Herbert,1 Alana Herbert Writing 39B Alberto Guilaba 10 May 2012 Here‟s a little story that must be told

… The early1990s was the Bling Era of hip-hop era. It is the era of champagne and shiny suits, of diamond chains and expensive eras. At the same time, this era show cast some of rap‟s best poets and some of the most compelling and sophisticated lyrics in hip-hop history like Nas and Notorious BIG (Bradley, DuBois, 2010). Rap is completely different from other forms of music because the artists‟ available to tell many stories. Storytelling emphasizes both the good and the bad in rap music and hip-hop culture. Artists‟ stories like Notorious BIG are seen as an example that music‟s truth-telling stories are able to impact the lives of everyday person living in the ghetto. According to Adam Bradley, Book of Rhyme states, “ Conversely, rap‟s critics target storytelling, particularly the explicit tales of so-called gangsta rap, as a corrupting influence on our culture, celebrating the worst excess of violence, misogyny, and commercialism” (158). To hear rap‟s storytelling for the audience is to experience freedom from the constraints of everyday life, to be lost in the rhythm and rhyme. Rap‟s stories are popular to their audience because they are craft innovations on narrative form. For instance, Nas “Rewind” rap is an effective form for a stylish narrative expression. Rap‟s stories captivate viewers not by just being entertaining but as art. Rap is a kind of performance art, a blend of fact and fantasy, narrative and drama expressed in storytelling. Voice in storytelling is extreme important to the narrative. Since, the MC and speaker‟s voice are the same, its easy for the audience to believe they are saying is true to their own

Herbert,2 experience. According to Adam Bradley, Book of Rhyme states,” Rap rarely employs the first voice, the cosseted tone of a poet addressing him- or her in isolation. When they do use it, it can have powerful effects, as when Nas reflects upon his own life, or when Biggie contemplates his on death” (163). Nas‟ “Underdying Love” style uses narrative voice in order directly address to the young urban generation on the contrast Notorious BIG “I Got a Story To Tell” expresses dramatic voice to use the role of a composed character to address the ghetto audience. Dramatic monologues allow rappers to say things they might not have said in their own voice. Dramatic voice lets rappers explore circumstances that the MC might not have firsthand experience to describe through their imagination. Notorious BIG was the dominant dramatic voice that merged tales of gangster excess drawn more from films like Scarface, Bad Lieutenant, and King of New York, than personal experience. Notorious BIG‟s stories stands out to his audience is his ability to match violence with repentant comedy. “I Got a Story to Tell” from Life After Death, the album released two weeks after his death, shows him at the peak of his artistic influence. He rhymes of a dangerous relationship with another man‟s woman on a beat seat with just kick and snare. In the song, his dramatic voice and the title of the song makes his storytelling believable to his audience. The song begins as a story of sexual adventure quickly of a satisfied couple, “She came twice, I came last roll a grass”. As they rest on the bed of her mans who is a player from the New York Knicks and the door opening downstairs interrupts them. Biggie Smalls knows her boyfriend is not going to be thrilled to say the least that he is in his bed. The woman panics, Big remains calm, “She don‟t know I‟m cool as a fan, gat in hand, I don‟t want to blast her man, but I can and I will, though.” BIG telling his audience he stayed calm even in this tense situation, because the hood mentality. He is staying that killing someone after fucking his “bitch” is a cruel thing to do. When the NBA player goes upstairs, Biggie is waiting with a gun

Herbert,3 and scarf around his face, ordering the man to give him all his money. Biggie not only tells his audience he leaves with $100,000, also with the knowledge that he has conned the man into seeing a robbery rather than an affair. Notorious Big closes the rap with: “Grab the keys to the five, call my niggas on the cell, Bring some weed, I got a story to tell.” The track continues for an additional minute as Biggie tells the story again to his homeboys, however he talking not rhyming. Since Biggie intensifying the dramatic narrative in effect, he defined his legacy as one of hip-hop greatest storytellers for the young boys on the block who want to succeed like him. “In both Stagolee and the dramatic monologue,” Cecil Brown states, “the narrator creates a character who gives the audience a look into his special world. The audience sees through the eyes of the character the rapper creates. It is the „I‟ that makes the bridge between the „I‟ of the rapper and the „I‟ of the character.” Biggie‟s “I Got a Story to Tell You” authentic style of dramatic voice captives his audience on a comedic and overtop situation. Nas is one of the greatest innovators in storytelling. Adam Bradley Book od Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip-Hop states that Nas works included narrated before birth (“Fetus”), autobiographies (“Doo-Rags”), allegorical tales “(Money is My Bitch”) and even the voice of a gun (“I gave you power”). According to Maria Glover Ethos as Street Credibility: Authenticity of the Street Artist as a Hero Persona in the Hip-hop Lyrics of Nas states,”Nas uses these profound lyrics to establish his ethos as street credibility. Within the hip-hop community, it is not so much a rapper‟s “good moral character” that is scrutinized or praised, but a modification of the phrase, which can be appropriately termed as street credibility.” Nas is able to connect with the same audience like Notorious BIG, but with an intelligent prospective. Nas is not an actual participant in most of the crimes and injustices that he describes unlike Tupac, NWA, and Biggie. His storytelling does not seem to glorify violence , rather it is showing the consequences of violence.

Herbert,4 Nas is a voice of reason to the urban community. Nas‟s raps are detailed and poetic observations of the street and street culture. Many rappers began to invent nonlinear narratives (Bradley, 2009). Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics explains,” Narrative is a verbal presentation of a sequence of events or facts… whose disposition in time implies causal connection and point.” For example, Nas‟s “Undying Love”: I creep around yo to the back, she must be inside and can't hear Probably upstairs, in the mirror, doin her hair I walked in through the back door entrance Shocked it was unlocked, when I walked in, I smelled incense chased by a weed aroma, empty Guinnesses and lipstick marks on like three empty Coronas A pair of blue jeans on the carpet; size 12 Timberlands Somethin swingin on the ceilin fan, I stopped it…

The image Nas is first describing in his non-linear narrative is going to the back of his house trying to rationally explain what is going on with his girlfriend. He finds the clues that his girl is cheating on him. His first instinct when he thinks his fiancee is cheating is to kill someone, but he is not that impulsive. As “Undying Love “ continues, Nas narrative is about jealousy, murder and suicide. The song is similar to Biggie‟s “I Got a Story to Tell” except Biggie rhymes in the voice of the man cheating, Nas rhymes as the man being cheated upon. Nas “Undying Love” discovers a touch of emotions rarely seen in rap songs because it would shatter the ego and persona of many MCs. By Nas having a song that shows men‟s frailty, he is implying that

Herbert,5 rappers are not capable of embracing all the varieties of human emotion, rather that be good or bad. Storytelling is way of communication between the artist and audience. The voice is how to express a story. Great rappers are able to tell a common in narrative shows their ability to be a storyteller. With a storyteller‟s mind, Nas and Notorious BIG creates poetic narratives with character, conflict, climax, setting, and resolution. They are able to do this while rhyming usually within three minutes.

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