"Most emcees are also concerned about telling their own coming of age stories. Their voices are easily likened to the voices of young poets, often contemplative and introspective to the point of questioning their reality, upbringing, and the society that bore them. Yet, where a special form of attention is paid to crafting a poem or a prayer, it is seldom the same sort of attention used in writing a rhyme. The braggadocio aspects of emceeing are a distinguishing factor. Part of the unique power of hip-hop is its internal sense of competition. Every emcee is automatically pitted against the others. The competitive nature of the art helps create an environment where most are concerned about displaying their skills while at the same time putting down the skills or abilities of others. As in any gladiator-like sport, those involved are most concerned about not leaving themselves vulnerable on any given side. It is this factor that serves to distinguish the emcee form the poet. Whereas an emcee may see displaying his or her vulnerabilities as a weakness, a poet will often see the ability to display vulnerability as a strength. It is when the careful balance between the two is found that hip-hop is at its most powerful…"
- Saul Williams