How To Find Your Rap Voice



In this video I’m going to show you how to find your rap voice and improve your rap voice by using several techniques you can start using right now.

In this video I’m going to show you how to find your rap voice and improve your rap voice by using several techniques you can start using right now.

NOT ALONE

First I just want to let you know that if you don’t like the way your rap voice sounds, allow me to formally welcome you to the club because you are not alone!

Many of us rappers don’t like to listen to ourselves because we’re hyper-critical of our work which is why you won’t typically catch us riding around in our cars listening to our own music!

And if you’re new to recording then you’re likely not used to hearing yourself in headphones as well as recordings of yourself being played back to you.

But regardless of why you don’t like your rap voice, the good news is that your rap voice can be improved and here’s how you can do it.

THE SWEET SPOT

My first tip has to do with finding your sweet spot.

Most rappers who are struggling to find their rap voice are typically rapping with too much energy or not enough energy and usually the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle.

Too Much Energy

The reasons why rappers will rap with too much energy are typically either due to..

1 Loud Instrumental

Rapping loud so they can hear themselves over the instrumental in their headphones. In this case, simply lower the instrumental by -10 to -15 db and if you need to, raise the output level of your headphones. To digger deeper into this, check out my video called, why your rap recordings sound like crap.

2 Only Rapping Loud

The other reason rappers will rap too loud is because they are relying solely on rapping louder to add more emotion to their performance. And this can in fact be 1 great way to add more energy to your performance but if you rap too loud your voice may start to sound too thin and high pitched which can negatively impact the tone of your rap voice. To dig deeper into this check out my video on how to rap with more emotion.

Too Little Energy

The reasons why rappers won’t rap with enough energy are typically due to..

1 Lack of confidence

A lack of confidence which could stem from them not really feeling what they’re rapping because their lyrics may still need to be polished up a bit more to iron out some issues, or they may have just not learned or memorized their lyrics enough so it sounds like they’re reading off paper. If you wish to have as strong performance in the studio you need to perfect your lyrics and practice as much as possible before you record.

2 No room to breathe

They haven’t given themselves enough room to breathe so they hold back their energy to preserve the air in their lungs. If this is the case, either create some room to breathe in your lyrics and notate where those breaths are supposed to go so you don’t forget, or you can just punch in your vocals wherever you tend to run out of breath. If you wish to learn more about how to punch in rap vocals check out my video tutorial called “how to punch in rap vocals like a pro”.

I also recommend my video on my top 5 breathing techniques for rappers. 

1 Lack of confidence

And some people are just really chill people and don’t really speak with a lot of energy. For those people I would recommend rapping over instrumentals that have more of a relaxed and soothing vibe like a Mobb Deep – Quiet Storm type instrumental which is an east coast boom bap type beat  

Or a Metro Boomin – Space Cadet kind of beat which is a contemporary trap style instrumental 

I wouldn’t recommend trying to force out emotions you really don’t feel because it can come off sounding disingenuous.

The Sweet Spot

But regardless of where you are on the vocal spectrum, you’re typically going to get the best sound out of your voice by rapping closer to your natural speaking tone.

1 Normal Voice

For example, pretend you’re speaking to a friend that’s sitting across the dining room table from you in your house. (DEMO) Hey bro, you looking kinda hungry. You want something to eat? Ok.   This is your natural speaking voice and is typically going to be your voice’s sweet spot.

2 Higher Voice

Now I want you to try and take a step up from that and pretend you’re speaking (not yelling) to someone that you can see from across the room. This will likely still be in your voice’s sweet spot range. (DEMO) Hey Mom, do we have any more leftover spaghetti from last night? Aight, cool, cool, precaite it.

3 Lower Voice

Now pretend you’re speaking to your friend again at the table but you’re about to give them some bad news which requires you to lower your voice a bit more than your normal speaking range.  (DEMO) Hey man, IM’a give you a heads up. My little brother helped cook that spaghetti, and he didn’t wash his hands when he went and used the bathroom.

All three of these represent different ranges within your sweet spot that you can use when rapping that will likely sound good.

ENHANCING YOUR VOICE

Now that you’re more familiar with your vocals sweet spot, play around with enhancing your voice in the following ways.

STRAIN

Try to strain your voice by slightly tightening the muscles in your throat. If you need help accessing this muscle just act like you’re going to cough without making the cough sound. And play around applying varying levels of strain or force to that muscle while you’re rapping and see how it sounds.

This will give your voice a different texture and tone and will likely remove some of the bass from your voice.

You may also notice you can rap longer without having to breathe when using this technique because this will restrict the amount of air that can pass through your throat.

DEMO “It’s insane how adding a little strain can enhance your voice from sounding a little plan”

One of many rappers that does this is Lil Wayne. He actually has a pretty deep voice if you listen to his natural speaking voice, but when he raps he strains his voice a good bit.

For example, check out his song “Feelin like Tunechi” at the 1:04 second mark where he’s speaking and compare it to the part right after where he’s rapping. I’ll post a link to it in the video description.

Eminem has done this a lot in the past as well, especially when he was going for a more nasally sound like on his Slim Shady album.

DISTORTION

Another way that you can enhance your rap voice is by adding some distortion. This will give your voice a totally different texture that will feel more rough and rigid like sandpaper.

You can achieve this by using the same muscle in your throat that we used to add strain but now we’re just going to dig a little deeper and apply a little more pressure.

DEMO “To add some distortion increase the portion of force when you strain your vocal chords in”

 A few of the many rappers that use this technique are DMX and Vinnie Paz.

EXAGGERATION

And one more way that you can enhance your rap voice is by exaggerating your accent or emotions. A Lot of times in entertainment we will exaggerate reality to make things a little more interesting. So feel free to exaggerate aspects of how you normally sound.

A few songs you can check out where rappers exaggerate their voice is 

Woo Hah!! Got You All In Check – Busta Rhymes 

Rollout – Ludacris

Sick of Being Lonely – Field Mob

W.O.E

And one last thing I want to leave you with is this… It’s okay if you don’t think you have the most amazing sounding voice in the world! 

Oftentimes in life, it’s the imperfections that give things character and make them more interesting. Your voice is unique to you like a thumbprint and there’s no getting rid of it, so embrace it, own it. In life, it’s not about what you have, it’s about what you do with what you have. So use everything you learned in this lesson as a jumping-off point to help you find your rap voice and explore many of its possibilities. 

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 yourself 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.

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