Sylvia Plath: An OG Gangsta Rapper?

Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.

Don’t be fooled by the title of this post. I think it’s debatable whether or not rap is poetry and vice versa (Here’s one argument for rap being poetry and here’s a rebuttal).

But I recently read some poetry by Sylvia Plath, a female poet around the 1960s, and as someone who is a major fan of current hip-hop I could not stop from shouting “That is some gangsta sh*t” at least half a dozen times while reading. So now I’ve made a short list explaining why Sylvia Plath should be a contender for the title of the “1960 OG”.

But first here is one of my favorite poems by her: Lady Lazarus

And for those not in the know here is an informational bio on her from the people at “Crash Course”

Without further ado, here are my reasons why Sylvia Plath is a real OG:

1.  She has an alter ego: Lady Lazarus

Okay. Hear me out. Rappers are always creating alter ego’s for themselves. For example Kendrick Lamar also goes by K-Dot, Kung-Fu Kenny, or King Kunta. In fact he has a song called King Kunta where he calls himself King Kunta.

Another example is Rick Ross a.k.a. “The Boss”. In fact Rick Ross has many songs where he calls himself “The Boss”. He has a song called I’m the Boss. He’s got another song called You the Boss, and he’s got a third song simply called Boss (frankly I’m not even sure if Rick Ross knows who “The Boss” is but that’s not the point).

In Sylvia Plath’s poem Lady Lazarus, she is referring to herself as the “Lady Lazarus”. Why does she call herself that? Well that’s point #2

2. Sylvia Plath had 3 near death experiences!

Sylvia Plath tried to kill herself 3 times and on third time she was successful, but before she died she wrote this poem about how she went to the brink of life and came back twice. Rapper 50 cent nearly died when he was shot 9 times and when he came back he made a hit single about the experience:

But 50 cent isn’t alone. Present day rappers such as Logic, xxxtentacion, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Xan are all cashing in with rap songs on the topic of depression and suicide, but how many of them actually tried to kill themselves more than once and later rhyme about it like Sylvia Plath? I swear she has ice in her veins.

3. Finally, and most importantly Sylvia Plath. Has. Got. Bars.

There are many great lines even just in the poem Lady Lazarus. Here’s one for example

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.
It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.
It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.
It’s the theatrical

Here’s another line where she is telling people that they need pay to witness her (Juelz Santana starts his popular rap song Mic Check with a similar line)

For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart——
It really goes.

And finally at the end of her poem …

Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.
… where she warns God and Satan to watch out for her (which reminds me of how Kanye West used to call himself Yeezus) and describes herself rising like a phoenix to “…eat men like air”. Bars. Rappers are always talking about how they’ll smoke other rappers but Sylvia Plath was a woman in the 1960s when it was difficult for any woman to be so outspoken, yet here she was, not taking sh*t from anybody. Defiant.
So … Sylvia Plath a real OG? You be the judge.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s