Today I’m going to show you how to improve your rap lyrics by using themes.
Themes will cause your rap lyrics to be much more cohesive, connected and entertaining.
For example, let’s take a listen to an 8 bar verse that I wrote to an instrumental I produced called “Drowning”. If you like this instrumental you can get it over on my beat store. Let’s check it out.
Now in this example, there are multiple themes going on at the same time. What I mean is there is a main theme that everything is tied to and then there are smaller sub-themes within it.
MAIN THEME – Narcissism
Now my main theme is “dealing with a narcissistic person”. I chose not to make this theme obvious. I never say the word narcissist and I wrote it in such a way that if someone listens to these lyrics who’s familiar with psychology then they will get to conclude that I’m talking about narcissism because of the word “gaslighting” and also “gassing you up” which is slang for a psychological term called “love bombing”.
I love this style of writing because it’s not so on the nose and allows the listener to discover what you’re really saying without you having to actually say it.
Now underneath my main theme of “dealing with a narcissistic person,” I have a few sub-themes.
The first one is Light and Darkness which is highlighted in yellow.
I used the words “shine, light, darkness, lighting, and lightning”
Now when you’re using themes in your rap it’s important to not chase them to the point that they take away from your message. I could have used many more words for this theme but I didn’t feel the need to, such as “shimmer, radiant, sun, rays, gleam, candle, wick, flame, fire, flash, strobe” etc..
The 2nd sub-theme is “silence” which is highlighted in green. I use the phrases “They gone strike, pull the cable from your mic, aiming for ya hype man, and silence your message”
#3 Performing On Stage
Technically there is also an additional theme here as well which is “performing on stage”.
Instead of outright saying someone is trying to shut me up I said it in more of a poetic, indirect way by saying “pull the cable from your mic”. And instead of saying they’re trying to shut down my friends who back me up I said “they aiming for ya hype man” If you’re unaware, the hype man is the other person who is on stage with you while you’re rapping who says some of your lines with you and helps support your performance.
Also my last line serves to provide a conclusion to my message and I say “beat it like Mike” which is referring to the song “Beat It” by Michael Jackson which also ties into my music performance theme.
And the final sub-theme I used briefly was “direction” which is highlighted in pink and uses the word “right” and left”. Again I could have used more words here to tie into “direction” but I didn’t have much room left in my lyrics plus I didn’t feel it needed it anyway.
Can You Do It?
So here’s my challenge to you, come up with some lyrics that use a main theme and at least one sub-theme and drop them in the comments section below!
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!