A wise man once said that “nothing tell the truth like the eyes.” That man’s Drake in his latest rap caviar Champagne Poetry. When you’ve got songwriters to sample such as Masego, John Lennon, and Gabriel Samuel Hardeman Jr, how could you miss a beat? After reading this article you’ll have learned how to manipulate rhythm, collaborate with your muses, and dig deeper into what it means to be a Champagne poet.
Rhythm, Meter and Everything Lyrical
Drake starts Champagne Poetry off with a sped-up sample of Masego’s song “Navajo.” The music sets the pacing for Drake's introductory lines about fatherhood and his notoriety within the hip-hop scene.
I cannot stress enough how important rhythm is when creating a metrically sound poem. Which is why I suggest finding a song whose instrumentals ring true with you. As Dick Clark once said, “music is the soundtrack of your life.”
I recommend looking at any playlists that you commonly listen to, or thinking about what mood you’re in at the moment. This strategy always works for me. Once a tune coalesces with your vibe you’re off to the studio!
For those of you who don’t know what rhythm and meter is, I’ve got you covered in this crash course mini-lesson.
While rhythm and meter in lyrics work similarly to poems, there are subtle differences. Meter imposes specific length and emphasis on any given line of poetry. While rhythm is the pattern of stresses within a line of verse.
In layman’s terms – a stress is how a syllable in a word is enunciated (which may vary from one dialect to the other), and meter is a measurement of all those stresses. Let’s take a look at this graphic provided by the educational company, Young Writers.
If you don’t do well with graphics or still don’t understand how rhythm and meter work, no sweat, one of my favorite poetry YouTubers, Josie Alford, has you covered in her charming in-depth tutorial on scansion, below.
Where Art Thou Muses?
O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.
Ancient Greeks would often compose their epic poetry by invocation of the muses. This invocation worked as a plea directed toward the Greek pantheon to serve as a sort of divine inspiration.
Though modern professional writers may not begin with a formal invocation, the process of summoning an inner muse, overcoming writer's block, and finding artistic inspiration in our daily lives is as important as it has always been.
However, what exactly is a muse? A muse is any source of inspiration on which a poet draws to enrich their way of life. As a result, this musing provides the writer with ideas for their next writing project.
Maybe you enjoy listening to music or have a lyric that is giving you a poetic itch. Why not write a poem associated with your favorite song? Here's a discussion thread on The Poetry Cove's forum created by Shen Friebe that may also peak your musically-inclined inspiration.
Seven Ways To Find Your Creative Muse
Develop a writing process. If you're feeling stuck in your writing process, consider creating a formal daily routine. Having a regular writing time and place can help you focus and increase your creative output.
Learn about other writers’ muses. If you are a first-time writer, researching how more experienced writers approach their creative work can be beneficial. Stephen King, for example, has written extensively about his creative process. Read as much as you can about how great writers plan their days and incorporate ideas that interest you.
Engage in writing exercises. Find writing exercises that will help you generate ideas if you're stuck. Incorporate these eight writing exercises into your process to help you brainstorm and spark your creativity.
Turn to the natural world. Take a walk and observe your surroundings. Sitting for hours churning out the first draft of a novel or grinding through short stories can be exhausting. Taking a break and venturing into nature can help you recharge your batteries and inspire you.
Explore other art. Exploring other art forms can be a pleasant diversion from writing, especially when you're feeling stuck. Many writers enjoy playing music or doodle as a way to unwind and engage in a creative process other than book writing. These other forms of art will frequently inspire you when you return to the page.
Record spontaneous story ideas and musings. Great writers are constantly taking in their surroundings. Don't just make a mental note of something inspiring; write it down. It's essential to keep a notepad or notebook in which you can jot down observations and ideas that could become your next great story.
Write, write, write. It is all about practice when it comes to creative writing. It is your responsibility as a good writer to write in any way you can at any time. You might find your muse outside of the confines of the writing project you are currently working on. Start writing in different formats to supplement your chosen medium. Learn to keep a journal.
Digging In The Deep
“What a man sees depends upon what he looks at and also upon what his previous visual conceptual experience has taught him to see.”
—Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
A writer may occasionally skim over a subject. Or is overly nice. There are facts, perhaps shocking or dramatic facts, but no emotion beneath them. The reader may feel cheated if the piece lacks honesty. Those who talk about deep questions are more likely to feel close to those who only talk about small talk.
Now you might be asking, but Ken, how do I actually write deeply? Like Drake says in the video, every person’s creative process is individually unique. But if I had any one bit of advice I could give it would be this: Keep it real and write from the heart because that’s where all the good lines are at.