AN ABUNDANCE OF INTERNAL RHYMES. The frequent use of off rhymes differentiates rap and hip-hop from traditional Broadway lyrics, which avoided off rhyme and insisted on perfect rhyme. One reason that off rhymes are used so much in rap is that there are so many internal rhymes. Eastwood and Hinton point out that: “Mr. Miranda cops rapper Big Pun’s characteristic thick rhyme patterns, in which one or two sounds are repeated over and over again.” Note the four internal rhymes in the passage I have been quoting——SCOTSman, DROPPED in, forGOTTen, SPOT—four internal off rhymes and a perfect rhyme in five lines.

It is hard to imagine lines of verse with multiple perfect rhymes for two reasons. First, the rhymes would create a jingly effect. Second, to quote Sondheim in his NPR interview with Jeffery Brown: “If the lyric is too packed, then the ear, the audience’s ear, can’t take everything in. It’s like an over-egged cake.It just is too rich.”

Off rhymes permit multiple internal rhymes.

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