How To Rap: Establishing Rhythm pt.2


When you are learning how to rap one of the most important things that you need to grasp is how to count. By count I mean understanding how to count your beats per measure. Think of this as the foundation to a house. If the foundation is not rock solid then the house will always be unstable. The same applies to rapping. If you don’t learn how to count your beats per measure you will often be off beat and your rhythms wont have any solid structure to them. This article is a follow up to my previous post about establishing rhythm. Let’s dig deeper shall we?

Hold On To The Towel

Often times when people are trying to learn how to rap they will quickly get frustrated and want to throw in the towel. They often come to the conclusion that maybe they just don’t have the talent or rhythm to rap. I personally feel like anyone that doesn’t have a handicap or disability that may hinder them from rapping has the potential to learn how. I think the problem is that some people may be trying to run before they have learned how to crawl. It’s important to give your self room to learn & grow by starting out at a beginner level before you try attempting things on an advance level.

The Key

I first learned how to count my beats per measure when I joined my schools band in 3rd grade. Before we ever began playing sheet music we were taught how to count our beats. My teacher knew that it would be pointless to try and teach us anything until we learned how to count. Having this understanding is the key fundamental when learning to do anything in sync with music such as dancing, playing drums and of course rapping.

Work Up To 16

In this video I give you examples of how to rap to a 4 count, 8 count & 16 count. At first it will sound like a nursery rhyme but by the time I reach the 16 count it will all come together. Rappers typically rap in a 16 count rhythm which is really advanced. So if you are just starting off and are struggling with rhythm I recommend trying to rap to a 4 or an 8 count rhythm first. Once you feel like you have got those down pat move on to the 16 count.

Please let me know if you found this video helpful and if you have any questions, comments or feedback please drop your 2 cents in the comments section below.

    • Hey Tre Monster I’m glad you came across this video. You’re exactly right, this is the foundation of rapping at its most basic level. Everything is built upon these simple counts that I discussed in this video. Thanks for taking the time and comment and let me know my videos have been helping you out! If you ever have any questions or suggestions always feel free to stop by hit me up. Thanks again and take care!

  • Hi Cole,
    Hiphop and Rap was my influence for writing the poetry/rhymes that I write today.

    Although I can rhyme, I lack all technical expertise as I could never find information on it anywhere and I’ve never played music of any sort.
    Your videos feel like they were made just for me as it explains the simplest of things such as this counting the beats to a measure.

    It was simple things like this which stopped me from moving from my ‘street poetry’ to being able to write lyrics and have consistent structure.

    I cannot thank you enough and I will be a frequent viewer on your site as I return and gain more knowledge after I’ve learned to ‘crawl’ once again..

    Thanks a million once again…

    • Hey AZ,

      Wow! Hearing feedback like this is the biggest reward I could ever receive for doing what I do! It’s humbling and honoring to know that the content I’m working relentlessly on putting out is reaching and helping others! So thank you AZ for taking the time to share your struggles along with your successes and I am truly grateful to be able to help you along the way. If you ever need anything or have any questions just let me know. You are not in this alone and I am cheering you on! Keep up the great work and I will strive to do the same! I hope this finds you well! Take Care! 🙂


      Cole Mize

    • Hey John, I’m glad that you are finding me videos helpful! That’s what it’s all about! Man I got my mic about 11 year ago and have been rocking it ever since! I use a shure KSM 27 Condenser Mic. But in my opinion there are tons of great mics on the market to use, this was just my first pro mic that I purchased and have been satisfied with the results. If you ever want some recommendations let me know what your budget is and I can help you out. Thanks for watching and commenting!

  • So, everything starts from the kick?
    I mean when am I starting to rap, from the 1st kick or snare?
    Sorry, I am just a little bit confused.

    • Hey Rod, Technically everything starts with the 4 beats that’s in each measure. The kicks typically fall on the 1st and 3rd and the snares on the 2nd and 4th beat. But the kick and snares aren’t always there which is why it’s good to use them as training wheels but don’t rely on them to keep your rhythm. Instead rely on your body movement. Make sure you watch me lesson on Establishing Rhythm Pt.3 and if you would like to learn more about different ways to can start your bars watch my lesson called how to catch the beat. I hope this helps 🙂

  • I just descoverd you and I’ve been working on my own stuff with out any back ground for any musical basics at all , and I’ve been told I was pretty good , I’ve been using you’re advice and the is probably the most useful and amazing how to basic I’ve ever watched , it’s a godsend and I appreciate the time and effort you put into this work , even though it’s 3 years later , but I’m stuck with my tempo , every song I wright sounds the same just with a different beat and words how do I fix that ? Any advice ?

    • Hey TJ, I appreciate all of your positive feedback on my work! I’m glad that you have been finding it to be helpful! If you’re sounding the same on every track it’s likely because you are using the same cadences. If you would like to learn more about cadences and how you can build upon your cadence arsenal check out my lesson on creating cadences. I hope this helps! 🙂 – Cole Mize

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