Microphone Mathematics: The Science Of Lyrics

October 15, 2012 3 min read


MIC MATH MONDAYS public lyric forum takes place on Mondays at 6 PM USA Time on Kevin Beacham's Facebook Page

Microphone Mathematicsis about studying the art of lyricism in all eras of Hip Hop. It is the brainchild of Kevin Beacham. It first originated as a column in Caught In The Middle Magazine in 1994 until it went out of print. It existed in a few freelance projects/blogs for the next decade and recently returned as an ongoing feature on the FE blog (read those stories HERE). It is also the subject of a book by Kevin Beacham. Most recently it is also a interactive public discussion group called "Mic Math Mondays"!!! Details below...

 In our “Mic Math Mondays” discussions we will break down songs, discuss the best examples of creative writing, seek to decode hidden meanings, and so on. Overall, the goal is to celebrate great lyricism and have fun, but I also have a “higher” interest in using these discussions to help me understand how people listen to and process lyrics. I want to ask questions such as, but not limited to, these:

-How do individuals process lyricism differently

-Do artists and fans process lyrics differently

-Is there a difference in your favorite song from an artist vs  their most well-written song and do people recognize that difference

-How does production effect how you process lyrics

-Fnd things to add to my “Great Rap Quoteables” list*

Yes, you are part of my experiment…(insert mad scientist laughter here).

-Understanding Lyricism:

When I speak about creative lyricism and well-written verses here is a list of some of the things that I’m listening for and what we will discuss:


-Visual Imagery


-Attention to detail



-Rhyme Schemes/Multi-Syllables

-Vocabulary and the purposeful manipulation of language



-Coded Meanings

-Poetic License, Metaphors, Double Entendres, Personification, etc…

Note, that does not include all the additional things that you will need to add to the list if ywe were discussing the idea of what made a great MC, such as:



-Breath Control

-Live Performance

-Spontaneous Rhyming (a.k.a Off The Head, Gift Of Gab or “Freestyle” to some…)

-Influence and Impact

-The “Mic Math Monday” Launch

“Mic Math Mondays” takes place at 6 PM Central USA Standard time every Monday night and will run about an hour as a standard, but if time permits and the discussion is strong we can keep it going. This is open to the public and I encourage everyone to participate, as well as invite people to participate. I have reached out to many of my artist friends/acquaintances and fellow journalists to ask them to be involved as well.

This is how it will work:

-Advance Announcement:Moving forward, on the Friday before the next discussion I will post what the topic  will be and give a list of music to listen to so you can be prepared and have the weekend to prep and let the lyrics marinate/refresh your memory.

-On Monday when we start I will post the first song in a status update and pose questions about it. Everyone involved will give their feedback and thoughts. I suspect this will lead to some debates with disagreements, which is good (see below).

-I will create a new post for each new focus topic/song so it doesn’t get confusing on what we are talking about. However, feel free to continue adding on to the previous posts if other things come to mind or you want to comment on new things being introduced

-The Rules: There should not be a need for rules, but since humans are complex animals here they are:

1)Be respectful to the people in the discussion and the artists we are discussing. Yes, we want to be critical and to have healthy debates when needed, but blatant disrespect is not welcome. If you dislike the artist we are discussing and can’t discuss why intelligently then wait for the next discussion. If you don’t like the topics or artists I pick…well it is MY discussion so, there’s that... However, I’m open to suggestions.

2)Stay on topic: Please DO NOT post other songs from the artist we are discussing or other artists in these posts, that will get confusing. The goal is to stay focused on the specific topics and then move on. Every other day on Facebook is random time, so quell your urges during Mic Math Mondays please...

3)Come to learn, share, and have fun! That’s it party peoples.

Hope to hear from you on “Mic Math Monday” every Monday at 6 PM Central USA Time!!!

Created and Written By Kevin Beacham

-Editor's Notes: 

*Yes, I have one of these and it’s probably as nerdy and/or absurd as it sounds. It currently has approx 300 of what I consider the most clever/creative one-liners from the early 80s to now.

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