Did You Know that David Foster Wallace and Mark Costello (the former’s previous college roommate) co-wrote a book called Signifying Rap? It was out of print from a while but evidently finds itself back in book shelves now. In it, Costello’s work offers a good deal of context as musical history while Foster Wallace plays with the theory of rap, self-fabricated rumination, projections, ideas and suppositions regarding why two white kids have ventured to write about rap anyway. In a new foreword, Costello waxes poetic on Foster Wallace’s ability to beautifully mangle and then re-define the English language with intricate and complicated sentences.
D.T. Max shares this:
Frequently, the DJ is also the rapper’s foil, offering rap refrains, or sometimes replies to the rapper’s verses in the genre’s use of the venerable convention of “call and response,’ often speaking in rhythmless prose against the rapper’s complexly metered rhyme. The Mozart of this last technique is Public Enemy’s shadow-MC Flavor Flav, who holds his head cocked like Stevie Wonder and wears an alarm clock the size of a dinner plate around his neck….
And then we all come together and sigh in anticipation for the imminent movie.