Lyricism vs Songwriting: Which is More Important in Hip Hop?



  • Do you prefer a super lyrical emcee or a great songwriter? Do you care if a rapper can go off top with crazy freestyles if he's writing classic songs? What significance does a lyricist have in the larger context of music?



  • I think strong lyricism is a good asset to one's overall songwriting ability. However, someone who's not particularly good at stringing together multisyllabic rhyme schemes, etc. still has the ability to have a good sense for vocal delivery, arrangement and whatnot. In the grand scheme of things, I prefer a good songwriter to a "super-lyrical" MC. Although, if we're talking the dynamics of live performance vs. trackwriting/making, my preference can change.



  • @rahischillin What about freestyles - do you care if a rapper can go off top if he's writing classic songs?



  • @Sol_EQ IMHO, a rapper like that gets props as long as they're not actively against the practice. A rapper might not be great at freestyling, but as long as they're not turning up their nose at kicking bars on a radio show/on stage/wherever else, then I'm cool with that.



  • i mean hard bars don't make a hot song. i think thats why lyricists don't always go as far as songwriters. personally, i dont care if an artist cant freestyle. its an artform in itself. but it depends on the mood for which i listen to. but i dont think each defeat each other.

    think of them as two tools wielded by a master builder



  • I definitely prefer a great songwriter to a great lyricist. Overall, of course, I'd like a nice balance - there are some cats that can use their lyricism to keep you captivated in their songs like a Lupe, and then there are some artists who can craft great songs to make help boost the effect of their lyrics like Kanye. But as far as having one aspect over another, I'll take the artistic over the technically impressive any day of the week.



  • @PoorMarty Ya I think it's interesting how what's valued in Hip Hop is slowly changing. Like how in your thread about "Mumble Rap" the idea that Yachty brought up about not havin to spit a cold 16 anymore I think is related to the idea that songwriting is starting to be perceived as more valuable than lyricism (even though a lot of people would argue that Yachty is not much of a songwriter either.) The old heads have always placed the most weight on technical ability, but the new generation just wants to hear what they feel is good music.

    I think you can see it in the Drake vs. Meek beef too where it was more a songwriting competition than it was about who had the dopest bars. Or even Joe Budden's diss tracks where infinite lyrical bars meant almost nothing to most music fans outside of a few weeks of headlines and memes.



  • yeah i mean look at papoose. LOL his fate has amounted his success to love and hip hop NY. its really sad but pap in 2005 was probably one of the hardest lyricists of the time but his songwriting ability was TRASH haha oh man his law libraries, chess, charades.. all trash man.. but his lyrics were always on point. i wouldnt even consider yachty a lyricist or a songwriter. lol i think of him as more as a vibe creator. that whole style of music is just to get you moving.

    ah man. @Sol_EQ. joe buddens diss tracks were so on point but yeah, for those who havent been following joey or even listen to his podcasts, it looked out of place. that shit is a whole topic in its self, man.





  • @PB excellent fucking video



  • It's all subjective, doesn't make a rapper better or worse to be good at one and not the other. As long as they can make interesting music at the end of the day, that's what matters. To praise one over the other seems to put rap in a narrow box that only has room for one approach to it, when it's a great genre because there are so many ways to make good rap music.



  • @likemypokeMANZ good point. you should check out the "muble rap" thread lol



  • @likemypokeMANZ @PoorMarty Ya I feel you, there's no one right answer - just tryna get people's opinions. To me a great lyricist or freestyler who can't write songs is like a street baller: you might make it on the And 1 Mixtapes and be talked about in barber shops, but you'll never be Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. It's a whole different league.


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