The 5 Pillars of Rapping – How Rapping Really Works!

Most people don’t realize that there are different mechanisms that make rapping work! You see, when you hear someone rapping you may perceive it as one thing but you’re actually hearing 5 things working at the same time. I like to refer to these as the 5 pillars of rapping.

Each pillar requires a different set of skills that you must master. And there’s an order to learning them because each pillar supports the next pillar. It’s very much like building a house because a house is only as solid as the foundation that it’s built upon.

(Lyrics used for this demonstration)

I can 

teach you how to rap   tho many people think it’s make-believe

(B)They think you gotta be born with it like baby teeth

Ironically they couldn’t form a sentence or convey their speech

Without the teacher teaching them how to say all their ABC’s 


Speaking of foundation, Rhythm is the foundation of rapping or anything musical for that matter. I like to define Rhythm as your ability to identify the 4 beats within every bar correctly. At this stage, you should also understand music theory basics such as music notes, bars, and tempo.

Rhythm is the magnet that allows you to lock onto the beats within every bar! Rhythm is the 1st pillar you should master because without it everything else will crumble!


The second pillar is cadence. Your cadences are the dance moves that you learn as a rapper and they use a combination of many types of music notes.

You should also start learning how to scat at this stage. Scatting is the ability to recall and improvise cadences on the spot as well as transition between different types of cadences.

This pillar is all about being the musician!


The third pillar is translating cadences into lyrics. Once you’ve become a solid musician during pillar #2 you must now learn how to make musical patterns and meaningful lyrics work together.

This pillar requires you to be an engineer as it will test your problem-solving skills. Most of the time your cadences and lyrics won’t magically fit automatically so your must use a combination of improvising your cadences via scatting as well as manipulating your lyrics to make them work together.

Again, you will need the skills of scatting cadences from Pillar #2 in order for this pillar to work!


This is the pillar that most new rappers begin on which is why they tend to struggle so much! Because unless you have mastered Pillars 1-3, your lyrics will never sound good over an instrumental!

This is because rappers are musicians and they are writers, but it’s the musical part of rapping that makes the lyrics sound so good!

I like to think of this pillar as The Author. This is where you develop the skills of expressing yourself in such a way that it captivates your audience and leaves them wanting more. 

You will learn how to paint vivid pictures with words and use different literary devices to make your writing as entertaining as possible to keep your listeners hooked from beginning to end.


The final pillar is the delivery. Now that everything has been created it’s time to deliver it to the ears of your listeners with energy and emotion!

You can have the musical and lyrical aspect of your rapping perfect but it will never have the maximum impact on the listener without solid delivery.

This pillar is all about acting! Even though you have spent hours perfecting your raps, you must say it with some feeling and conviction! If you don’t feel what you say, then why should anyone else?

Where To Begin?

I always recommend that rappers first focus on building their rap skills starting with Pillars #1 and #2. That’s why I created a free rap course called “5 Minutes To A Better Rap Flow” which will provide you with rap drills to help you plant a solid foundation with your rhythm and cadences. You can check it out by clicking here and be sure to save it for future use!

There you have it! That’s the 5 Pillars to Rapping! I hope this helps you understand how rapping really works and gives you a strategy in how you approach learning to rap! If this lesson was helpful or if you have any questions please drop them in the comments section below!

I hope this helps you Be A Better Rapper Now!

  • Great article, i love how you analize the different aspects and break them down in video and writing! Big love from Argentina Cole! Independent artist and producer here working on my grind

    • Thanks Tomas! I’m glad that you’re enjoying my content and thanks for your positive words! I’m wishing you the best on your musical journey! Much love to Argentina from The States! ✌️? – Cole Mize

  • Excellent video Cole, I have only recently started to work out the last 2 pillars and just started work out flow / cadence before that You always find a way to explain it easily to understand. Top job, couldn’t have done it without your great vids
    Deffinatelyone of the best yet ?

    • Thanks for your kind words Gary! I’m really glad to hear that my content has been so helpful! Keep up the great work and I’ll be sure to do the same! ✌️? – Cole Mize

  • Thanks, Cole…
    This is what I’ve been waiting for, glad you gave me the map.
    Be blessed.

  • Related Post