Literary Theory and Sapient’s song, “Dents”

Literary Theory and Sapient's Song "Dents" | The Captain's Log | www.captainairyca.com

So I just got back from Sapient’s performance in Eugene on his Lumens tour, and I felt like it was a good time to post about the critical project/essay I wrote about his work. Sapient is a hip-hop/rap artist who lives in Eugene. His sound is unique and his songs are intelligent. Regardless, when you think literary theory – hip-hop music may not cross your mind as an object of analysis, but that is exactly what I have done.

In this post, I am going to attach my full essay about Sapient’s song “Dents”. For the essay, I did a “close reading” of the song itself (see the video below for the full experience) and look at it from the perspective of two important literary theorists. I use the essay “To Write: An Intransitive Verb?” by Roland Barthes and “Notion of Expenditure” by Georges Bataille to analyze the “text” of Sapient’s work. If you’re a nerd like me, you may find the essay interesting – but if you’re anyone who has a taste for hip-hop, rap, or music in general,  just listen to this awesome song.

Link to Essay “Critical Analysis of “Dents” by Sapient From the Perspective of Barthes and Bataille”

 

I’m going to post the lyrics to the song too because a lot of the lyric sites out there have posted weird/wrong lyrics for some reason.

“Dents” by Sapient – Lyrics

(Before music: Well it is what it is)

Intro:

I’ve been in the trenches and shit, got dents in my shins from gettin’ it in
gettin’ it in, gettin’ it in, gettin’ it in, gettin’ it in
I’ve been in the trenches and shit, got dents in my shins from gettin’ it in
it’s stressful, stretchin’ my limits but that’s just how I live and I count every single one of my blessings ya dig (trenches)

I’ve been in the trenches and shit, got dents in my shins from gettin’ it in
gettin’ it in, gettin’ it in, gettin’ it in, gettin’ it in
I’ve been in the trenches and shit, got dents in my shins from gettin’ it in
it’s stressful, stretchin’ my limits but that’s just how I live and I count every single one of my blessings, we dig trenches

Verse 1:

Drinkin’ wine out of a paper cup
sittin’ on the curb next to my neighbor’s truck
thinking what doesn’t kill you makes your credit score stronger
turns out that I am just a warmonger
like my forefathers starting shit
I am only worth what my arms can lift
well pass the roids people like that’s my boy Sape with the strength of an asteroid

Chorus:

I am, I am in the figurative streets, literally living in a dream
it’s bigger than it seems (hey)
I am, I am in the figurative streets, literally living in a dream
it’s bigger than it seems, its ripping at the seams

Verse 2:

Whippin’ my Golf down the boulevard
noticing that the sky is always so cold and dark
beat tape samples of my own guitar
before it starts raining again I look for Noah’s Ark
I paid my rent on time again (ayy)
I celebrated with a vitamin (ayy)
no time for idling the iron is hot
I’m clamping it down and striking it till it’s nice and thin
writing grips like I’m an author
but I make songs, I didn’t write no novels
see I’m just a guy that’s trying not to be like my father
pass the Tylenol I’ve just seen a flying saucer

Chorus:
I am, I am in the figurative streets, literally living in a dream
it’s bigger than it seems
I am, I am in the figurative streets, literally living in a dream
it’s bigger than it seems, its ripping at the seams

I am, I am in the figurative streets, literally living in a dream
it’s bigger than it seems
I am, I am in the figurative streets, literally living in a dream
it’s bigger than it seems, its ripping at the seams

For more info on Sapient check out his website: sapientkills.com

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