oakhillsteeze said: What exactly is a lyrical rapper by your definition? Someone with a good message in their rap, someone with storytelling ability, someone with great wordplay, a combo of all three?? I feel like as soon as someone's branded as lyrical or not the masses stick with that forever.
It’s an abstract and largely oppressive designation, mostly applied to whichever rappers best manage to uphold a certain loosely defined conservative leaning set of cultural and aesthetic values while simultaneously telegraphing their intelligence and/or morality to listeners who are insecure about their own intelligence and/or morality.
If that paragraph got too lyrical for you then consider the case of UGK: Bun B is on record as saying that Pimp C was the main conceptual compass in UGK. Pimp came up with the song ideas and imo provided their emotional centers. Bun was more of a virtuosic work horse, putting together complicated word strings and letting them fall out of his mouth at just the right angle. I don’t say this to diminish his contributions at all - he’s a fantastic rapper in this capacity and was absolutely integral to the group - but I also can’t instantly think of any Bun line that shakes my soul the way a simple Pimp one like “She say she love me but all we do now is fuck and fight" can. And yet Bun is almost always held up as the "lyrical" half of the duo without question. Because his accent is less pronounced and because he says "bitch" less frequently and with fewer syllables and because as a writer he favors showboaty displays of complexity over more direct emotional content.
What’s funny is that this is the exact opposite of the word’s traditional definition. Classical lyricism puts beauty before wordiness, emotions before traditional intelligence. Of course fans of lyrically lyrical rap prefer rhyming dictionaries to actual dictionaries so I wouldn’t expect them to know all of that. And hey it definitely can be rhymed with miracle, spherical and empirical.
I love rap that’s the more prevalent definition of “lyrical,” but Noz nailed this.
Always go with your gut. Either your gut is right, or your gut is wrong and you need to learn from the mistake you’re about to make. Either way, you won’t wonder “what if.”