There's a line in the first verse of MF Doom's track "Beef Rapp" that encapsulates everything I love about rappers who create complex rhyming patterns in their songs. It goes like this:
Whether it is animal, vegetable, or mineral
It's a miracle how he get so lyrical
And proceed to move the crowd like a old Negro spiritual
Not only is MF Doom talking about how he's a great rhymer, he's showing you.
I spoke with Martin Connor, a writer and music theorist who analyzes the rhyming patterns, beats, and rhythmic techniques of some of the greatest rappers, to figure out just how rhyming in rap music has evolved.
From the simple nursery rhyme–like bars of Kurtis Blow's "The Breaks" to the smooth East Coast flow of Notorious B.I.G.'s hit song "Hypnotize" to the speedy delivery of Kendrick Lamar's "Rigamortis," rhyming in rap music has not only evolved, it's gotten better.
The video above explores how some of the greatest rappers of all time create memorable, lyrically dense rhymes.
And here's a playlist highlighting songs that are prime examples of how great rhyming in rap can be.