Recording Rap Vocals: Spot Stacks Explained

What Are Spot Stacks?

Another very important recording technique to understand when you are learning how to rap is something called spot stacks. In my previous article, I explained what stacks are. Spot stacks are very similar to stacks but instead of them consisting of a whole copy of your main vocal they only feature certain parts.

Why Spot Stacks?

Spot stacks are typically used to highlight specific parts of your main vocal recording. This could be needed for several reasons. Perhaps you were running out of breath on your main recording and you need to add more energy to certain parts. Maybe you didn’t drag a certain word out long enough because you had to hurry on to the next word. Or perhaps your main vocals are perfect and you are just wanting to add another dimension of sound. These are all great reasons to use spot stacks. Spot stacks can be several words, 1 word or even just 1 syllable of one word. And as always there is no right or wrong way to do these and it is not necessary to do them on every track. Just do what you think is best for the song.


Just like stacks, there are different types of spot stacks. Of course, Static and Diverse spot stacks are two options as I explained in my previous article. The static spot stack would match the same time, tone and emotion as the main vocal and the diverse spot stack would be a different tone or emotion but still line up in time. But here are a few more variations of spot stacks.

End Rhymes: When you are doing end rhymes you simply are saying the last word or last few words of each bar. This gives your spot stacks a uniformed structure and when done properly it can really add a lot of extra character to your vocals. The consistency of the placement of these kinds of spot stacks allows them to be predictable and therefore they won’t be distracting from the main vocal causing them to blend very well without drawing too much attention to them.

Dual Rhymes: On the End Rhymes you are technically doing your spot stacks on the 4th beat of each bar. So in Dual Rhymes, you are basically doubling up from what you were doing on the End Rhymes. Which means your spot stacks will be on the 2nd beat and the 4th beat of each bar. All this is simply doing is decreasing the amount of time between spot stacks.

Quad Rhymes: When you are doing Quad Rhymes you are doing your spot stacks on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th beat of each measure. Again this is just another way to decrease the amount of space in between each spot stack while allowing your stacks to stay in a consistent and predictable format.

Sporadic Spot Stacks: This is the complete opposite of the three spot stacks mentioned above. Sporadic Stacks have no structure or uniformed pattern. These are probably the most common used. Not because they are any better than the others but a lot of artists don’t put much thought into their spot stacks and just hit record and do spot stacks wherever they wish. Almost like ad-libing or freestyling their spot stacks in a sense.

The pros to this method are you are going mainly off feeling and emotion which can bring out some really cool layers of sound that were not previously there. The cons are that Sporadic Spot Stacks can be somewhat distracting if not done properly. If you wish to do Sporadic Spot Stacks I recommend recording a stack as well. The reason is that if you only do a main vocal recording with a Sporadic Spot Stack then the parts where there’s only a main vocal may sound too small. Adding a stack will give the main vocal an extra layer and cause the Sporadic Spot Stack not to be as overpowering.

 How Did I Do?

I hope that you found this article helpful. If you have any questions, comments or feedback please drop your 2 cents in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you!

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