In effect since 2007, accessible to the public since 2009, Josh Langhoff’s The Flowtation Device is a typographical system of representing rap lyrics for rhythmic analysis. (Much respect to RapMETRICS and the late Adam Krims.)


1. to make rap lyrics readable, in rhythm, from the page;

2. to foster musical analysis of flow by rendering flow visible;

3. to chase hypotheses and revel in some glorious musical talent.


CAPS = syllable on beat (usually equivalent to 8th note)

small = syllable on offbeat (usually equivalent to 8th note)

* = beat without syllable

. = offbeat without syllable

/ = barline separating groupings of (usually) four beats

— = beat bearing second half of “carryover syllable”, a syllable with duration of more than one half beat

_ = offbeat bearing second half of “carryover syllable”

STRESS or stress = syllable with unusual vocal stress (rarely deployed)

(BRACKETS) or (brackets) = collection of short syllables with duration equaling one-half beat (usually equivalent to 16th notes)

UNderlined = triplets

Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” opener, “His palms are sweaty, knees week, arms are heavy, there’s vomit on his sweater already, Mom’s spaghetti,” becomes :

hisPALMS(_uh) /

SWEATy * . KNEES_WEAK . / ARMS_AREheaVYthere’sVOmit /

ONhisSWEAterALreadY . / MOM’S_SPAghetTI


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