On the first day of my first semester, in my very first class; an attractive thirty-something, wearing a conservative dress and a close-cut bob, walked into the classroom, towering on five-inch heels and carrying more designer bags than could fit on her arms. She dropped her things on the big desk in the front, snatched a CD from her purse, and fed it into the equipment setup that was standard in every room.
From the look of my beginning lyrics professor, I expected The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, maybe Carole King… instead, “Role Model” by Eminem blared out of every speaker mounted throughout the room.
“Greatest lyricist in the history of rhyme!” Boom! Mic drop!
There were probably better rappers out there at the time, my classmates quickly mentioned Jay-Z or Kanye West (there were also the expected comments about white ladies only listening to “white” hip-hop); but as she began to break down Eminem’s lyrics into beats, rhymes, and motifs (also referred to as motives, like in the video below), it was easy to see why she believed he was a master wordplay artist.
When I stumbled across the video below, I couldn’t believe how much it reminded me of my very first lesson on that hot day in August. All music lovers should take a moment to pay respect to some of the greatest rhymers of all time (Eminem included).
Rapping, deconstructed: The best rhymers of all time: