Billy Woods’s Literary Intertexts
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While—like all artistic forms—it allows for deviation from this standard rule, rap is heavily reliant on building blocks of sixteen bars and a refrain. In addition, rhyme plays a prominent role in structuring rap, which is why the form is also colloquially referred to as “rhyming.” In view of this, Billy Woods’s record Today, I Wrote Nothing was a considerable departure from the existing rap norm. On the record, Woods stylistically adapted a collection of works by Russian absurdist writer Daniil Kharms, which was also called Today, I Wrote Nothing. Kharms was known for writing short prose without any formal structure. Most of his stories deal with absurd situations and slapstick humour. The structure of the fragmented fiction is adapted into rap on Woods’s record. The long rap verses are replaced by short songs without any specific narrative. The record maintains the non-structure of Kharms’s writing, as well as its absurdity, but it abandons any semblance of traditional rap. The second important stylistic and structural choice made in Woods’s record was the integration of aspects of Flannery O’Connor’s writing, particularly its humour and darkness. The article will focus on how Billy Woods integrates intertextuality into his lyrics to give the songs additional layers of meaning.