SMT-V 8.6, “When Hip-Hop Accents Collide (They Create Syncopation)” by Ben Duinker, is now available at

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rhyme chart of "Grindin" by Clipse


This video characterizes syncopation in hip-hop music as resulting from the interaction between accent patterns on three textural layers: the lyrics, the rapped delivery of these lyrics (flow), and the instrumental accompaniment (the beat). I unpack different accent types operating on these layers (word accents, performed accents, and metric accents), using examples from Travis Scott, Queen Latifah, Outkast, and others to illustrate their presence and the temporal relationships between them. I propose that hip-hop syncopation is neither a denial, displacement, nor contradiction of metric structure, but rather a product of it, wherein multiple rhythmic layers simultaneously act upon one another.

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