In a new video, Vox writer Estelle Caldwell and music theorist Martin Connor break down rhyming styles over the decades of Hip Hop’s history. After previously interviewing rapper Open Mike Eagle, Caldwell seeks to understand more about rhyming styles in Hip Hop after their lengthy discussion of underground Hip Hop legend MF DOOM.

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In this 12-minute video, Caldwell begins at Kurtis Blow, works her way up through Rakim and The Notorious B.I.G., and ends with Kendrick Lamar. She breaks down how each emcee places their rhymes in relation to the beat, and how that relationship grew more complicated over time.

In the end, she returns to MF DOOM and breaks down why he is one of the most respected rhyme-spitters in the game. Throughout the video she breaks down internal rhymes, end rhymes, crossing the bar line and holorimes, and shows exactly how each legendary emcees uses them to construct some of their most famous verses.


Whether you love to dissect the most intricate rhymes or are new to the world Hip Hop, this video is a must-watch to understand the growth of rapping through Hip Hop’s history.


Respect: A.V. Club

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