Even Rap Gods use E-Lit

Ever since the beginning of YouTube in 2005, the site is just about the biggest source for lyric videos that I’ve ever seen. People of all kinds were giving their favorite songs a little flair using an array of “movie maker” tricks so they could watch the lyrics come a live before their eyes. It was not until yesterday though that I found that this type of thing is actually also a kind of electronic literature, going by the name of kinetic typography.

I came across this idea as I was searching the website I <3 EPoetry for something to write about for this first blog post. The article I originally read was discussing the use of kinetic typography in a lyric video made for Cee Lo Green’s “F*ck You.” This article peaked my interest so I made my way over to YouTube to see if I could find any more like it. Sure enough on the suggested video’s sidebar was a video for Eminem’s “Rap God.”

Even through the first run-through I could see how insanely interactive this video was. Kinetic typography is defined as typography that uses motion as well as other orientations of the letters and words to convey another layer of meaning. Henrique Rodrigues, the editor of this video, was definitely successfull in this. The words shake and rattle throughout the video to match the aggressive quality of the words in the song. On top of this, Rodrigues uses speed and visual aids compiled with pictures made with the words to add more and more layers to the song. I’ve been listening to Eminem for a long time, and I know the character of the songs that he writes and Rodrigues definitely hit the nail on the head with this.

In the comments, it explains that the editor probably used a program called Adobe After Effects (which the commenters commonly referred to as AE for short). The comments also discussed how the more skill you have using the programs, the easier it is to make the videos, but it is clear to me that this video is not just plain aqcuired skill. The creative flair that Rodrigues added to the video is essential to his mastery of the context and the ingenious success of this video.

Link to this video:



Words are actually blowing up at this moment in the video.


A devil is made out of the words, to match the sinister context of the song.


A picture of Batman slappin Robin to match the words in the song.


The zombie hand matches the metaphor of “The Walking Dead.”


  3 comments for “Even Rap Gods use E-Lit

  1. jturner2
    February 12, 2015 at 8:15 am

    This is honestly the most interesting thing I’ve read this week. As a huge music junkie (including music videos), As an avid fan of Eminem and innovation in videos, I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that the moving words coupled with the images used in the “Rap God” video serve as a form of E-Lit. It’s interactive in that it takes the words the listener hears and puts them to the forefront of their eyes, through displaying words and images that illustrate the words being sung (rapped in this case). I’m intrigued to see how other musicians can emulate this form of E-Literature.

  2. bberling
    February 12, 2015 at 9:06 am

    I never thought of lyric videos as a form of electronic literature but after watching this video in that context, I was able to see that that’s exactly what it is. The pace of the video, color, font, size, and arrangement of words all contribute to the way the creator is to interact with viewers. Each word from the song is accounted for no matter how fast Eminem raps. There are plenty of other lyric videos that I’ve seen in the past that I now consider e-lit, however, this particular video was rather interesting to watch in that context considering how hip-hop artists and rappers carry stigmas of not being real artists, parallel to some e-lit authors that are questioned as true writers.

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