Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rhyme Schemes that Show a Song's Age

Take the song 'Ditty', by one-hit-wonder 'Paperboy'.

Let's assume you didn't know when the song was released, watch the video and see if you can ballpark when it must have been by the lyrics alone:

My suggested answer is below:

It must have been before 1998.

Consider the following lines from the first verse:
And ah, you just watch a brother flowin' like Niagra,
Think before you step, because these niggas might just stag ya
So here's the basis of my claim.

If you wrote the first line in that quote today, it is inconceivable that you would rhyme 'Niagra' with 'Stag Ya' instead of 'Viagra'. 'Niagra' is a word that doesn't really rhyme with much, and rappers being lazy and sexual innuendo being a popular theme, it is the obvious choice. 'Stag ya', on the other hand, means nothing - urban dictionary lists definitions of 'stag' mainly as nouns and adjectives, not verbs. Primary definitions are about going solo to an event, and some secondary definitions list 'stag' as slang for an erection. Either way, it's a weird line to put in there. The only conclusion is that the song was written before Viagra existed.

Sure enough, the song was released in 1993, and Viagra was available from 1998.

I mean sure, you could just look up the release date, but where's the fun in that? It doesn't make you feel like Sherlock (or even Shylock) Holmes.

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