The Most Impressive Song Rhymes Of All Time

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images.
Do you remember the moment in English class when your teacher told you that rhyming isn't actually that big a deal in poetry? It was back when you were studying meter, assonance, consonance, and all the blah-blahs associated with Yeats, Bishop, and all that jazz.
That's about when I stopped caring about poetry. Postmodernism be damned! All I want is a tumbling rhyme scheme that keeps me on my feet. (The truth is, of course, that poetry does engage with rhyme — it's just not beholden to it.) For the best rhymes, then, we turn to music.
Music is a sort of rhyme in and of itself; the melody resonates with the chords below and the words match the ingrained rhythm. It's the best medium for a swell word-match, and it never disappoints. Who could forget the first time you realized that Eminem had just rhymed "spaghetti" with "heavy" and "already"? Long skinny noodles would never be the same.
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Because we believe in honoring what is perfect in this world, we've compiled a list of the greatest song rhymes of all time — according to our arbitrary taste, of course.
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"Power," Kanye West

"They say I was the abomination of Obama’s nation
Well that’s a pretty bad way to start the conversation"

The most impressive rhymes aren't relegated to end-of-line pairing — the creme de la creme usually go for a repeated internal rhyme, so you're hit with the same sound over and over. (Kind of like a drumbeat, you know?) Let's hear it for Kanye's repetition of the ay-shun sound in the song "power." Props, of course, for including President Obama. The presidential callout makes for a more memorable rhyme. (Say what you will, but if you mention a person in your lyrics, like Stacey Dash or Donald Trump, I shall remember it!)
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"Down for Me," G-Eazy, Carnage ft. 24hrs

"She got a body like Rihanna
double rice at Benihana."

This is perhaps not the most sophisticated rhyme in construction — really, it's just the phrase "hanna" repeated twice. The impressiveness of this particular rhyme is more about the two pop culture figures that are matched: Rihanna and Benihana. The attached image is pretty affecting as well. We all know what double rice at Benihana looks like. We've all seen Rihanna.
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"Nonstop," Hamilton

"Now for a strong central democracy
If not, then I’ll be Socrates
Throwing verbal rocks at these mediocrities."

In a list of "impressive rhymes," it's difficult not to write down every single line from the Broadway musical Hamilton. The show manages to compress entire volumes of history books into what is essentially two hours of straight singing and rapping. The final number of the first act summarizes what Alexander Hamilton did between the American Revolution and Thomas Jeffersons' return from France. It's a lot of info and a lot of words, none of them more impressive than the one above. Socrates? Democracy? Verbal rocks? Mediocrities? (Pro tip: This verse never ceases to impress at parties.)
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"So Long, Farewell," The Sound of Music

"So long, farewell, au revoir, auf wiedersehen.
I’d like to stay and taste my first champagne."

Points, as always, should go to rhymes that include another language. We include The Sound of Music because Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein composed a lot of really awesome music with great rhymes and also I just saw this movie with my mother for Mother's Day.
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"Monster," Kanye West ft. JAY-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj

"Cause you'll never get on top of this
So mommy, best advice is just to get on top of this
Have you ever had sex with a pharaoh?
Put the pussy in a sarcophagus
Now she claiming that I bruised her esophagus
Head of the class and she just won a swallowship."

There's a reason Kanye West is the star he is today. Because he took a word like sarcophagus — the word you haven't used since that paper on Egyptian history or your visit to the Met last year — and rhymed it with esophagus, another word you probably haven't used in ages.
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"Changes," Tupac

"I see no changes, all I see is racist faces
Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races
We under, I wonder what it takes to make this
One better place, let's erase the wasted."

The rest of the verse aside, the phrase "erase the wasted" is up there with the most beautiful phrases in the English language — up there with "cellar door" and "your food is ready." Again, it's the repeated internal rhyme that gets us here. Slam us with that soft "a" sound until you slam the end of the phrase with "wasted." Whaboom.
7 of 14
"Lose Yourself," Eminem

"His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti
He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin'"

The aforementioned song "Lose Yourself" is iconic to the point that anytime — anytime — someone uses the word "spaghetti," it's compulsory you mention it. (The same goes for the phrase "back to reality.") The main rhyme in this phrase is in the heavy/ready/spaghetti, but let us take a moment to appreciate the internal rhyme between nervous/surface and mom's/vomit.
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"Love Game," Eminem Ft. Kendrick Lamar

"Chlamydia couldn't even get rid of her
Pity the fool and pity the fool in me, I'ma live with the"—

I'll say it: Chlamydia is a pretty word. Were it not a STI, 'twould be the stuff of lyric opera or the perfect baby name. Kendrick Lamar has a lot of epic rhymes, and turns of phrase, but this one takes the cake for taking advantage of the pure beauty of the world "chlamydia." Here, it matches "rid of her" and "live with the." The phrase is cut off because it leaps directly into the chorus.
9 of 14
"We Can't Stop," Miley Cyrus

"Everyone in line in the bathroom,
Tryin' to get a line in the bathroom."

Okay, not technically a rhyme. This is just the same phrase twice with just a little change in definition. The first time, we're just talking about the bathroom queue. The second time, we're talking about a line of, well, you know. That stuff people do in the bathroom.
10 of 14
"Closer," The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey

"So baby pull me closer in the backseat of your Rover
That I know you can't afford
Bite that tattoo on your shoulder
Pull the sheets right off the corner."

There's something incredibly pleasing about the assonance between "R0ver" and "closer" and "shoulder." The rhyme is cozy, which reflects the songs theme — 'baby, pull me closer' and all that.
11 of 14
"Yoga," Janelle Monáe ft. Jidenna

"Sometimes I'm PG, and sometimes I'm vulgar
Even when I’m sleeping, I got one eye open
You cannot police me, so get off my areola."

Janelle Monáe's anthem about yoga has a secret message: free the nipple. Or at the very least, get off of Janelle Monáe's areola. The rhymes in this verse are inexact, but satisfying nonetheless. She rhymed something with areola! When was the last time you heard that word? It's another beautiful word that should be said more often. Monáe's enunciation allows "vulgar" to sound like "open" and "ola," so the verse has a repeated long "o" that'll keep you feeling triumphant.
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"A Little Priest," Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

"No, y'see, the trouble with poet is
'Ow do you know it's deceased?
Try the priest!"

You know the old rhyme that everyone knows, "poet/ know it"? Stephen Sondheim took that rhyme and buried it within a joke about poets and gave it a tidy rhyming caboose. (There's deceased/priest at the end for good measure.)
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"Monster," Kanye West ft. JAY-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj

"Forget Barbie, fuck Nicki cause she's fake
She on a diet but her pockets eating cheesecake."

Nicki Minaj's entire verse should go down as the Most Impressive Series Of Rhymes of All Time, really. It's been replicated by celebrities like Millie Bobby Brown, Adele, and Vanessa Hudgens. Here, we celebrate the moment in the minute and thirty second-long verse in which she says rhymes "she's fake" with "cheesecake." Really, anytime you can mention cheesecake the better.
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