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Top Five Rappers Who Rhyme Words With Themselves

When discussing the laziness of rhyming a word with itself, we often miss the boat and will mistake what is actually an internal rhyme scheme as a case of rhyming a word with the same word (i.e., rhyming “orange” with “orange” because finding a word that rhymes with orange is difficult. Try it. But Eminem can show you if you need to cheat). A fine example of internal rhyme scheme where a casual ear misses and, therefore, complains about rappers not being able to rhyme creatively would be Kanye West’s “I Wonder”, where he rhymes:

“Do you even remember what the issue is? / You just trying to find where the tissue is / You can still be what you wish you is / It ain’t happened yet, and that’s what intuition is”

The trick here is that Kanye is not rhyming the word “is” with itself. He rhymes “issue” with “tissue” with “wish you” with “intuition.” Only Bill Clinton is guilty of wordplay with the word “is.” Kanye is often cited for this supposed hip hop transgression because he’s Kanye and it is easy to pick on Kanye.

The original master of internal rhyme is the greatest emcee of all time, Rakim. Heed his words on “My Melody”:

My unusual style will confuse you a while
If I were water, I’d flow in the Nile
So many rhymes you won’t have time to go for yours
Just because of applause I have to pause
Right after tonight is when I prepare
To catch another sucker-duck MC out there
My strategy has to be tragedy, catastrophe
And after this you’ll call me your majesty…

Yet plenty of rappers do rhyme a word with itself and so, here you have it: the top five examples of rappers who did, in fact, rhyme words with themselves.

5. Jay-Z — “Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix)”

“I’m not a businessman/I’m a business, man”

Maybe not the finest example, since he takes a word and splits it in two and engages in a bit of homophone play. A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning, and may differ in spelling. So this is bottom of the list of worst offenders and, although he does in fact rhyme “businessman” with “business, man”, the delivery makes it both acceptable and cogent.

4. Cam’ron — “Family Ties”

“From the back of the cop ride/To black on black, black when we cop rides”

One of the primary offenders in this category is Cam’Ron, however Killa does engage in good almost-homophonery (as opposed to homophony, which is actually a word but deals more with chord structuring than what this article discusses), pulling together “cop ride” (a police car) with “cop rides” (buying a car).

3. J. Cole — “G.O.M.D.”

“Man f*ck them n*ggas I come home and I don’t tell nobody
They gettin’ temporary dough and I don’t tell nobody
Lord will you tell me if I changed, I won’t tell nobody
I wanna go back to Jermaine, and I won’t tell nobody”

This is not the chorus of “G.O.M.D.” It is kind of the bridge, but there are no internal, discernible (see what I did there?) rhymes there (see what I do ….there?) and so it makes the list. You do not get to point out that “don’t” and “won’t” are internal rhymes because Cole should know better. “Home/dough” and “changed/Jermaine” are awarded zero points and may God have mercy on Cole’s soul. Rhymed.

2. Kanye West — “Kinda Like A Big Deal”

“Alligator soufflé, got it made Special Ed/Got head from a girl in special ed”

Guilty. Just guilty. I don’t care if “Special Ed” is a shout back in time. You rhymed special ed with itself and you get the second worst offense rating. Plus it’s pick on Yeezy season and everybody’s participating.

1. Waka Flocka Flame — “I Don’t Care (feat. Trey Songz)”

“Throwing money in the air like I don’t really care/Standing on the chair like I don’t really care/Got b*tches by the pair, I’m baller of the year/And haters everywhere, but I don’t really care/No I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t really care.”

Flocka gets all kinds of heat, and deservedly so, for only ever rhyming the n-word with itself. Give the man some credit. Here he rhymes “don’t really care” with “don’t really care” four times. Why? He doesn’t really care. It’s really that simple. I see “air” and “chair” but hey, I don’t really care. Flocka is a prime offender and has no lyrical prowess.

Now, dear readers, you should understand the difference between an internal rhyme scheme and actually rhyming a word with the very same word. Internal rhyme scheme, good; rhyming “really care” with “really care” is bad. It is indeed quite rare in hip hop for an emcee to actually rhyme the same word with itself, and most examples at least attempt at internal rhyme while using the same word/phrase at the end of the bar for style and pop cachet. Next time someone calls out this offense, rewind the track, listen for the internal rhyme, and then call this charge what it almost always is: the hip hop version of hipsters misapplying the term “irony.”

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