Learning Figurative Language Using a Rap Song

Figurative language is something you can use to be more expressive or be more creative in writing songs, poems, or even stories. There are many things where you can apply it in, and many even use it without being aware of it. Learning the different kinds of figurative languages can develop a person into a more natural speaker of the language. Another thing about figurative language is that you cannot find this in the dictionary. Meaning, one should know the difference between connotative and denotative meanings.


When you express something using its denotative meaning, it means you are saying what you mean to say. The literal meaning of any word. However, the connotative meaning of a word is usually used in poetry where one says a word but that word’s meaning is not found in the dictionary. Its meaning is usually based on implications. For example, when one says I am a lion, it doesn’t literally mean the speaker is an animal, but the speaker probably meant that the speaker was brave or strong.
To give examples of figurative language, I would like to use a rap song since the word rap is an abbreviation that stands for rhythm and poetry. Specifically, lines from the songs Lose Yourself and Rap God by Eminem, a prominent rapper from The United States of America. However, using art forms as reference can be tricky. An artist can basically say or write anything, but the meaning, however, cannot be accurately interpreted unless the author or composer states the purpose in why a statement was written that way.

To begin, a simile is a kind of figurative language that is used to compare an object with another object using words such as like or as. For instance, the line in the song that says Stay in one spot, another day of monotony’s gotten me to the point, I’m like a snail. The latter part where the singer identified himself as someone who is like a snail is a prefect example of a simile.

Next, from Eminem’s song Rap God, you can find a metaphor in the line that says Me? Me, I’m a product of RakimLakim Shabazz, 2Pac, N-W-A. When the rapper called himself as a product of other rappers he may have looked up on, he used a metaphor. A metaphor is similar to a simile but with the exception that the writer is not saying that an object is like another object but rather says that an object is another object. The example used in for connotative meaning in this article is also a good example of a metaphor. Another good example from the same song is We have nothing in common, poodle. I’m a Doberman.

A hyperbole is also another figurative language that you can find in the same song. The line But for me to rap like a computer must be in my genes. I got a laptop in my back pocket uses a hyperbole. A hyperbole is an exaggeration that is not to be taken literally. When Eminem said he had a laptop in his back pocket is a hyperbole since keeping  a laptop in someone’s back pocket is impossible due to its size.

Lastly, a personification can be found in Lose Yourself. A good example is the line that says the clock’s run out, time’s up, over. Personification is when an object, usually an inanimate object, is given human abilities. When Eminem gave the inanimate object an ability that is impossible for it to do, he used personification to express himself.

When analyzing art, whether it is spoken or written, it is important to be aware of the different kinds of figurative language to avoid being confused. The idea is to not take everything literally because artists would always like to exercise poetic freedom in their work. Figurative language works that way and it can be used not only in creative writing. It can also be applied in normal conversations to make speakers sound more natural in using the language.