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Emirates Stadium, Mesopotamian, Mediterranean and Emily Davidson

What does Emirates Stadium have to do with the suffragette movement? What’s the link between Fibonacci and the romantic hero in Pride and Prejudice? How do you get from smoked paprika to one of the most famous portraits ever painted? The answer to all of these questions is through rhyme.

Rhyming has evolved over the years and we are largely behind the times. With the introduction of rap music and its own developments through the ages, we have seen rhyme go from an objective constant to something much more malleable. Rhyme is no longer perfect. It is more complex, more clever and more beautiful than ever.

I have performed as a battle rapper for seven years. In that time I have performed around the world, met people of great influence and have become one part of the 2on2 battle rap UK champions. The main thing I’m known for in this sphere is my insane obsession with rhyming.

Rhyme isn’t what it used to be. Gone are the days where we solely looked to rhymes such as ‘cat’, ‘mat’, ‘flat’, ‘hat’, with the help of rap, we’re beyond all that. Rappers, modern poets (especially in the spoken word world) are using ‘multisyllabic rhymes’ or ‘multis’.

This type of rhyme is an extension of traditional rhyming techniques that plays with rhythm, relevance and makes the rhymes themselves sound much more rounded. This is done by rhyming longer words or phrases, terms or names than just one syllable at the end of the sentence. We rhyme multiple syllables in a row, focusing mostly on the assonance, rather than the consonance.

I asked what links the suffragette movement and Emirates Stadium. Well, let’s look at that.

When we say ‘Emirates Stadium’ there are 2 syllables that particularly stand out more than the others, the first and the fourth: the stressed syllables: EMiratesSTAdium. These are the syllables we’ll be most interested in rhyming because there is more emphasis put into them when we naturally say the name. You wouldn’t say ‘emiRATES staDIum’ because you’d sound mental. So. EMiratesSTAdium it is. We want to rhyme this with something that has the same number of syllables, in this case 6, that has the same ‘stress pattern’: the 1stand 4thsyllable stressed, where those stressed syllables share the same assonance (the EH sound in the 1stsyllable and the A sound in the 4th).

Sound tricky? It kind of is. But you do get used to it quickly… here are a couple of examples of what you would be able to get from this.




And… EMily DAVison.

And that’s what Emirates Stadium has to do with the Suffragette movement (the other riddles from the first paragraph: Fibonacci and Mr Darcy. Smoked Paprika and Mona Lisa (as long as you say pap-REE-ka and not PAP-ri-ka… accents can make this type of rhyming even more difficult…)).

Now... This type of multisyllabic rhyme can be tricky to get your head around and god knows I’ve been sat down for hours trying to think of rhymes for ‘phone number’ (bone structure) or ‘Lotus flower’ (Schopenhauer) to practically no avail because it is difficult. But when you get into it, it becomes something worse than difficult: addictive. Painfully addictive. This type of rhyme is practically all I think about. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing…

The future of rhyme is immense and inevitable. We need to recognise it more and get it into academia, because it will run away from us if we’re not careful. This is what the Advanced Rhyming Dictionary is trying to do. Take the traditional rhyming dictionaries of the past that feel so fusty and out-dated now, and bring them into the future, replacing the bowler hat with a shoulder tat.

The book is full with over 600 multisyllabic rhyme schemes that use pop-culture references, rap terminology, phrases, names, places, things that you will actually use as a writer of rap, poetry, songs, anything. Not obscure medical terms from the late 19thcentury. This is the future of rhymes. You must remember to rhyme. There is a reason it’s lasted so long.

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