Welcome to Deconstructing, the new series in which we analyse some of the best bars, verses and songs to come from the world’s finest rappers.
To kick things off we’ve taken a look at the meticulous storytelling, intricate rhyme schemes and well-rounded ability of Melbourne Hip-Hop legend Seth Sentry.
The easiest place to start with Seth Sentry is with his brilliantly dense rhyme schemes.
Despite all of the commercial success that he’s previously seen, there’s yet to be an instance where Seth isn’t on top of his game with pen in hand, spitting himself into legendary Australian emcee status.
To breakdown his manic rhyming skills, you could pick out just about any song of his and dissect it, so, believe it or not, we did that. Putting his Spotify on shuffle, we decided the first song that plays will be used as an example for his elite lyricism. His 2015 Hottest 100 entrant Hell Boy played, so Hell Boy it is.
The first verse of the track includes an unconventional yet classic Seth Sentry-type pattern, as he backflips around some standard multi-syllable’s with a mass of quick-fire internal rhymes.
Those internal rhymes come from the first-half of the seven syllable scheme which ends each bar, resulting in an effortless and endless flow which Seth directs any which way he pleases.
“So quick shorten my rehab stint, that shit’s boring I need that hit/
Got withdrawals, I itch for it, my skin crawls and my fleas have ticks/
I’ve been dormant, just relaxing, just ignoring these weak rappers/
What are critics on your dick for? When my Pitchfork review reads like this“
Another phenomenal example of Seth’s incomprehensible lyricism comes with his feature on 360’s Coup De Grace, in which he spits on the same rhyme scheme for an entire verse without missing a beat. That’s right… his entire verse rhymes with ‘chewing ass.’
“Man, I’m doin’ shit my own way/
I’m kicking bubblegum and chewing arse/
Slidin’ through your studio inside an Uber car/
Jumpin’ out with two bazookas and a suit of armour”
Distinct, intricate storytelling is perhaps one of Seth Sentry’s greatest and most famous skills, with a wide array of his most popular songs featuring either detailed personal anecdotes or a niche, neatly crafted narrative to follow.
Take his 2014 single Run, for example, a track that recounts the scoundrel-like attitude and experiences from Seth’s youth. An easy-to-follow account that makes you feel as if you were right there with a young Seth Sentry and his mates as they loitered around the streets of his hometown, through the exclusive personal anecdotes used.
“I used to think that the whole town was against us/
Punching through hedges and jumping over fences”
While his home-grown anecdotes (which are a prominent feature on his 2015 LP Strange New Past) are honest, raw and powerful, it’s his more elaborate storytelling which seriously sets him apart from just about any other emcee in the country right now.
Off each of his three projects, The Waiter Minute EP; This Was Tomorrow & Strange New Past, Seth Sentry flaunts his ability to paint a creative, expansive and vivid picture.
His breakout hit, The Waitress Song, is an easy example to use, as the Melbourne lyricist flips his infatuation with a random waitress into a three-minute masterpiece that traces his every thought and fear when it comes to building up the courage to speak to her. A story which is all-the-more interesting as he meticulously details his surroundings and the coffee house itself, from the wobbly table, to the rubbery bacon.
“Newspaper, bacon fried up, poached egg, slice of toast/
A long black, but the beans are always burnt/
And if the cup is dirty, she just cleans it with her shirt/
I wonder if she’s my ideal girl/
And what would happen if we dated in the real world”
Moving on to 2012 and the relatable, clever storytelling continues, this time, within the four-minute run-time of My Scene, the lead single off his debut album This Was Tomorrow. My Scene has the established emcee trying to find exactly that, as verse by verse he tries to find ‘his scene,’ be it with hippies, business men or anything in between.
Once again, it’s his excruciating attention to detail that helps set the scene (no pun intended), and the whole song is looped together nicely with the genuinely classic ‘Greg’ callback in the third verse.
In addition to the niche details and witty callback, Seth doesn’t forget to slip in some humorous wordplay to top off what is an all-time great Australian song, as highlighted below.
“I saw some pretty little hipsters in the corner/
Who told me that their favourite bands were ones that hadn’t formed yet/
I talked to lawyers dressed as sharks/
Or maybe sharks dressed as lawyers, either way I felt unsafe in the water”
Where Was You is a relatively deep cut from Seth Sentry’s 2015 LP Strange New Past, although it’s far-and-away what I would pinpoint as the greatest example of his masterful, movie-like storytelling.
With an overarching theme that touches on the likes of consumerism and materialism, Where Was You may seem like your regular ‘f**k a 9-5’ as it begins, but it is oh so much more than that.
Mr. Sentry takes the song in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested direction, slipping in a genius Japanese Sword callback from the first verse towards the end of the tune. The majority of emcee’s would be fine with a sword basically coming out of no where, although that is not Seth Sentry’s style, as we’ve now firmly established, setting him apart from many of his peers.
“[The sword callback] is last thing I wrote for the song… I didn’t want it to just come out of nowhere so I had to go back and set it up [in the first verse],” said Sentry on Genius.com.
“Pair of cartoon eyes with the dollars signs/
So I don’t really notice shit going on at times/
So while the living and the dead – they were swapping sides/
I was occupied, thinking about my job and what I wanna buy”
On their own, the nitpicking attention to detail, clever narratives and mind-rattling rhyme schemes are enough to make Seth Sentry a Hip-Hop legend in Australia, although to top it all off and tie it all together, he has a few more tricks up his sleeve.
Those tricks include well thought-out concepts (Dear Science, Room For Rent), an ear for wonderful production (Nic Martin, Styalz Fuego) and a profusion of relatable and nerdy pop culture references (Vacation, RapperTag).
Seth Sentry is a complete lyricist, and it comes as no surprise that he’s widely regarded as one of the countries top rappers by peers and fans alike.
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Written by Jarrod van der Staay