Since I spent my undergraduate years in New Orleans, I spent a lot of time fielding questions about the difference between Juvenal and Juvenile.
Juvenal. Juvenile. Ianus?
But I digress. My undergraduate days might be a distant memory, and my years in New Orleans may be long gone, but I still spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about the poetics of hip-hop.
I've actually been working on a blog post about hypallage, but I popped Lil Wayne's incredible 2007 mixtape The Drought is Over Pt. 2 (download it free + legal here) in my CD player today at lunch and I was like That's a lot of puns.
Eight clever uses of double-meaning in a single verse of a Lil Wayne song today. This, I thought, would make a great blog post. I apologize in advance for the formatting--this is tricky to lay out in a way that is easy to read.
Straight from the bottom of the cut
I give it to these b*tch n****s like Mama taught me
One man with no weapon at war, but I'm an army
My flow is capital, attention! Lieutenant, you're penny-pinchin'
And they demolished that invention
You better get your dollars up
And guess what, I was up
I get my cheese like Mickey Mouse
or else you better Donald Duck
Like a shooting range target
I get all kinda bucks
Be my shooting-range target
N**** I got good luck
N**** bye bye good luck
Got your momma shook up
Lil bad *ss n**** who thought Popeye wasn't tough
I'm on that lala twist it up
I'm on that syrup slow it down
and I like four freaks too, and I ain't Yung Joc but its going down
I buy that marijuana field, then I just mow it down
Big Bad Wolf yes I just blow it down
(no homo) and to Holly Grove I will hold it down
Like a circle of knives I got the sharpest flow around
My flow is capital - His flow is capital (adj, excellent, important), but his flow is also capital (n, a source of profit). The addressee of the song has a flow that is weak by comparison ('you're penny-pinchin').
I get my cheese like Mickey Mouse - He accumulates a lot of cheese (slang n, money) much in the way beloved cartoon Mickey Mouse gets cheese (n, dairy-based food product)
you better Donald Duck - You'd better duck (v, crouch) (referring to popular pantsless Disney character Donald Duck (n, waterfowl)
Like a shooting-range target / I get all kinda bucks - In the almost effortless way that hunters shoot at plastic bucks (n, deer) at a shooting range, Lil Wayne accumulates bucks (slang n, money).
I ain't Yung Joc but its going down - It's going down (slang phrase, something is about to happen), despite the fact that Lil Wayne is not Yung Joc (ATL rap artist who performed the incredibly quotable 2006 hit "It's Goin Down"**)
**Hilariously, there is a Wikipedia disambiguation page for the phrase "It's Goin' Down"
I buy that marijuana field, then I just mow it down - Lil Wayne mows (v, cuts down) the marijuana field and mows (v, destroys) it down by smoking it
Big Bad Wolf yes I just blow it down (no homo) - A beguiling three-part pun! Like the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, Lil Wayne blows (v, sends forth a current of air) the field down and blows (v, exhales) the marijuana smoke. Lil Wayne throws in his signature (and controversial) three-syllable caveat "no homo" so that we don't consider a third meaning of blow--one that refers to a sexual act on a man.
Like a circle of knives I got the sharpest flow around - An interesting dual pun. Lil Wayne has the sharpest flow around (n phrase, the most incisive rapping skills), which is similar to a circle of knives (which are sharp and arranged in a round shape)
...This is the kind of thing I think about all day.
What is your favorite poetic device? Here's a handy glossary to jog your memory.