In the following line of a song, can you please explain why the article should be used here? And why article the not a or nothing?

And I don't say the hook unless I wrote the hook

From Eminem's song, Kamikaze

  • 1
    Note that lyrics are not a good place to analyze English grammar or usage. Lyricists, like poets, are granted considerable artistic license, and may freely mix up words and word forms in ways that would not be accepted in prose to match a rhyme or beat, or to evoke a particular image or emotion, or simply because they sound unusual. If you come across the same kind of construction in a newspaper or magazine article, we can more reliably explain the writer's intent.
    – choster
    Dec 27, 2018 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


The line you're referring to uses "the hook" twice. In the second instance of the phrase, Eminem is referring to a particular hook - the one he mentioned in the first instance. I also believe he's using a rhetorical device that requires the same phrasing for both.

It's worth considering how "a hook" would work in both instances.

"...unless I wrote a hook.":

This doesn't work because the first hook could be different than the second, i.e. that Eminem would only say a hook if he wrote some hook, not necessarily the hook he was considering saying. This doesn't fit the intent I believe he was trying to convey in that lyric.

"I don't say a hook...":

In this case, "a" or "the" could work.

"I don't say a hook unless I wrote the hook.":

Only Eminem would know for sure, but he likely made the choice to use "the hook" as a repetitive rhetorical device (epistrophe, I think). If I am correct (that he wanted to use the same phrasing for both instances), he would have been restricted to "the hook" since only "the hook" would work for the second instance.

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