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New York Times Explores Dr. Seuss Rap Connection

Every year, legendary children’s author Dr. Seuss gets some media attention on the anniversary of his birthday (March 2). This year, the New York Times chose to explore the connection between Dr. Seuss and the world of hip-hop.

“I am not the first to notice that Dr. Seuss’s rhymes sound good declaimed in hip-hop-style,” writes author Aaron Retica before dropping a rhyme that includes a small bug, yawning and “the County of Keck.” Retica then cites the 1986 Run-D.M.C. track ‘Peter Piper’ that name-checks Seuss and Mother Goose as his main evidence.

“The rhythms of Seuss’s verse kept me thinking about his influence on rap, because Seuss was the dominant voice for younger readers throughout the period when the rappers who created the music were growing up,” continues Retica.

The main idea here, as theorized by Seuss biographer Philip Nel, is that, beyond simple rhyme schemes, both the author and rappers use poetry as a “medium of dissent.” Both talk about social issues, teach readers and listeners through language and tend to do things their own way with their own styles. This is definitely a mighty big stretch, but fun to think about.

Spin Run-D.M.C.’s ‘Peter Piper’

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