These Similes Have Me Sicker than Swine Flu

I can’t pinpoint the artist that started the craze. I want to say Weezy, Luda, Drake and Nicki are all culprits who have added to the popularity of the madness of using oversimplified metaphors and similes. Now being that I studied the English language and have also taught in grade schools, you would think I’d be excited to hear the use of a literary device in hip hop, but damn it, this HAS GOT TO STOP!

Now some of you might ask, what is a metaphor really? Well by definition it is when one compares two things that aren’t usually associated with one another, and show the similarities of the two; a simile is similar except the word ‘like’ or ‘as’ is used. For example, the literary genius William Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage” in his play As You Like It; comparing the totality of the world and its interactions to that of a stage where a play might be performed. Now don’t get all fearful and worried because I casually threw Shakespeare at you, in actuality the average hip hop fan is more acquainted with metaphors and similes than you could ever imagine. In fact, I could list a slew of literary devices used in recent Hip-Hop songs:

  1. Nicki Minaj in “My Chick Bad” – “its going down, basement” (metaphor) “…but I take a left and leave them hangin’ like testes” (simile)
  2. Ludacris in “My Chick Bad”- “coming down the street like a parade- Macys” (simile) “All white top, all white belt, all white jeans, body lookin’ like milk” (simile)
  3. Lil Wayne in “6 foot 7 foot” – “two b*tches at the same time, synchronized swimmers” (metaphor) …..” Life is a b*tch and death is her sister, sleep is the cousin what a f*cking family picture” (metaphor)

And that’s just a few. When you think about it, the use of these figures of speech isn’t so terrible. But the overuse of them definitely is. I was completely floored when recently I turned on the radio, which I RARELY do nowadays, and heard a song derived solely of metaphors. I mean the WHOLE song consisted of metaphors so basic, my friends three year old could have been the author. The chorus rants: She got that Freddie Krueger swag, she be killin’ them b*tches. The chorus alone was enough for me to grab my phone and commence to tweeting my disproval immediately. Surely this was not a REAL song, playing on my radio. I checked the time just to make sure this wasn’t an am radio shows form of a prank; it was 4 in the afternoon.

As disgusted and disturbed as I was, the song was catchy. The beat had undertones of the spooky piano from the Friday the 13th movies with the repeated chanting of Michael Myers over the track. Catchy. I realized that’s all that’s necessary during these trying times in music. Catchy. As the verse spewed out metaphor after metaphor I cringed; ‘Girl you got alotta class-TEACHER/ She just in here tryna make some change-METERS/ I wanna see you shake it for me-SEIZURES/ I’m tryna have you in the bed sweating-FEVERS’.

What has Hip-Hop come to???? Why are we accepting these basic rhymes as music? Why aren’t we demanding more than this? Artists, why aren’t you demanding more of yourselves?

Simply put, similes and metaphors are nothing to shy away from in any form of writing. But please people, do everything in moderation. Oversimplification kills. Do not abuse a brilliant literary device by over usage or basic behavior. It pisses people like me off; people who have love for not only the English language, but also for the genius that is HIP HOP.

Chantel V.