How Medieval Troubadour Poets Influenced Hip Hop

How Medieval Troubadour Poets Influenced Hip Hop

For centuries, Troubadours have been captivating audiences with their skillful rhymes and poetic tales.

But what many don’t know is that their influence can still be felt today in the form of Hip Hop music.

In this entry, we’ll explore how the troubadour tradition has shaped modern Hip Hop music as an art form and source of expression.

Introduction: What is Troubadour Poetry?

The word “troubadour” is derived from the Old French verb trobar, meaning “to find,” and its noun trobador. These terms were first used in the 12th century to refer to musicians who composed and performed songs of chivalry and courtly love. The troubadours were a class of professional poets and musicians who flourished in southern France between 1100 and 1300. Many of them came from the nobility, but some were also commoners.

The troubadours wrote poems in Occitan, a Romance language spoken in southern France at that time. Their works are characterized by intricate rhyme schemes and meter, as well as by themes of chivalry and courtly love. The troubadours’ influence can be seen in the works of later poets such as Dante Alighieri and Geoffrey Chaucer.

In recent years, scholars have also begun to recognize the debt that modern hip hop owes to the troubadours.

The troubadour tradition reached its height in the 12th and 13th centuries, when hundreds of professional troubadours traveled throughout Europe, performing for royalty and other elites. Many of these troubadours were from Occitania, but others came from Italy, Germany, England, and elsewhere. The troubadour style of music spread widely during this period, influencing the development of other genres such as Italian Trouvère music and Minnesang in Germany.

During the 14th century, the Black Death ravaged Europe, killing millions of people and causing economic upheaval. This led to the decline of the Troubadour tradition, as many people turned away from leisurely pursuits such as music and poetry. However, the legacy of the Troubadours lived on in the works of later generations of poets and musicians.

How Troubadour Rhymes Transformed into Modern Day Rap

Troubadour rhymes are characterized by their use of repetition, wordplay, and metaphors. This type of rhyming was often used to tell stories or communicate messages. Troubadour rhymes were also known for their use of assonance, which is when two or more words share the same vowel sound.

Rap artists began using troubadour rhyming patterns in their songs in the 1970s and 1980s. They would often use repetition and wordplay to create a catchy hook or chorus. Rap music quickly became popular due to its fresh sound and poetic lyrics.

Today, many modern rappers still use troubadour rhyming patterns in their songs. This type of rhyming helps to create a unique flow that can be both catchy and lyrical. If you listen closely to some of your favorite rap songs, you may be able to hear the influence of troubadour rhymes!

Since Troubadour poetry is a type of poetry characterized by its use of rhyme and meter, as well as its focus on the emotions, there are many examples of troubadour poetry in Hip Hop music today. 

One of the most famous examples of a rapper using troubadour poetry is Tupac Shakur’s ‘Dear Mama.’

In this song, Tupac pays tribute to his mother with beautiful and moving lyrics that are clearly inspired by the troubadour tradition. Another example is Nas’ ‘I Can,’ which uses elements of Troubadour poetry to create a powerful anthem about overcoming adversity.

There are many other examples of modern rappers such as Kendrick Lamar who have been influenced by Troubadour poetry. As hip hop continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see even more artists drawing on this rich tradition for inspiration.


Much like other forms of classical expression such as stream of consciousness which found its way into Hip Hop classics like Ghostface Killa’s ‘Supreme Clientele’, it is clear that the Troubadour Medieval Poetry tradition has had a lasting impact on the poetic rhymes of today’s hip hop.

From the use of lyrical devices, to the intricate wordplay and clever metaphors, troubadour influences can be seen in many modern rap lyrics. Hip hop has evolved from its humble beginnings as a form of expression for marginalized communities into one of the most popular genres in music today due in part to its roots in ancient poetic traditions.