Often times we as rappers strive for perfection. This could mean landing on all the beats perfectly or having our rhyme schemes line up seamlessly from one bar to the next. While this is awesome and important It isn’t the determining factor that dictates if your song turns out amazing. In this article, I’m going to be sharing with you how you can add more character to your songs. So without further ado, LET’S GET IT!!
In music and many other art forms perfection really isn’t the main goal. It’s really all about feeling, vibe, character, groove, and emotion. Plus perfection is totally subjective from one individual to another. It’s kinda like the “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” type of thing. What you may consider perfect someone else may consider flawed. And that’s okay! Everyone has their own personal tastes and preferences and your music will never be for everyone anyways!
Most of us think of perfection as meaning flawless and free of mistakes. Here’s a more healthy way to view perfection “having all the required or desired elements, qualities, or characteristics, needed to feel complete, whole, and lacking nothing.” And who decides if your song meets this type of criteria?…..YOU DO!!!
In Tune With Your Gut
One of the most valuable tools you will ever use making your own rap songs is your gut! What I mean by gut, is your own intuition. What makes a great artist is someone who is really in tune with themselves. And because of that, being an artist can also be viewed as a path of discovering who you truly are as an individual. So many people are out of tune with themselves because they’ve devoted their whole lives to trying to please other people! They were told by their teachers what the “right” answers were. Their parents taught them right from wrong, and what to believe. And once that person grows up and gets a job, they must dress and speak a certain way that their employers require.
Back To You
Being a rapper is all about self-expression and in order to express yourself accurately, you must know yourself. And we as rappers aren’t one-dimensional. There are many different layers that make up who we are, and we have our own distinctive personalities, preferences, tastes, humor, beliefs etc…
As you’re developing as a rapper it can be tough at first to trust your “musical gut” because you’re building your skills and don’t quite trust your instincts yet. But if I could give you one piece of practical advice when “perfecting your rap songs”, it would be to pay attention to when something doesn’t “feel right”. You know, it makes you feel uneasy. It sticks out as if it’s a distraction. And it almost makes you cringe when you hear it. That’s your gut telling you “Hey buddy! This part isn’t right! Try to figure out a solution!”.
These are the parts of your song that need work. The first stage to perfecting a rap song is being able to identify what parts need tweaking. You won’t always know exactly how to fix them initially, and there are usually multiple ways to do it. You will have to try out several solutions to see which one works. But you will know when you have nailed it because your gut will tell you! You will notice that the part you’ve been working on suddenly doesn’t make you cringe anymore! You will also notice that your shoulders tend to relax more during that section and you will likely start bobbing your head to the music because now your “gut” is truly feeling it!
This is why you will often hear me say that in rapping there are no rules there are only techniques. This is also why I state to learn all the techniques you can and then be free of them. Don’t allow them to bind you and kill your creativity but rather use them as tools to help you reach your desired result. As a rapper, you should strive to make the music that YOU want to hear!
In a previous lesson of mine, I demonstrated how you can add more character to your cadence by intentionally rapping certain syllables “offbeat”. This is known as “swing”.
See you don’t always have to perfectly land on the beat for something to sound good. In rapping, there’s this thing called The Pocket. “The Pocket” is basically a small amount of space that begins slightly before and after each beat. In music, we call this term “swing”.
When you add swing to certain syllables you’re intentionally making them not land perfectly on the beat to add more character to them. So as crazy as it sounds not trying to be perfect (flawless) can actually help you perfect your raps.
To watch me demonstrate how to add swing to your cadence watch my lesson on adding character to cadence by CLICKING HERE
If you want to dig even a little deeper, watch me demonstrate adding swing to particular musical notes such as quarter, eighth, sixteenth, triplet half’s, and triplet quarter notes STARTING FROM THIS VIDEO in my 5 Minutes To A Better Rap Flow series.