Thursday, October 1, 2009


by Matt Hughs (NWM Staff Writer)

"I awoke one morning and found myself famous."

- Lord Byron

“It’s amazing how you can go from Joe Blow, to everyone on your dick- no homo.”

-Kanye West

The entire concept of the Byronic Hero basically outlines Kanye: arrogant, rude, obnoxious, shadowy past (where did Yeezy come from anyway?) etc. Kanye is outrageous, he grabs attention with such passion that it over shadows his rapping. Bryon did the same thing. Nowadays when a celebrity f-cks up they usually go to rehab for a few hours. There was no rehab in Byron’s day. Byron f-cked up big time. Not in the “Jump –On- Stage- And- Mock – A- Seventeen-Year –Old –Country- Singer” sense; but in the “Sodomy- and – Rampant- Incest” sense. Byron was so outrageous that he had to go into exile.

Byron was not just a poet, he was the 19th century prototype of Kanye West, and rappers in general. For example Kanye has no respect for money. Byron had a “reckless disregard for money.” Rappers are all about big pimping; Byron drove women insane, in the DSM-V sense. Rappers love innuendo, Byron liked to get all poetical about “Swords” outwearing their “sheaths.” 

The real frightening thing about Byron and Kanye is how similar their respective lyrics are…

Hudibrastic rhyme, think Emily Dickinson drunk, a slant rhyme pushed to the extreme; a rhyme that barely makes it, except for a faint echo. Arguably the most famous Hudibrastic rhyme comes from the last two lines of stanza XXII from the first canto of Byron’s Don Juan: “  But- oh! Ye lords of ladies intellectual,/ inform us truly, have they not hen-pecked you all?” It almost doesn’t rhyme at all; it pushes the whole idea of rhyming to its limit. Kanye drops Hudibrastic rhymes all the time: “All they heard was that I was in an accident like GEICO/They thought I was burnt up like Pepsi did Michael.” There it is: the subtlest of rhymes. Byron could drop these rhymes perfectly; he reined them in with humor, and often times these extreme rhymes acted as a punch line. Kanye does the same thing. These aren’t sloppy “bottle/model” end rhymes, its verbal dexterity. Kanye's lyrics are   polychromatic fireworks lighting up the dull 4th of July barbeque that is the majority of rap.

Kanye’s legacy is still up in the air. Byron’s legacy is basically set in stone. He influenced generations of writers; and is probably responsible for why you had to gargle and grind your way through Wuthering Heights in twelfth grade.  Kanye and Byron were different, but just like their rhymes a faint similarity binds them together.

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