Metaphor: a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect, thus highlighting the similarities between the two.
Metaphors are very prevalent in hip-hop but only the best and brightest minds in the game can really put together impressive ones. Some can be hard to catch, some can be down right obvious, but hearing a great metaphor in a song is one of my favorite parts about hip-hop. The amount of creativity and thought that goes into a truly great metaphor is impressive and I wanted to share a few of my favorite ones. All these songs are extended metaphors in their entirety. I find these songs so enjoyable and creative and I hope you do to.
50 Cent- A Baltimore Love Thing
50 masterfully writes a love song from the perspective of heroin. Think about that, he wrote an entire song, pretending to be heroin. That’s crazy. Not to mention, it’s an awesome song.
Common- I Used to Love H.E.R.
This might be the most famous example in hip-hop history. The entire song, Common is rhyming about a girl he met at a young age and fell in love with. Then, at the end of the third and final verse, Common reveals that the girl he’s been talking about the whole time is actually hip-hop. This goes down as one of the best hip-hop songs of all time.
Eminem- 25 to Life
As a huge Em fan, this is one of my personal favorites. Much like “I Used to Love H.E.R.,” this song details a relationship with a woman (though this one seems more rocky and unstable). Em raps about devoting his life to this person and getting no respect. The whole time he is talking about hip-hop.
Nas- I Gave You Power
This is one of the metaphors that is known from the beginning, as Nas states he feels like a gun in the intro. And yet still, as you listen to the song, you can easily forget that he’s rapping from the perspective of a gun. Truly impressive work from one of the game’s best ever.
Lupe Fiasco- Gotta Eat
Lupe is no stranger to extended metaphors. The song “Gotta Eat” is one of my personal favorites of his. Dope beat, flow, lyrics, and concept. He likens fast food to being a gangster. Seriously, he raps about fast food but the song is really about gang life. So impressive and just another example of why metaphors are one of the best reasons to listen to this genre.