Among the most common elements in hip hop song lyrics are imagery and metaphor. The best lyricists can conjure an image in the listener’s mind through specific imagery. The best rappers also use specific imagery, adjectives, and adverbs to bring the lyric to life. If you are not sure where to start, here are a few examples:
– Self-awareness. Hip hop music is often inspired by the inner struggles of marginalized groups. Inspired improvisation is often lauded in hip hop. In hip hop music, everyone has a voice, whether they are rappers, singers, or poets. Self-awareness is a primary goal of Hip Hop culture, and it is reflected in the lyrics of songs.
– Social justice. The lyrics of hip hop songs often address the problems facing people of color, particularly those living in poverty. The lyrics of “99 Problems” by Jay Z and others are notable examples of social issues addressed in rap music. For example, the lyrics highlight the threat that law enforcement poses to young African American men, and suggest that white Americans have been practicing institutionalized racism since the American Civil War.
– Desire. Human beings have an innate desire for love, and countless hip hop songs explore this desire. “WAP” by Cardi B and Meghan Thee Stallion, and “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce and Khaled/Rihanna/Bryson Tiller explore this theme. All three songs are deeply emotional and often have strong messages that can influence viewers and listeners.