What Should You Rap About? A Guide To Destroying Writers Block!

Have you ever attempted to write your next song only to be met by a crippling nemesis known as writers block? Of course you have! Anyone who is a creative has experienced these moments of utter frustration. So if you’re wrestling with the uncertainty of what you should rap about in your next song take a deep breath and relax as I attempt to alleviate your suffering with a little bit of perspective. Let’s get it!!

what to rap about while destroying writers block

What Should You Rap About?

First Person Is Only One Perspective

The first trap a lot of rappers fall into is thinking all their songs have to be about them. But let’s be honest about something, most of our lives aren’t that exciting! We go to school, clock into work, hangout with friends, come home and play video games and fall asleep binge watching Netflix in our jammies. Who really want’s to hear about that right?

When you’re trying to figure out what you should rap about don’t allow yourself to get boxed in by thinking your next song has to be a lyrical diary entry about the mundaneness of your every day life. Try to think about something exciting that happened in your past. Perhaps a struggle that you overcame, a close call, an embarrassing moment or a bad break up. You can gather concepts and ideas by things that happened in your past or allow your imagination to paint visuals of how you envision your future!

First Person Narrative

But you don’t even have to write about yourself at all! Writing about yourself is called first person which causes you to use a narrative such as I, we, mine, my, us and ours. For example, “I was stuck in the cold in weather 30 below and in less than an hour I couldn’t feel my toes.” I like to think of writing in a first person narrative as the equivalent of taking a selfie which there’s nothing wrong with! But if you can’t think of anything interesting to rap about concerning yourself then maybe it’s time to turn the camera around so you can capture the interesting world that surrounds you.

The Second Person Narrative

Once you’ve re-positioned your writing lens off you it’s time to focus your viewfinder on the world around you. The second person narrative focuses on someone else and uses words such as you and yours. You can use this narrative when you want to address someone else. Maybe you want to tell your crush how you really feel, express your opinion about a rappers controversial interview or apologize to your mom for that stupid thing that you did. The second person narrative changes your perspective from focusing strictly on you and brings someone else into the picture.

While using the second person narrative you can still bounce back and forth to the first person narrative. For example “I never thought that you would stoop so low! I was helplessly stranded and you left me to die in the cold.”This example is bouncing between you and the person you’re speaking to directly.

The Third Person Narrative

The third person narrative is best described as if you was talking to someone about another person. This narrative isn’t directly talking to a person but is rather talking about a person. It uses words such as he, she, it, they, him hers them, it’s, their and theirs. You can actually bounce between the first, second and third person narrative at this stage. For example, “Bro, I was so heated and livid. She left me freezing so I made a drastic decision.”

Ideas Of Things You Can Rap About

Now that you’ve been freed from thinking you can only rap about yourself I’m just going to shoot out a bunch of random ideas you could possibly use for your next song.

  • current events
  • trends
  • politics
  • money or lack of money
  • dating
  • activism
  • social justice
  • science
  • religion
  • goals
  • insecurities
  • battle raps (disses)
  • paying homage to (your favorite rappers, teachers, public servents, soldiers, lost loved ones)
  • your favorite thing to do
  • stuff you hate
  • stuff you love
  • mistakes you’ve made
  • make up a fictitious story
  • what if I was (rich, famous, another race, another gender, popular)
  • getting by, managing money, investing, being frugile
  • technology
  • drugs
  • psychology
  • someone you miss
  • something you regret not doing or doing
  • something that you wish would change (racism, sexism, classism, ageism, poverty, unaffordable health care, police brutality, unfair employment wages, cost of living)
  • what do you think about the current state of (Hip-Hop, education system, prison system, social media, economy, entertainment, games, movies, comedians, actors/actresses etc..)
  • your bucket list (things you want to do before you die)
  • where do you see yourself (in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, 30 years?)
  • conspiracies, cover ups, false flags, corruption, misinformation
  • media censorship
  • political correctness
  • paranormal, unexplained phenomena (ghosts, aliens, bigfoot, shadow people, miracles, weird coincidences)
  • sports
  • sex
  • hacking, identity theft, security, the future of computing
  • survival, primitive living skills, preparedness (what to do if all hell breaks loose?”)
  • nature and beauty
  • seasonal & special events (summer, winter, fall, spring, holidays, birthdays, graduation, anniversary)

Who Cares?

After looking at this list the Negative Nancy within you may be saying “They’re not playing these type of songs on the radio so no one is going to like my music unless I’m rapping about girls, money, partying or thuggin”. FALSE! Here’s two big reality checks. 1 everyone doesn’t listen to the radio and 2 most of what you hear played on the radio is due to the radios stations being payed by the record companies. Woo! did I just say that?? Yup!!

The bottom line is you should make the music that you want to listen to not what you think everyone else wants to listen to. If you want your music to get noticed then you need to stand out not blend in and the best way to do that is to simply be yourself. There’s never been an artist that everyone loves.

Regardless of how popular 2pac, Biggie, Jay-Z and Eminem are everyone isn’t a fan of their music. So just accept that your music isn’t for everyone and remove that unneeded pressure of trying to make music that everyone will love because you will just be chasing a mirage.

Lack Of Inspiration

The struggle with writers block isn’t just about not knowing what to rap about but it could also be due to a lack of inspiration. Here’s some ideas that can rekindle your creative flame.

Change Your Work Flow

Making music the same way for long periods of time can make you feel like you’re working on an assembly line at a factory which can suck the life out of your creativity. Consider changing up your work flow by using new tools. Try to write your lyrics without any music while only using a metronome. If you always write lyrics on paper try writing them in Evernote or vice versa. Instead of jumping straight into writing lyrics perhaps start by brainstorming and creating a storyboard for your song.

Change Your Environment

Perhaps writing in your bedroom while staring at drywall for hours just aint cuttin it! Go to a coffee shop, book store, library or park and allow a not as familiar environment recharge your creative juices!

Consume Something That Motivates You

We all need motivation to push ourselves harder on a consistent basis or we will become stagnant and just overall lazy. Find something that motivates you such as a good Hip Hop Documentary, book, article. YouTube video or movie. Over the years I’ve found different sources of motivation that I keep before me which serves as a constant reminder to keep pressing forward and to never give up!

Collaborate With Someone 

If you’ve been working in isolation for quite some time maybe it’s time to work live with another human being. It’s amazing the creative energy you can get when you collaborate with the right person. Consider reaching out to a fellow artist or producer to see if they would be interested in joining you for your next writing session.

Take A Break!

Taking breaks are just as important to being productive as work is. There is a such thing as getting burned out from working to hard for to long. I like to think of your creative juice like a cell phone battery. The more creative work you do the more you are going to deplete your battery so make sure you’re recharging regularly.

This could mean taking a break every hour to go outside and gaze at the scenery for a while. Or perhaps you don’t write anything for a week and instead focus on consuming content (books, documentaries, lectures and movies) that you can draw from once you start writing again.

As a creative person you are always outputting information and I can not stress enough how important it is that you regularly input information as well. This input could be learning more techniques on how to perfect your craft, reading up on current events, learning history, listening to new music or going out and experiencing new things in the world.

If you don’t do this you will inevitably run out of things to talk about. So the next time you’re trying to decide what to rap about just remember the wise words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Get To The Charga!!”

How Did I Do?

Did you find this article helpful? Have a question or comment? I’d love to hear from you so make sure you drop your 2 cents in the comments section below!

Comments

  1. says

    Rap is really cool. A There are a lot of topics covered in rap that do not get talked about much. I agree to collaborate with someone can give you fresh ideas because they have different experiences than you.

    • says

      My pleasure Wade! Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m glad that you enjoyed this article and I agree that there’s so many topics that never get discussed which is a big opportunity for rappers to fill in those gaps. And yes Collaborating is awesome! :)

  2. Chris ( Thin King ) says

    u did this gorgeously cole man. much love u really giving the rap society a lot man. Ive started using these before u made this article but I haven’t heard it from anybody else then u tho. I figured em out myself. i gotta say thanks for everyone who was in my shoes when i didnt know these techniques. I know I needed it back then and its gonna be very useful to them. keep them coming cole!

    • says

      Hey Chris, thanks so much for all your positive words of encouragement! It truly means a lot! I’m just grateful to be able to give back and help others out. Much love and respect and thanks once again for the support! :)

  3. Patrick Burke says

    Hey Cole, amazing article, I like what you were saying about taking breaks. I would spend 7 hours everyday writing and Than I just lost the motivation.
    Keep up the great content!

    • says

      Hey Patrick, thanks for the positive feedback! I’m really glad that you enjoyed this article and found it helpful! Keep up the hard work and I’ll do the same! :)

  4. Sahil says

    Amazing article man!! I was a victim of writer’s block.
    But now I’m feeling a lot better,more inspired.

    I’m writing a new horrorcore song.

    • says

      Thanks so much for the positive feedback Sahil! I’m really glad that you found my article to be helpful! That’s what it’s all about! Keep up the hard work! :)

  5. badmic says

    Everything was so helpful and awsome.
    I like the line that says you have to write the music u want to listen to, cuz before i used to remove a lot of lines that i make just because i think people won’t like it and won’t understand why i said it.
    Also, taking a break is helpful especially after writing a verse cuz your mind have to reset so you can talk about the same topic but in a different way if you know what i’m talking about.
    This article was amazing thanks for the information and i’ll try my best to come up with unique ideas and topics to rap about.

    • says

      Thanks for reading and commenting Bad Mic, I’m glad you enjoyed this article and found it to be helpful! Yes keep making the music you want to hear and taking breaks does wonders! Thanks for all the positive feedback and keep up the hard work and I will do the same! :)

    • says

      Great advice Jesse! Hollywood does this all the time with their “based on a true story” movies. And Rappers do it often as well. I actually recall Eminem stating once that he takes something that happened in real life and then tries to magnify it by like 10 times to make it more entertaining. Thanks for reading and commenting Jesse! Spot on! :) – Cole Mize

  6. Fejiro Eforhare says

    Great article, Mr. Cole. I think it’s kinda long and I got lost in that first and second person narrative stuff. Good work though.

    • says

      I think you should do both. Practice your favorite rap songs and then when you’re working on your own songs continue to reference to those rappers songs to give you direction and creative ideas. This is called referencing and it’s really powerful! I hope this helps! :)

  7. Melissa Finn says

    This is a very effective article on the topic. Thank-you for your thoughtful and sophisticated approach to your rap coaching. You write in a way that makes your analysis relatable. Your effort to speak with reference to the senses while trying to write (what is seen, heard, etc) puts the reader in a place of feeling like you really get the struggle to write (that you’ve obviously been there). Yes, the process is how you describe it and your recommendations for getting out of writer’s block are sensitive and sensible.

    • says

      Thanks so much Melissa! I sincerely appreciate your plethora of kind words! I’m so happy to hear that my teaching is translating well for you. Nothing makes me more proud as a teacher than to know that my lessons are reaching and helping others in a positive manner. Thanks again it truly means a lot to me! :) – Cole Mize

  8. says

    Another great article by you. I got an idea for a song I’ll do just from reading it.
    I have few questions for you – do you start with lyrics and then find a tune that fits? Or do you first find a tune? When I listen to my favourite songs, the tune complements the lyrics so well that I can’t tell if the lyrics were written directly to the music, or if the music was chosen so well.
    Do you write your own music or do you collaborate with someone?
    Thanks for doing this, I appreciate it.

    • says

      Hey Iva, thanks for your kind words! Great question as well! I produce my music but hears my personal favorite approach. The hook is everything! If you don’t have a great hook you don’t have a great song. So I come up with the hook first. Now sometimes I may be riding around in my car or taking a shower and hook just seems to come out of nowhere. As soon as it’s safe I will record the hook on my phone and then when I’m in the studio I will put music to it and then build the rest of the song around it.

      Or if I’m listening to a beat that’s already made I will first focus on the hook and get that worked out and then write my verses while listening to the beat. Writing without music as great but you will have to tweak your lyrics to fit whatever beat you choose to go with. I actually made a video of my fitting lyrics I wrote without a beat to a beat which you can check out here I hope this helps! :) – Cole Mize

      • shena says

        Hey I’m kinda lost trying to help a friend and we need bar sheets and can’t seem to find blank one anywhere that we can print any help

  9. Donovan says

    Thanks man, much respect! This helps because lately I’ve been stuck between trying too hard to sound good or just randomly writing stuff til I trip up on something good. Or I’ve just been plain laying back and thinking what can I do to make this verse, make this song, or make this hook better. Or what can I do to just plain out make it sound harder. But then, when I change it, the tweak ends up not going with the song at all and I end up not being able to remember what the original was. So I appreciate immensely the help on changing the perspective of the main “character” or subject. So, thanks very much and God bless. Keep doin’ what you doin’.

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