A Message To Struggling Rappers Learning How To Rap



If you’re a rapper, that’s struggling. I’ve got some good news for you. You’re not alone! And there’s nothing special or unique, most likely, about your struggles that every other rapper has had to go through. Regardless if it’s Eminem or Jay-Z or whoever, at some point in time, we all had to be new at something which means we was not skilled at it, which means we had to learn a lot!

 

You’re Not Alone

If you’re struggling, just know. First off, you’re not alone, and there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s totally normal. Second of all, I want to share with you a few pieces of advice that I think you may find encouraging regardless of what you’re struggling with. Likely. One of the things that I’m going to mention in this video is going to hit it home with you. And I think that you will be helped by it immensely.

Focus On The Musical Side of Rapping

Number one is the way that most rappers approach rapping is they focus on writing lyrics first because that’s what they understand. That’s what makes sense to them. They know rhymes, they understand language. It only takes a minute for them to realize that that does not sound so good over an instrumental for some reason, and that’s because they haven’t connected the dots quite yet that rap is Rhythm And Poetry; music and writing and so if you’re focusing on the writing thing, which is cool. That’s important. But you need to focus on the musical part of rapping as well, the rhythm part.

Rhythm

And so focus on developing some basic ear training stuff like being able to hear beats, being able to lock your body onto the beat so your body is keeping count while you’re rapping and learning things like scatting and things of that nature.

These are things that are going to help you develop your rap flow tremendously. And until those things are developed, you’re going to continue to struggle in that department. So really the thing you should focus on is the musical element, developing your musical ears, if you will, and if you still need some guidance for that. There’s two videos or two things I recommend you check out.

One video I did on establishing a rhythm that’s going to teach you how to hear beats and music and explain what that is, and it’s going to help you lock on to what your ears and your body. That’s very, very important. Everything. Anybody who wants to do anything in music, that’s the first thing you should learn right there.

Scatting

Number two is you need to build upon that musical foundation that we call rhythm and start learning how to scat And scatting is a multi-tool that we use in rap. We use it to come up with really dope cadence ideas for our rap flows and stuff. We use it to come up with hooks. We also use it for what I call the third pillar of rapping, which is engineering, which is problem-solving.

So when you’re trying to get your lyrics to work with a cadence perfectly, but they’re not quite working together, a lot of times we lean on the scatting so we can change things about a cadence in many different ways to make it fit closer with how our lyrics are supposed to be. So a lot of people don’t realize that rappers are musicians.

It’s just not obvious because we are the instrument to think about any other instrument, like a guitar, for example, or some drums. They don’t have any words that go with them. It’s just notes that are playing on the instrument. That’s essentially what we do with scatting. We’re not saying real words. We’re not freestyling, saying real words. We’re making sounds with our mouths to create music.

And so the better you get at that, the more fluent you will be with your rap flow and less boxed in you will be to any cadence because you could take any cadence and tweak it and change it a little bit to make it do what you need it to do to make it work better with your lyrics.

So I have a free rap course that I created on YouTube called 5 Minutes to a Better Rap Flow. It’s going to go over a lot of these basic things I’m talking about right now, and it even gets into scatting as well. So make sure you check that out. If you’re new to rapping and you’re trying to build up those musical chops.

Songwriting

Another thing a lot of people struggle with when it comes to rapping is songwriting. A lot of people struggle with finishing songs or getting lost while they’re writing a song or not knowing where to take a song, not knowing really how to approach it in the first place. A lot of rappers, they’ll just write down the first line that comes to mind, and then they’ll just kind of let the rhyme dictate the direction of the song.

So whatever their rhyme is, whatever the next rhyme is they think of, they allow that to change the direction of the song or dictate the direction. If there wasn’t a direction at all in the first place. And so a few things that I recommend with that is it’s best to have some type of game plan in mind before you start writing lyrics down.

Try to have an idea of what the vision is for the song. What ideas come to mind when you listen to this instrumental that you’re rapping over? That’s assuming that you are writing to a beat. A lot of people don’t write the beats, and that’s not necessarily a mistake, but it can cause problems later down the line when you’re trying to rap over an instrumental.

So if that’s you, then I recommend using like a free metronome and write to a certain tempo. Just pick a tempo and write to it. At least, you know, it’s structured musically that way. And you can literally Google Metronome and Google has a built in metronome on there and you just let the tempo in. It’ll just go to each beat and you just kind of use that to structure your lyrics to the beats and stuff like that.

But going back to songwriting, it helps to have a plan while you’re writing a song. I think of songwriting almost like driving a car. Typically you don’t jump into the car unless you have a destination. It helps to have a little bit of game planning that goes into songwriting that way. At the game planning stage, you can kick around all these different creative ideas.

You can think of different ways you could approach the song. Like I always use the example, like if you’re writing a song about a bad breakup or you start verse one, we’re talking about how you get broke, or do you start verse one with like you trying to build the courage to ask the girl out and then she eventually breaks your heart somewhere else In the song you get what I’m saying?

Like, if you brainstorm, you can flip all those ideas around freely because you’re not committed to any lyrics yet you haven’t boxed yourself into something that you’ve already written down, so you can think creatively how you can spin things and attack that song from a creative angle.

That’s why I prefer planning things out first, and then I’ll typically focus on trying to knock out that hook first, because If I knock out the hook to the song I’ve already got almost half the song knocked out because it typically a hook typically repeats 2 to 3 times throughout a song. So that’s how I like to gain momentum very quickly when I’m approaching the songwriting process, and that prevents me from getting stuck because I have direction. So that way, while I’m writing the song, if I, if I let a rhyme take me off course, I’ll be able to realize it because I know, Oh, this is the direction we’re supposed to be going in, not this direction.

And I highly recommend a video I did recently that breaks down the process of writing lyrics, showing you a behind-the-scenes look at all the different things that us rappers are considering when we’re deciding on what that next line is that we’re about to write. Because we’re it’s like playing chess and you’re being very mindful of the next move you make, how it’s going to affect the moves after that.

Delivery

And another big thing, a lot of people struggle with is delivery. They don’t like the way they sound, they don’t like the way their voice is or they don’t like the emotions and stuff or the lack of emotions that are in their recordings.

This is so normal!

First of all, a lot of us just don’t like the way we sound, period. I know I’ve certainly fallen in that category as well. I’m hypercritical about how I sound. I’ll probably even play this video back and be like, eww I don’t like the way I sound! You know, there’s not too many of us rappers that are riding around in our cars blasting our own music. By the time we get done with the song, we’ve already spent so much time on it. We just want to move on to something else, you know?

But it’s common for you not to like your rap voice, but there are things that you can do to improve it.

One of the biggest ways to improve your delivery is just get busy recording and listening back to your recordings and thinking about, Okay, what is it that’s bothering me? What do I not like? And focus on trying to correct that. Like if it’s your accent, if it’s the way that you say certain words, if that’s bothering you, then be mindful of that. And now work on trying to adjust that to fix that.

Just keep getting more and more reps and more hours recording yourself and then playing it back is different. When you’re just speaking like I’m speaking right now live, that’s different from you recording it and then playing it back. It’s a different experience. You’re not feeling the resonance of your vocals in your body, in your head while you’re speaking, you’re hearing it being played back to you.

And so the way that the microphone makes you sound may be different than how you hear yourself. And so there’s like a lot that goes into that. And another practical thing to do is try to find another rapper that you somewhat sound similar to as far as your tone of voice. Like if you have a deep voice, try to find another rapper that has a deep voice that you think has a good delivery and pick up on things that you like about what they’re doing that you’re not doing per say, and try to bring some of those things over and start applying those to your raps and see if you can improve upon that.

Delivery is a tricky thing because we already have delivery typically in our speech, like if you’re upset, your voice, your emotions, the tone of your voice will typically change. We do that naturally and it’s totally different when we’re having to perform because it’s contrived at that point. It’s something premeditated and something that we planned out. And we’re trying to make that feel natural like we’re trying to reproduce what we are to do naturally but on the microphone, like own cue. And that’s tricky. And that’s something that is kind of hard to teach because everybody’s voice is different.

The Process of Mastering Any Skill

And one super important thing I want to leave you with is it’s okay to suck, okay? It’s okay to be inexperienced at something. One thing I don’t want you to rob yourself of in this life. I hope you get really good at one thing just once, because once you do, you realize there’s a process to getting good at anything and you can replicate that process with anything It is that you want to get super skilled it.

I was fortunate enough to learn this at a very young age, being in my school’s competition band in third grade, we went on to win statewide competitions and stuff like that. But I had a music teacher that pushed us really hard and I had to practice a lot, which means I failed a lot. And then that’s what led to us winning competitions as a whole.

And that was even more difficult because it’s not like I just had to learn it. The whole class had to learn how to do this one thing at one time together. That’s really, difficult!

And when I first picked up rapping, I realized that, Oh, this isn’t easy. I was like,¬†okay, I’ll just apply what I learned from band into this and I’ll just keep putting in the reps.

And so I hope you’re not discouraged just because you’re struggling with rapping. That’s not a bad thing at all. That’s normal. The way you succeed at anything is you simply just don’t give up after failing hundreds, thousands of times, every time that you fail, you’re incrementally getting better.

You Gotta Suck For A While

You may not realize it, but each time that you fail, you’re learning little micro lessons, improving things, tweaking things, getting sharper each time. It’s kind of like going to the gym. You can’t just go to the gym for a couple of months and expect to come out looking like The Rock or somebody like that. It’s a lot of hard work that goes into that. There’s also some other mitigating factors. If you know what I mean lol.

But results take time. It takes discipline, it takes consistency, and you got to be willing to suck for a while. Things are going to be difficult at first, but as you get better, things get easier and it becomes a lot more fun.

But don’t think there’s anything wrong with you just because you’re struggling. That’s totally normal. I’ve posted older songs from like Eminem, Jay-Z, even some of my stuff and I was letting you hear the progression of even the greats, like them hearing where they started at early on and seeing where they’re at now and how much they’ve grown.

None of us came out of our mother’s womb rapping like Eminem. Eminem didn’t even come out of his mother’s womb rapping like Eminem. You know, he talks openly about how much he studied other rappers. He has this one interview where he’s talking about how the first time he heard Yoke The Joker by Naughty By Nature from Treach, He couldn’t even write anything for the whole summer because he was just so blown away with how much better that Treach was than he was.

What he was doing when he wasn’t writing is he was likely studying Treach. And any time he receives an award, he’s always giving props to like 15, 20 other rappers because he’s crediting them with how good he is. And so we have a lot that we can learn from each other. And so don’t beat yourself up because you’re struggling.

That’s totally normal. But I really hope that you’ll persevere through it. If not with rap, something else. Just get really good at something and you will learn how to learn anything.

It’s just like playing a game. You start off from level one, even though the earlier levels are usually easier, as you advance the levels continue to get more difficult, but you also continue to get better, you know?

So I enjoy failing a little bit actually, because it means I’m challenging myself and I’m about to get better. So just know that you’re not alone. There are a lot of other people on this channel just like you, who are trying to grow. Feel free to interact with people in the comments section. There’s a lot of videos I have here that can serve you greatly that I’ve made throughout the years.

And check out some of the videos that I mentioned in this video. I think those will help you greatly. And I’m curious to know, let me know in the comments section below. What are some of your struggles? What do you feel like you struggle with the most? Drop them in the comment section below and let’s get a discussion going.

And get yourself a free copy of my Ebook The #1 Fundamental To Rapping below

 

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