Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX — “Fancy”

First things first: Iggy Azalea is authentic. (Iggy Azalea, by the way, is her stage name — her real name is Amethyst Kelly.) The whole world now knows this, since she has just explained this in a popular song lyric. Previously, she recorded a song with T.I. — to this date, nobody has erased her […]

Kanye West — “I Am a God”

Kanye begins with samples that allude to the legend of Pygmalion. Pygmalion, a sculptor of godlike artistry, lost interest in women after regarding the debauchery of the Propoetides (in legend, the world’s first prostitutes). Pygmalion instead fell in love with a statue he carved out of ivory. The goddess Aphrodite brought the statue to life, […]

Rihanna ft. Drake — “What’s My Name?”

Rihanna begins the song by singing gibberish to establish the melody, a common musical technique — she continues to sing gibberish even after the melody is established. She then asks, “What’s my name?” This is a rhetorical question. Rihanna does not suffer from amnesia or an identity crisis. Rather, she say this to increase her […]

Warren G ft. Nate Dogg — “Regulate”

“Regulate” is an example of narrative poetry, in which the drama takes place over three acts. First, in the prologue, Warren G calls upon his “regulators” — friends who protect him (for unexplained reasons, Warren G cannot defend himself). Here the song takes a self-reflexive, somewhat postmodern twist: just as Nate Dogg steps in to […]

LL Cool J — “Mama Said Knock You Out”

The song begins with a radio announcer praising LL Cool J’s “triumphant comeback.” LL Cool J takes umbrage at this comment — his recent success is not properly a comeback, since he has been plying his trade for some time. His many detractors will be reduced to tears when faced with the power of LL […]

Tupac Shakur ft. George Clinton — “Can’t C Me”

Tupac‘s basic purpose in writing is to taunt his enemies for their inability to favourably compare with him in any meaningful way — Tupac is so superior to his enemies that they effectively (and metaphorically) are unable to see him. George Clinton agrees. Tupac‘s focus is on gang activities and compiling wealth — those who […]

Snoop Dogg ft. The-Dream — “Gangsta Luv”

Snoop begins the song by exhorting his producer, The-Dream, to abandon production duties and instead sing the song’s hook. Snoop believes that this hook will hold particular appeal for the female gender. The-Dream complies, and in doing so establishes the song’s poetic conceit (an overarching metaphor that will give the song structure). The conceit is […]

Jaicko — “Oh Yeah”

Akin to Homer’s invocation of the muse in both the Iliad and Odyssey, Jaicko begins by crediting his inspiration for the song to a combination of his own personal attractiveness, some sexy woman he spied on the street, and a sandwich. These things have led him to the idea for the song “Oh Yeah.” Jaicko […]