What Makes Hip Hop Catchy?

Think you can just teach yourself to win your next rap battle? Think again. 

Louise Middleton, a linguistics student at The University of Manchester, may have cracked the code about what makes the best hip hop songs so catchy. Middleton examined a number of tracks from debut albums by artists from Eminem to Public Enemy and found that a majority of them contained imperfect “half rhymes.”  

“My research found that over 70 percent of the time artists used half-rhyme, such as ‘hop-rock,’ rather than traditional rhymes like ‘cat-mat.’ These imperfect rap rhymes are not something that you simply come up with on the spot but something that popular rap artists have the natural ability to create,” Louise explained. This indicates a level of sophistication and intuition comparable to the poetic mastery found in Shakespearean sonnets – but way more entertaining.

You learn something new every day. 

Photos by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images