G5 Elz — “I Can’t Live Without My Headphones” Analysis!

This week our reader Lawrence asked us to analyze one of his own songs; it’s called “I Can’t Live Without My Headphones,” and can be heard on Spotify here…and remember, if any of you guys ever want to up your skills, you can sign up for rap lessons with Martin on LessonFace here. If you hit him up directly at mepc36@gmail.com, you can get a 2-for-1 deal, only until the end of the year. Enjoy y’all!

G5 Elz — “I Can’t Live Without My Headphones” Analysis

by Nigel Telman

 

[Lyrics:]

I love music having concerts in my head last night Saint Pablo tour this morning 4:44

Drinking OJ waiting for the J train, aux has a little short but I can’t complain

I’d rather static than wheel screeches, babies and loud bitches,

Crew apologies save your stor­­y for snap filters

Back in 12th grade had Dre Beats studio, red light replace Duracell’s every month or so

Fly girls wore pink , mines were jet-black ink

Cheapskates claim “Gummies phones do same thing”

Dummy your bass don’t thump like this Mids sound like this we can’t hear ya shit

Don’t tell me Hi! keep my volume Mount Sinai when I’m sneaker grail walking by

Foxes do it too and they think they sly, don’t let’em fool you! I bet they hear your voice out a closed sunroof!

 

What’s good Lawrence? Thanks for your analysis suggestion! This one was a little weird because it’s the only song that this dude G5 Elz has but I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a bit more from him haha.

One of the things I find really cool about this song is how G5 connects sentences/lines over bar markers. For example, in the italicized section above he rhymes “walking by” with “Mount Sinai” before the bar ends and then starts a new rhyme pattern with “too” (going on to rhyme it with “fool” and “you”). Very Biggie-like, and not something you hear a lot of rappers doing recently! G5 also reaches across bars to finish rhyme schemes! In the first 4 bars he rhymes “tour” with “4:44” and later on with “short”. He chains this with another rhyme scheme in the third and fourth bar, fitting in the rhymes surrounding the “ay” sound (“OJ”, “J train” and “complain”). By reaching across the bar to finish rhyme schemes and connect alliterations, G5 creates a rudimentary daisy chain of rhymes in a way that resembles Biggie Smalls’ style of rapping (which makes sense seeing as they’re both from New York).

One more thing I wanna touch on is something that I really appreciate: syllable-bending to rhyme words. Eminem does a great job of this. In the second verse of his song “Brainless”, Eminem launches into a five-line pattern expanding on rhymes to the sounds in the word “storage”:

Still, in my skull’s a vacant empty void

Been usin’ it more as a bin for storage

Take some inventory: in this gourde there’s a Ford engine

Door hinge, syringe, an orange

An extension cord, and a Ninja sword

The italicized words represent the alliteration/rhyme with the “oar” and the the bolded words represent the alliteration/rhyme with the “inge” sound. Not all of these words necessarily sound like each other, specifically the word orange (which is notoriously difficult to rhyme things with), when said normally. However Eminem distorts the pronunciation to get the exact sound he wants by pronouncing “orange” “ornge”. This allows it to fit with the rest of the words and also lets Em flex on anyone who may still doubt his rhyming abilities.

G5 Elz has done a similar thing here in verse two of “I Can’t Live Without My Headphones. In the first line of the second verse, G5 bends the syllables of “nowhere” and “walkman” to rhyme them together:

80’s was the boombox, 90 for the walkman 2000 is the iPod headphones ain’t going nowhere!

Pronouncing “walkman” like “wok-man” and “nowhere” like “nowayah”, he’s able to get the rhyme he wants without sacrificing his narrative.

Well that’s all I got for you on this song! Thanks for sending it in, I was kinda feeling it! Hopefully we’ll hear more from this guy.

Best,

Nigel Telman

 

Martin Connor is a music teacher & writer from Philadelphia, PA, with a music degree of high distinction from Duke University who is currently studying for a master’s degree at Brandeis University in Boston, MA, while focusing his research on the vocal melodies of the rap genre. He has contributed freelance articles to HipHopDX, Complex, and Pigeons and Planes, and had multiple articles from his website, www.RapAnalysis.com go viral on BET, The Source, XXL, and MTV. He teaches rap lessons online through the music school LessonFace, and has a book, The Artistry Of Rap Music, forthcoming from the McFarland Publishing House, scheduled for release in late 2017, as a follow-up to his 2014 contribution to their anthology "Eminem & Rap, Poetry, Race." He welcomes all comments, compliments, insults, and restaurant suggestions at mepc36@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *