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18 famous literary lines perfectly paired with rap lyrics
"Turning and turning in the widening gyre/ I won't stop rockin' till I retire"
 
Yeats and the Rev would make quite the collaboration.
Yeats and the Rev would make quite the collaboration. (Bettmann/CORBIS, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Are you an aspiring rap lyricist? Have I got the tool for you! RapPad is a site where you can compose your raps with the help of rhyme lookups, syllable counters, and a library of beats. It also puts you in touch with a community for discussion, feedback, and online rap battles.

But even if you're not planning on writing raps, it offers a unique kind of linguistic fun. With the "Generate Line" feature, you can give RapPad a line, and it will write the next line for you by pulling from a library of successful rap songs. I entered a bunch of famous first lines from literature, and got RapPad to give me back some gems. Are they literature? Are they rap? Let's call it raperature. Or maybe literatrap? Anyway, here are 18 literary first lines paired with rap lyrics.

1. ERNEST HEMINGWAY/WALE

He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff
With an impending mixtape that only seems like a myth
(The Old Man and The Sea and "New Soul")

2. WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS/RUN-D.M.C.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
I won't stop rockin' till I retire
("The Second Coming" and "King of Rock")

3. SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE/J. COLE

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
Pay dues like a hair salon
("Kubla Khan"and "The Last Stretch")

4. FOUNDING FATHERS/EARL SWEATSHIRT

We hold these truths to be self-evident
Say hi to the Ritalin regiment
("Declaration of Independence" and "Pigions")

5. GERTRUDE STEIN/CAM'RON

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
Sorta like drano...you know how the game goes
("Sacred Emily" and "Spend the Night")

6. JANE AUSTEN/BLACK COBAIN

It is a truth universally acknowledged
That a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife
I'm in your head like a mnemonic device
(Pride and Prejudice and "Busy Now")

7. LEO TOLSTOY/CAM'RON

All happy families are alike
Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way
Drinking sake on a Suzuki, we in Osaka Bay
(Anna Karenina and "Down and Out")

8. GEORGE ORWELL/KENDRICK LAMAR

It was a bright, cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen
And if you hard then wreck your car and walk up to my crime scene
(1984 and "Ignorance is Bliss")

9. ROBERT FROST/2PAC

Whose woods these are I think I know
Creep with me through that immortal flow
("Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" and "Thug Passion")

10. VIRGINIA WOOLF/WALE

Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself
Fall in love with defeat, throw my endeavors on the shelf
(Mrs. Dalloway and "The Artistic Integrity")

11. ALLEN GINSBERG/2PAC

I saw the best minds of my generation
Destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked
See me and hope I'm intoxicated or slightly faded
("Howl" and "Ain't Hard 2 Find")

12. EMILY DICKINSON/WALE

Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me
In the face of adversity, I prepared a verse to see
("Because I Could Not Stop for Death" and "DC or Nothing")

13. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE/J. COLE

If music be the food of love, play on
At dinner with Hov, hoping that he pass the baton
(Twelfth Night and "Beautiful Bliss")

14. DYLAN THOMAS/ACE HOOD

Do not go gentle into that good night
Tell by your handbag that boy don't do you right
("Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" and "Body 2 Body")

15. CHARLES DICKENS/SCHOOLBOY Q

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
Daylight saving times all the time on this block of mines
(A Tale of Two Cities and "Live Again")

16. LEWIS CARROLL/KENDRICK LAMAR

Twas brillig and the slythy toves
Wayne told me that, and that's just how it goes
("Jabberwocky" and "Michael Jordan")

17. WILLIAM BLAKE/LIL WAYNE

Tyger tyger burning bright, in the forests of the night
I'm off the hook like cordless phones, my identity so right
("The Tyger" and "My Weezy")

18. WALT WHITMAN/BIG SEAN

O captain, my captain, our fearful trip is done
Rolling in more green than a hole in one
("Oh Captain! My Captain!" and "Life Should Go On")

 
Arika Okrent is editor-at-large at TheWeek.com and a frequent contributor to Mental Floss. She is the author of In the Land of Invented Languages, a history of the attempt to build a better language. She holds a doctorate in linguistics and a first-level certification in Klingon.

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