It’s the Law: A Rap Poem by S. Pearl Sharp


Hello there! In the following presentation,
we will be analyzing the rhythm, rhymes, and tone of the poem “It’s the Law: A Rap
Poem” by S Pearl Sharp. This presentation is by Victoria Tran and Sabrina Wakefield.
Enjoy! Rhythm is the pattern of stresses within a
line of verse. All spoken word has a rhythm formed by stressed and unstressed syllables.
Sharp’s repetition of phrases throughout the poem creates a sense of urgency and intensifies
the importance of what she is discussing, Also known as her “rules”.
Repetition is shown throughout the entire poem, but especially in lines (16-20) and
(26-29) In relation to rhythm,the meter is the syllabic
pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables within a line of poetry.
The meter refers to amount of “feet” within a line , as in “foot” meaning the measurement
of one unit of poetry. When determining the rhythm of a poem, the
meter acts similarly to a heartbeat. In Sharp’s poem “It’s The Law”, techniques
of modern rap are applied. Modern rap is a type of spoken word performed to the timing
of a beat. Pertaining to meter, rap has no distinct meter;
however, Sharp uses a combination of both iambic and trochaic
Iambic is made up of units of one stressed and one unstressed syllable.
Trochaic is made up of units of one unstressed and one stressed syllable. Lines 30-34 demonstrate an iambic meter as
well as a trochaic meter. “You gotta learn to read, you gotta learn
to write. Get the tools you need to win this fight. Get your common sense down off the shelf. Start in the mirror, respect yourself.” As you can see, there’s an unstressed syllable
followed by a stressed syllable in one line yet there is a stressed syllable followed
by an unstressed syllable in the next line Rhyme is the matching up of sounds and syllables.
Rhyme helps build the flow of the poem. It is the melody behind the words, the unity
among the phrases. When writing rap lyrics, Polysyllabic rhymes
( rhymes with multiple syllables) is the most respected type of rhyme in the industry since
it is more challenging. As for the beginners, a monosyllabic rhyme
is their cup of tea which is what S. Pearl Sharp uses. S. Pearl Sharp mainly utilizes a style of
rhyme that is known as PERFECT RHYME. However, Sharp uses two branches of perfect rhyme.
The first branch is known as MASCULINE RHYME which includes a single stressed syllable
rhyme such as write and fight and shelf and self. Sharp even separates the word your self
into two different words to really concentrate on the idea of masculine rhyme. The second branch is FEMININE RHYME which
involves the 2nd syllable being stressed such as
“lady, baby” and also “other, brother.” While utilizing the masculine and feminine
rhyme, Sharp is also using external rhymes which is the rhyming of words at the end of
lines. Additionally, rappers love to use external
rhymes as well. This can be seen in one of pop culture’s
famous rap song: Fresh Prince of Bel Air “In west Philadelphia born and raised
On the playground was where I spent most of my days”
Did you take not of the rhymes at the end of the lines? Aside from external rhymes, internal rhymes
or in-line rhymes,are also widely common and well admired in rap songs since these rhymes
provide a feeling of sophistication and satisfaction as they help boost emphasis on certain punch
lines. Take a look at the next line of song:
“Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool And all shooting some b-ball outside of the
school” Similarly, Sharp displays this type of rhyme
through lines 5-7 “We got laws designed to keep folks in line
Laws for what happens when you lose your mind. Laws against stealing, laws against feeling.” EVIDENTLY, Both of these raps uses a mix of
INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL rhymes in their work Now the rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhyme
that composers use to depict how the lines of each verse rhyme and dictate the location
of the rhyming words In essence, rhyme scheme is a fundamental
role when constructing a musical flow. S. Pearl Sharp mainly uses
The pattern AA, BB, CC, and DD as seen in lines You gotta learn to read, you gotta learn to
write. Get the tools you need to win this fight.
Get you common sense down off the shelf. Start in the mirror…Respect Yourself! Notice how the author purposely makes the
first two lines rhyme and the second two lines rhyme.
Ultimately,along with rhythm, the author’s use of rhymes essentially helps build the
tone of the poem. As mentioned before, rhythm is quite literally
the heartbeat of a poem and serves as the backdrop from which the ideas and imagery
can flow. The overall rhythm of “It’s The Law” consists of numerous repeating
phrases. Sharp’s repetitiveness establishes a tone of urgency towards the audience, informing
individuals to start seeking improvement upon themselves. Moreover, Rhymes create patterns that evoke
certain emotions as certain words create a cheerful and musical tone or a pessimistic
tone, Sharp uses rhyme to focus on three different types of tone such as mockery, honesty, and
motivational. The author expresses different types of tones
throughout her poem. First she starts off with a satirical tone in the first 10 lines
of her poem, essentially mocking the government and their ridiculous laws they impose on society
The 10th line of the poem really highlights S Pearl Sharp’s mockery towards the government
as it shows that government makes so many laws that restrain an individual’s freedoms. The author THEN shifts to a tone of honesty
as she speaks the truth about how people in society do not show enough respect towards
one another. Additionally, she mentions to the readers the truth about how it takes more
than just a pretty face and strong muscles to gain some respect. From this point forward, the author finally
transforms her tone of honesty to a more encouraging and optimistic tone. Sharp motivates individuals
to respect themselves by improving their mindset and education. She also encourages the reader
to maintain their health as it will consequently help them gain more self respect and with
more self respect an individual will learn to respect others. From this point forward, the author finally
transforms her tone of honesty to a more encouraging and optimistic tone. Sharp motivates individuals
to respect themselves by improving their mindset and education. She also encourages the reader
to maintain their health as it will consequently help them gain more self respect and with
more self respect an individual will learn to respect others. Together, Sharp’s different tone of mockery,
honesty, and encouragement ultimately reveal her disgust towards the government and the
behavior of society. Sharp believes that the government creates many ridiculous laws and
regulations that essentially take away certain freedoms. She then expresses her honest opinion
on how people in society don’t respect each other and that is the leading cause to all
of these laws. Consequently, Sharp provides a tone of encouragement to motivate individuals
to improve upon themselves and their mindset in hopes of improving society as a whole.

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