Langston Hughes uses a variety of different themes in A Montage of a Dream Deferred, such as overcoming the struggles of Harlem, unstable relationships, inequality, and African Americans trying to pursue their dreams. Hughes explores these themes throughout each of his poems as he portrays the struggles African Americans went through to accomplish their goals while fighting racism and poverty. Hughes’ use of form in his poetry is also equivalent to forms seen in hip-hop music with the use of rhythm, rhyme, storytelling, and signifying.
Likewise, Hughes’ use of orm and content in A Montage of a Dream Deferred mirror modern hip-hop music because of the similarities they share in artists struggling to pursue their dreams as well as the rhythm and rhyme schemes that they use. The content of Langston Hughes’ poem “Sister” relates to Kendrick Lamar’s song “Opposites Attract” because both mediums discuss the difficulties of relationships. Hughes begins the poem by talking about his younger, unmarried sister Marie, who is often caught flirting with a married man.
Hughes goes on to wonder why she won’t get a boyfriend, and he questions why she isn’t spending her time with a decent man. Another narrator comes into the poem, which we assume is a female, and she says to the speaker that a woman does the best she can. Finally, an unknown third voice comes into the poem saying, “comment on stoop”, which makes the readers think that Harlem is a place where people gossip because the third voice is interrupting the conversation that was occurring between the previous two narrators.
Kendrick Lamar’s “Opposites Attract” illustrates a woman that is unique to Kendrick because she is faithful, trustworthy, and strong, which is unlike any other woman Kendrick has been with. Kendrick thinks that she must have a secret motive because she’s too good to be true. The content of this song relates to “Sister” because in the poem, Marie is attracted to someone with an opposite lifestyle than her. The man she spends her time with is married with a child, and she is a young woman without a family of her own.
In “Opposites Attract”, Kendrick is with a woman that is nothing like he is used to because his relationships in the past have been an unfaithful mess. In the song, Kendrick writes, “Sometimes l, sometimes I feel we share/ Nothing in common, it ain’t fair”. Kendrick begins to second guess his ability to hold a relationship with this woman because it seems to him that they don’t have enough in common, which is what similarly happens in “Sister” when Hughes questions Marie’s relationship with the married man because the two don’t hold many commonalities.
It seems as though both Marie and the female in “Opposites Attract” are looking for a man that is different than what they’re used to; however, their choice in men ends up not working out because the men don’t treat the women how they want to be treated. This statement is explored in the line “We hurt people hat love us/ Love people that hurt us” because these women still want to be with the men in both the poem and the song even though the men are hurting them by being unfaithful.
Another poem from A Montage of a Dream Deferred that shares themes with a hip-hop song is “Question”, which can be compared to Pleasure Ps song “Boyfriend Number 2”. The meaning behind “Question” is a woman wants to find a man that is unlike any other that she has been with because she hasn’t been able to find one that treats her right. Not only is the woman in the poem asking for love and affection, ut also she wants basic needs such as food. In “Boyfriend Number 2”, the woman is having a hard time deciding which of her two boyfriends she should be with because they both give her different things.
Boyfriend number 2 seems to only be interested in the sexual part of the relationship because he tells his woman to call her when she wants to get freaky, and he talks about sex throughout the song. In both “Question” and “Boyfriend Number 2”, I think that the women are acting out toward their men because they desire a stable relationship, but they are having trouble finding one so they settle with something else. Not only does “Boyfriend Number 2” and “Question” match in content, but in form as well.
Pleasure Ps uses perfect rhyme in the first verse where he rhymes “steady’ and “ready’ and “navel” and “table”. Similarly, Hughes uses perfect rhyme in the words “do” and “too”. Another type of rhyme used by both artists is end rhyme. Hughes uses it between the words “lady’ and “daddy’ and Pleasure P uses it in “about” and “out”. A third way the form is similar between the poem and the song is the use of assonance because Hughes shows assonance between the words “man” and “cant” and Pleasure P uses it in the words “out” and “shower”.
Airplanes Part 2″ by Eminem and B. O. B connects to Langston Hughes’ poem “Advice” because both the song and the poem talk about how life may have struggles, but we have to persevere and live life to the fullest. “Advice” describes how we go through natural struggles in life, which are as simple as birthing and dying. This poem could also mean that we stress out about so many things in our life, and we worry about all the negatives when we should Just be enjoying the time that we do have by being optimistic. In “Airplanes Pt. “, Hayley Williams, Paramore band member, wants to make a wish on an airplane because they are far more common han shooting stars, and she has a better chance of her wish actually coming true this way. Then, B. O. B. goes on to say how he is trying to become one of the greatest rappers of all time, but he has to go through many struggles to make it to the top. For example, he expected his first album dropped to be a lot more successful than it was, but he still didn’t let this hold him back from achieving his dream.
Eminem ends the song by telling his listeners all the troubles he went through growing up, but look where those challenges got him today. He then says that we shouldn’t depend on hooting stars or airplanes, but we need to go out and take matters into our own hands. “Airplanes Part 2” mirrors “Advice” because Williams is being optimistic about things in her life, and she is doing what she can to make herself happy because most people would dwell on the fact that there aren’t any shooting stars, but she thinks of another solution.
In “Advice”, Hughes tells his readers to make time for a little loving in between. I interpreted this as we can’t sit down and let life pass us by because we are going to face a lot of difficulties in life, but it is our responsibility to not let this roblems consume us. Hughes even states in the poem that we all face similar challenges, death being one of them, and this is represented in “Airplanes Part 2” because B. O. B. and Eminem both tells us that rough childhoods or failed attempts at reaching our goals are not a good enough reason to give up on life.
The form of “Advice” and “Airplanes Part 2” also share similarities. There is an example of end rhyme in “Advice” where Hughes rhymes “mean” and “between, and then B. O. B. uses end rhyme in the words “pain” and “insane”. Another technique shared between the wo is the use of consonance in Hughes’ poem with the words “telling”, “loving”, “birthing”, and “dying”. Likewise, B. O. B. uses consonance in the words “eating”, “trying”, and “hoping”. A third technique used is alliteration where Hughes uses the phrase “little loving” and B. O. B. uses the phrase “the things that”.
T. l. and Justin Timberlake’s “Dead and Gone” can be related to Langston Hughes’ “Blues at Dawn” because both are talking about death whether it be literal or figurative. In “Blues at Dawn” Hughes speaks of a death that occurred in the previous poem “Night Funeral in Harlem”. “Blues at Dawn” is paying tribute to the deceased ecause it is hard for them to cope with their loss of a loved one, and they try to deal with this loss by simply not thinking about the person, and this is exemplified in the line “l don’t dare start thinking in the morning”. In “Dead and Gone” T. l. xplains that the old him is dead and gone, and he is starting fresh with a new version of himself because the old him was too wild and often up to no good. T. l. speaks in the song how he was shot and one of the bullets was stuck in him leaving him paralyzed. This is when T. l. realizes that he must change his life because the way he is living now is oo dangerous, and he needs to forget his old self and not remember him, much like the narrator in “Blues at Dawn” doesn’t want to remember the death they had to deal with. “Blues at Dawn” matches the form of the song “Dead and Gone” by T. l. nd Justin Timberlake. “Blues at Dawn” uses a form of repetition called anaphora throughout the poem by repeating the lines “l don’t dare start thinking in the morning” and “l don’t dare remember in the morning”. This is much like “Dead and Gone” because the lines “the old me is dead and gone” and “tryna find my way back home” are repeated multiple times as well. Not only do Hughes and T. . use repetition, but they use perfect rhyme as well. Hughes exemplifies it in the words “bed” and “head” and “before” and “more” while T. l. uses it in the words “take” and “sake” and “today’ and “say’.
Also, the forms of “Blues at Dawn” and “Dead and Gone” are similar because they both use alliteration. In “Blues at Dawn” the phrases “don’t dare” and “thought thoughts” are used, and in “Dead and Gone” the phrases “time to think” and “make mistakes”. “Ultimatum” discusses the struggles that were going on in Harlem back in the day. A woman was with her man paying his bills, but she couldn’t stay with him anymore ecause she thought he was being unfaithful. She wanted to know why her man didn’t recognize all the things that she did for him, yet he still wasn’t treating her right.
She had no choice but to give him an ultimatum, which was to stay with her and be faithful to her, or he would be cut off and would have to find someone else to pay his bills. “Ultimatum” relates well to “No More Drama” by Mary J. Blige in content because Blige is a strong woman who doesn’t need to depend on a man to be successful. The woman in the poem was able to take care of herself as well, and she had a man that was dependent on her. No More Drama” begins with the lines, “So tired, tired of this drama/ You go your way, I go my way/ No more, no more/ I wanna be free”.
This relates perfectly to “Ultimatum” because the woman is ready for a change because she doesn’t want to be treated unfairly by her man anymore. Although the woman in “Ultimatum” hasn’t left her man yet, she knows that she can be independent without him. Langston Hughes’ poem “Mellow’ could be associated with “Can’t Believe it” by T- Pain. In the poem, Hughes is trying to get the point across that it is more thrilling for black celebrities to hook-up with white women than black women. It could be more thrilling because at this time in history it was dangerous and breaking all kinds of social rules.
A racist society built a “high tension wall” between blacks and whites, especially when it comes to relationships. Getting over this wall makes it even more thrilling for black men because they want the plums falling from the trees, which could be known as the forbidden fruit. This forbidden fruit, which relates all the way back to Adam and Eve, is a metaphor comparing the white women to the plums falling from the trees. T-Pain relates to “Mellow’ because it is Just as thrilling for him o have all this women want him as it thrilling for the black celebrities in Mellow.
T- Pain isn’t used to getting all of this attention from women because once he became a celebrity a lot more women became interested in him. However, T-Pain’s relationships aren’t breaking any social norms like they are in the poem. “Mellow’ and “Can’t Believe It” are similar in form because they both use end rhyme. Hughes rhymes the words “wall” and “fall” and “thrilling” and “killing” and T- Pain rhymes the words “out” and “bout” and “persuasion” and Another shared technique is the use of similes where Hughes uses the line “white girls fall ike pale plums from a tree” and T-Pain uses the line “Shawty like a model out the Penthouse sheets”.
Through form and content Langston Hughes’ poems in A Montage of a Dream Deferred relate to modern hip-hop songs through the themes and techniques that they share. A Montage of a Dream Deferred describes the American dream that African Americans were struggling to reach despite unstable relationships, poverty, and racism. Hughes is able to correlate his poetry to hip-hop music because many hip-hop artists write about the same struggles that both they as individuals experienced and the people in Harlem experienced in the late 1900’s.