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Internal rhyme schemes were extremely common in popular song of the Swing Era. One familiar example is the bridge from "Don't Fence Me In," written by Cole Porter for the film "Hollywood Canteen" in 1944:
Just turn me loose let me straddle my old saddle,
Underneath the western skies,
On my cayuse let me wander over yonder,
'Til I see the mountains rise.
Internal rhyme is used extensively in rap/hip hop music. The usage of internal rhyme in rap has increased over time, but can be found even in the earliest rap songs, such as the Sugarhill Gang's 1979 single, Rapper's Delight:
I'm six-foot-one and I'm tons of fun and I dress to a T
You see, I got more clothes than Muhammad Ali and I dress so viciously
I got body guards, I got two big cars, I definitely ain't the whack
I got a Lincoln Continental and a sun-roofed Cadillac
So after school, I take a dip in the pool, which is really on the wall
I got a color TV, so I can see the Knicks play basketball
Internal rhyme is used frequently by many different hip hop artists, including Kool Moe Dee, Big Daddy Kane, and Rakim, as demonstrated in Eric B. and Rakim's 1987 piece, "My Melody" from their debut album Paid In Full:
My unusual style will confuse you a while
If I were water, I'd flow in the Nile
So many rhymes you won't have time to go for yours
Just because of applause I have to pause
Right after tonight is when I prepare
To catch another sucker-duck MC out there
My strategy has to be tragedy, catastrophe
And after this you'll call me your majesty...
Another prominent hip hop artist who uses internal rhymes is AZ, as shown in "The Format":
- Young and gifted, my tongue's prolific
- In the beach bungalow is how I brung in Christmas
- To the streets I'mma flow from the hungriest districts
- Swiss kicks crisp when I come to them picnics
- Play slow, paper chase stack and lay low
- Range rove tinted all black the same old
- Psychic mind, righteous rhymes that turned a new leaf from a life of crime
- No concerns with new beef, who's as nice as I'm
- It's confirmed, from few feet I'm still a sniper blind
- Built my fame, spilt my pain
- Politicking daily, still trying to milk the game
- It's obvious that I'm real, rap skills remain
- I took some change and I'm still the same
It is important to note the complexity of the internal rhyme patterns as the verse progresses. Starting with simple compounds, line-for-line: "Young and Gifted", "tongue's prolific"; the artist blends in another AB multi: "beach bungalow", "streets I'mma flow" while capping the line with the original AB pattern: "hungriest districts".
|sound / line #||built (10)||fame (10)|
|sound / line #||young (1)||gifted (1)||beach (2)||bungalow (2)|
|4||--||swiss kicks, picnics||--||--|
|sound / line #||play (5)||slow (5)||stack (5)||lay (5)||low (5)|
AZ then adds to the depth of his internal rhymes, nearly rhyming word-for-word, one entire line to another:
|sound / line #||turned (7)||new (7)||leaf (7)||life (7)||crime (7)|
- Strachan, John; Terry, Richard (2000). Poetry, p. 63. Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 0-7486-1045-6.
- Sugar Hill Gang – Rapper's Delight Lyrics | Rap Genius
- Salaam, Mtume ya (June 22, 1995). "The Aesthetics ". African American Review.
- allmusic ((( Rakim > Biography ))). Allmusic. Accessed May 22, 2008.