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Pt. II-The Negative Half Metaphor and No Homo.

January 13, 2011

Yeah. Firstly, Pause for that whole video. I, personally do use and prefer the term “pause” over the vastly more popular “no homo”. What can I say, I appreciate subtlety and “pause” (||) hearkens back to a more innocent time in history and hip hop culture when most white people didn’t know what the fuck we were talking about. Made popular by Harlem-ites Camron and Dipset, the phrase “no homo” has made its rounds in hip hop circles and is now (hopefully) on its way out. It also gave rise to the method I call the “negative half metaphor”. Our last article was about the half metaphor. Logically you would assume that the negative half metaphor was a spawn of the half metaphor. In actuality, the negative half metaphor is a direct result of the popularity of “no homo”. Explain? Of course I will…

Half metaphor(HM):
“Coming down the street like a parade…Macy’s” Ludacris-“My Chick Bad”(Shout out to Dewan)

Negative Half Metaphor(NHM):
“We don’t play when we roll…No Yahtzee/And I hate you niggas…No Nazi” Fabolous- “The Wake”

“Cause I’m a star… No Spangled Banner.”- Drake- “Light Up”

So while the NHM is a direct opposite of a HM it is obviously derived from the phrase “no homo”, only instead of denying the homosexuality of the previous phrase, the word “homo” is replaced with whatever word is actually being compared to the previous line. In that sense the NHM is actually ironic because a metaphor is EXACTLY what it is. Another related method is the old school “But I ain’t talking bout…” or “But I don’t mean”. For example…

“Y’all appointed me to bring rap justice/But I ain’t five-O, y’all know it’s Nas yo” Nas- “Made You Look”

“I got them hawks I ain’t talking bout the peach state” Nicky Minaj- “Up All Night”

The Negative Half Metaphor accomplishes the same as “I ain’t talking bout” but with less. BTW Fabolous COMPLETELY wears the negative half metaphor out on last summer’s mixtape “There is No Competition II”. Despite his heavy handed use of the NHM it may still be my favorite mixtape of 2010. As always leave your favorite instances of the NHM in the comments.

The Half Metaphor

January 11, 2011


I’m not sure who was the first to do it. You’ve probably heard Young Money standouts Drake and Nicky use this method pretty heavily. Its when a line is spit, then finished with a word that compares to said line. Now, even though the term metaphor is usually used to describe rap punchlines, most of them are actually similes. A simile being a comparison using the words like or as whereas a metaphor is a looser comparison that DOESN’T use like or as. For example
Metaphors:
“I’m Christopher Columbus. Yall just the pilgrims.” Kanye West- “Swagger Like Us”

“I talk jewels and spit diamonds” Jay-z -“Cashmere Thoughts”

“My life is a video and the women want their cameo” Lil Wayne- “Wasted freestyle”

Similes:

“Nigga please, LIKE short sleeves I bear arms.” Jay-z – “Brooklyn’s Finest”

“Time is illmatic, keep static LIKE wool fabric.” Nas- “Life’s a Bitch”

“All its taking, is some marijuana and I’m making, MCs break fast LIKE flapjacks and bacon.” Notorious B.I.G.- “The Wickedest”

“I love rocking tracks LIKE John Coltrane loved Naima” Talib Kweli “Astronomy(8th Light)”

“You can’t catch me in the street without a ton of reefer/Thats LIKE Malcom X catching the jungle fever” Nas “Halftime”

OR…

“I’m AS ill AS a convict who kills for phone time.” Nas- “Halftime

“The flow cold AS the shoulders of gold digging hoes when a broke nigga approach them” J.Cole- “A Star is Born”

“Balloon bang pop, hot AS a bang spot in Bangkok.” Mos Def- “Murder of a Teenage Life”

For the sake of clarity I’ll call the aforementioned method a half-metaphor. It uses the  loose association of a metaphor and stretches it even further, relying on the assumption that the listener is able to make the connection between the two things being compared. For example:

They must be talking to theyselves Hov… Hands free.” Drake “Light Up”
“We make magic boy….Roy and Siegfried.” Lil Wayne-“Ignorant Shit freestyle”

This is a method that you may also have heard Kanye West use occasionally. He, along with Jay-z, who may have been the first that I had ever heard  use half-metaphors, both have a couple in their verses on Blueprint 3’s “Hate”. Kanye starts off with:

“How much they hated…Barry. Kiss girls like Katie Perry/I am never sprung but I spring her…Jerry”

And Hov follows with lines like…

“I can’t even stomach myself….ulcer”

“Al Roker… I used to knock pounds off”

and

“I stretch work…yoga.”

Another song (also featuring Mr. West) that has multiple instances of half metaphors  is Drake’s “Forever”. Drake spits:

“In your city faded off the brown… Nino.”

“Swimming in the money come and find me… Nemo./If I was at the club you know I balled(bald)… chemo.”

And on Ye’s verse:

“He ain’t even go to class… Bueller”

It seems to be a pretty new technique. But if anyone can tell me who was the first to use it or give me an instance of an old school rapper using it please do so in the comments section.

Resolutions Schmesolutions…

January 4, 2011

2011. Wow. Already. Its a new year, and you know what that means. New Years resolutions talk. Now personally, I don’t believe in resolutions. I believe that time is a mental construct and I’m knocking anyone else, but I see no reason why one would choose the beginning of a new year to make needed changes and look to improve upon one’s self. I make resolutions on a daily basis. And just like everyone else I succeed at times and others I fail. I’d like to think that my way is superior though because it affords me consistency. You know the old cliche “success is a journey not a destination”? I’d liken it to that. I can proudly and honestly say that I have not thought of a single resolution for the new year. My old directives, goals, and principles are perfectly aligned with where I want to go and remain, as always, at the forefront of my mind.

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