Storytelling in Hip-Hop

Hip-Hop Storytellers

Storytelling is a great past-time, present in virtually every culture and community. African-American has a diverse spectrum of storytelling, covering everything from versions of slave narratives and folktales to stories told through Hip-Hop.


Hip-Hop is not exempt. From it's inception, great lyricist like Slick Rick and Rakim have excited, educated and entertained their listeners. Intricate word play, often against formidable opponents has created a rich legacy of storytelling to be continued by artist such as J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar and Wale.



Example

Storyteller: Slick Rick


Title of Story: Children’s Story


Source: The Great Adventures of Slick Rick


Main Characters: Two troubled male youths


Setting: A time in the recent past when people wore pajamas and lived life slow


Plot: Two young men conspire to rob elderly people. After becoming enthralled with his new hobby, one of the young men finds himself in a precarious situation.


Type of Story: Cautionary Tale


Lesson: Living a life of crime can lead you down a dangerous and even fatal path.



Additional Resources


Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop

Bradley, Adam . Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop. 1st Ed. New York : Basic Civitas Books, 2009. Print.


Vh1 Storytellers Series

http://www.vh1.com/music/storytellers/main.jhtml