Today I’m going to be sharing 3 songwriting tips for rappers that are guaranteed to speed up your workflow! Before I knew these hip-hop songwriting techniques I wasted countless hours doing double work that could have been completely avoided had I used these simple but powerful techniques!
My first tip is to write to an instrumental. This will ensure that you’re structuring your lyrics to the beats of the instrumental correctly which will ensure you have a good rap flow and that your rhymes line up in time with each other.
If you don’t do this, and you’re not writing to your own internal tempo then your lyrics will not fit any instrumental correctly and you will have to go back and rewrite your lyrics to make them fit better.
If you find yourself in this situation I’ve done a video that will show you how to make your lyrics fit the instrumental better.
However, If you don’t have an instrumental to write to then write using a free metronome. Just search google for “metronome” and googles metronome should pop up. Now just set the tempo between 85-95 if you like rapping to east coast boom bap type beats. If you like trap-style instrumentals then set the tempo to around 55-75.
My 2nd tip is while you’re writing to an instrumental or metronome, periodically cut it off and continue writing. This will accomplish two things.
- It gives your ears a break and prevents you from getting burnt out and tired of hearing the same instrumental for too long which can cause you to lose inspiration and momentum with your songwriting.
- It will force you to primarily focus on your lyrics and what you really want to say. Rap is rhythm and poetry, and sometimes when we’re writing to an instrumental we focus too much on our rap flow and not enough on what we’re actually saying.
Also, I find it to be refreshing because sometimes the instrumental can be distracting when you’re trying to figure out how you want to say something.
My 3rd tip is once you’ve begun writing your verse periodically rap a few bars that come before the section that you’re writing. This will ensure that the section you’re currently writing doesn’t clash with the bars before it in any way.
For example sometimes when we’re writing our verses we forget where the last syllable of the previous bar lands and we end up placing a syllable from the current bar we’re working on in that same location.
This is why I like recording a rough draft of my vocals in a DAW while I’m songwriting so that I can easily track how everything is connecting together.
Also, be mindful of what comes after the bar your writing.
Now you may be wondering, how could you know what comes after the bar you’re writing when you haven’t written it yet! Well as writers we don’t always write in a linear direction beginning to end, left to right, sometimes we also write ending to beginning, right to left.
For example, if you came up with a really good punchline you may decide to place it on the 4th bar of a quadrant and then you may go back and write the 3 bars leading into it to set it up. This is a common writing technique rappers use to create punchlines.
Or if you’re working on the last 4 bars of your verse, it helps to jump ahead and listen to the hook to ensure that you end your verse in a way that transitions into the hook smoothly. This is also one of the reasons I commonly recommend people to write their hooks before they write their verses.
Hooks are typically repeated 2-3 times throughout the song, so by writing the hook first you’ve knocked out almost half of the song which gives you a ton of momentum. And this also allows you to look ahead when writing your verses so you know what your verses are leading into.
If you wish to learn more awesome songwriting techniques be sure to check out my video on How to begin writing a rap song.
What’s Your Favorite Songwriting Technique?
And I’m curious to know, have you ever used any of these techniques before? and if so which one? And is there a songwriting technique that you like to use that I didn’t cover in this video? Let me know in the comments section below!
The #1 Fundamental To Rapping
My name is Cole Mize with colemizestudios.com where I strive to make you a better rapper now! If you’re trying to perfect your rap skills make sure you get a FREE copy of my eBook The #1 Fundamental to rapping below. And always remember, when it comes to rapping, there’s no rules, there’s only techniques! Peace!