna make, your body scream out yeah!?

This verse is very effective in expressing the sense of hearing. When it is read, the

exclamation mark brings this verse alive. If the exclamation mark wasn?t there the

keyword ?scream? still classifies this as an example of imagery.

Voice is another element of poetry that this song seems to have. The speakers in

?What?s it Gonna Be? are Busta Rhymes and Janet Jackson. The chorus is sung by Janet

and the verses are rapped by Busta Rhymes. The tone of ?What?s it Gonna Be? is

somewhat excited and fast paced. When you read the chorus it gives you an energetic

feeling. For example, ?Gonna make, gonna make, your body wet. Gonna make, gonna

make, your body scream out yeah!? When reading this the commas and exclamation mark

speeds up the pace of the song.

Theme is the overall idea expressed within a story, song, or poem. The primary

theme of ?What?s it Gonna Be? is sex. Busta Rhymes and Janet are telling the listeners of

this song all the things they can do sexually. An example of this is, ?And makin you

women say (ahh) baby come on?. Busta Rhymes has a somewhat ?cocky? approach to

sex. Janet Jackson also has this same ?cocky? approach. For example, ?Gonna make,

gonna make, your body cream?. When Janet refers to ?cream? she?s saying that she can

make someone reach their sexual peak. Overall this song?s theme has a very strong sexual


Figurative language is defined as words that mean something other than the actual

meaning. The majority of rap songs have a large amount of figurative language.

?What?s it Gonna Be? has a abundant amount of this. For example, ?full fledge hittin with

Busta Rhymes and Janet and you know its…?. The word ?hittin? means sex, so in other

words this verse is saying ?full fledge sex with Busta Rhymes and Janet?. Another

example of figurative language is, ?Making you people just wanna bounce and get busy?.

?Bounce? refers to leaving and ?get busy? means having sexual intercourse, so this verse

says ?making you people just wanna leave and have sex?.

In conclusion, ?What?s it Gonna Be? has very strong poetic elements. This song

had rhythm, theme, imagery, and voice. Actually I couldn?t find that many figures of

speech, such as a metaphor or a simile, but I could find some figurative language. Overall I

feel that this assignment made me realize how poetic some rap songs can be. This

assignment also made me become familiar at recognizing the elements of poetry.



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