The Rhyme Renaissance

from by Baba Brinkman

/

lyrics

This time we live in is a Rhyme Renaissance,
And this history lesson is five minutes long;
And if hiphop is bringin' it, fine, let's get it on,
And consider it official when I finish this song.

My goal is to redefine the whole history of rhyme,
‘Cause the only way to free the soul is to free the mind,
And no wisdom as old as this should be confined
To total mystery, so we’ll just read the signs
And DaVinci codes, and try to see the science
In this linguistically-composed pristine design.
It goes deep – suppose we could just rewind
To when we first rose to our feet and left the trees behind;
We’d see tribes of bipedal australopithecines
Trying to survive, as species divide and interbreed,
Attending to basic needs, like safe places to sleep,
Raising seeds and making sure they had things to eat,
So they started solving problems by evolving language genes.
It probably started from the need to follow wildebeest herds,
Or the need to distinguish between weeds and herbs,
Or from mimicking the mimicking screams of red and green birds.
It’s a chicken/egg riddle: Which came first,
Plain speech or verse? ‘Cause as long as there’s been words,
There’s been awareness of relationships between words,
And when rhymes connect them, new meanings emerge.
See the history of languages has been researched
By linguists and traced back to a singular birth,
So the ability to speak rhythmically and sing works
To intrinsically link every human being on this earth.

This time we live in is a Rhyme Renaissance,
And this history lesson is five minutes long;
And if hiphop is bringin' it, fine, let's get it on,
And consider it official when I finish this song.

But I wonder what percent of what happens is meant to happen,
‘Cause in the genesis of rap, what has to be factored in
Is that this chapter was invented by black men,
And all human beings are descended from Africans
Who spread across the map in every different direction,
And adapted to every place under the sun,
So their faces started changing as the race was run,
Just as every language came from the same mother tongue,
Since each one directly relates to another one.
From the open plainsmen to the rainforest dwellers,
Every people needed designated storytellers
To pass on their culture orally from the elders,
And rhythm and repetition and rhymes and refrains
Allow performers to organize story lines in their brains,
And memorize more kinds of important signs and names,
And make changes based on the needs of each performance.
Feats of endurance are needed to describe deeds of enormous
Historical importance, like the Trojan/Greek war,
And the horse used to breach the fortress; in the aforementioned
Tradition of reciting, writing was a natural invention
For kings to catalogue things, with practical intentions,
And the offspring, of course, was the birth of the author,
From Homer to Virgil to the immortal words of Chaucer,
The father of modern verse and first formal border-crosser.

This time we live in is a Rhyme Renaissance,
And this history lesson is five minutes long;
And if hiphop is bringin' it, fine, let's get it on,
And consider it official when I finish this song.

But the birth of the author was also the birth of the ego;
Celebrity seems to bring the worst out of people,
Especially with the invention of the printing press,
Which instantly made poetry so much less intimate,
‘Cause suddenly poems were mostly written to be read
Alone, instead of written to be said aloud to crowds of listening heads,
And in just a few centuries, rhyme and rhythm were dead,
And forty thousand years of lyricism were watered down,
And exposed to careless prose, on mostly Modernist grounds,
And poets found that the old supportive crowds were not around,
But they hardly even noticed, ‘cause they were published and important now.
But then recorded sound started with Thomas Edison,
One of the most intelligent inventions there’s ever been,
And ever since, a person’s words can be heard across the globe,
And the emergence of the Rhyme Renaissance was possible.
But it really started off in the Bronx in the seventies,
When kids with limited means produced monster melodies.
High Fidelity beats made their speech more compelling,
When ghetto teens resurrected rhymes and storytelling,
And used ancient wisdom as a system for rebelling.
The rhythm was thrilling, swelling the competition,
And millions of brilliant minds fought for the top positions,
And people finally seem to be starting to sit up and listen,
I’m just tryin’ to give ‘em a bit of a nudge with this composition.

And the epilogue? Now it’s been about twenty-nine years
Since hiphop first appeared and confirmed the worst fears
Of the powers that be, ‘cause now it’s in every urban sphere,
Assaulting virgin ears; it’s like a massive attack,
‘Cause every language on this planet can be adapted to rap.
It’s like a gigantic amoeba that’s having a snack,
A generation thinking vocally, acting locally,
Speaking openly, and having an impact globally.

This time we live in is a Rhyme Renaissance,
And this history lesson is five minutes long;
And if hiphop is bringin' it, fine, let's get it on,
And consider it official when I finish this song.
And it's on

credits

from The Rap Canterbury Tales, released December 6, 2004

tags

license

all rights reserved

about

Baba Brinkman New York, New York

Canadian hip-hop with an intellectual bent, nothing but sexy beats and sumptuous brain food.

shows

contact / help

Contact Baba Brinkman

Streaming and
Download help

Shipping and returns

Redeem code