In this video I’m going to be showing you how to write a rap in 4 easy steps.
1 PICK AN INSTRUMENTAL
The first step is to pick an instrumental that moves you in an emotional way. You can write a rap without an instrumental, but if you do it’s highly likely that it won’t sound good if you try to rap it over an instrumental due to it lacking musical structure.
Now that you have a dope instrumental it’s time to figure out what you’re going to rap about.
First start off by taking note of how the instrumental makes you feel, and write down any memories or thoughts that come to mind that are connected with those emotions. This is known as brainstorming.
If you’re struggling to think of some ideas you could do the following
For a sad instrumental you could rap about a loved one that passed away, a bad breakup, or something tough that you’re going through.
For an energetic instrumental you could rap about the come up such as making it as a rapper, being financially successful, or not letting any obstacles hold you back from achieving your dreams.
Once you get some ideas down, use them to commit to a concept or theme for your rap.
So now you want to think about your concept of theme and how you wish to express it in the beginning, middle, and end of your rap
For example, if you’re going to write about a bad breakup where do you want to begin your rap from? You could begin by picking up from after the breakup, or you could make it more suspenseful by starting off by saying I never thought I’d fall in love until I met you. Then you go on talking about how perfect this person was, and then about halfway into your rap you start talking about how you started seeing their bad side and you end your rap expressing how they ended up crushing you in the end.
Approaching writing a rap this way is very powerful because you’re not tied down or boxed in from writing lyrics or chasing a rhyme scheme. Since we’re still in the planning phase you can throw around so many angles and perspectives which give you so many possibilities!
Many new rappers make the mistake of writing down the first thing that comes to mind and then they start chasing their rhyme schemes and allow the rhyme to dictate where the rap goes. That can be fun and can work as well but you run a great risk of writing an aimless, random rap that lacks any clear direction or suspense.
If you wish to get even more great tips on starting rap verse be sure to check out my video called “how to start a rap verse”.I will be posting links to all the videos I mention in the video description below.
It’s also very important for you to know what the length of the rap is that you will be writing because you need to know how much room you have to express everything you’re trying to say.
It’s very common for our raps to be either 12 or 16 bars in length and these are called rap verses. The length of our verses are typically determined by the song structure of the instrumental we’re rapping over.
If you wish to learn more about song structure and how to figure out where the rap verse is located within an instrumental, check out my video on song structure.
Once you know the length that your rap verse will be, you need to make sure to have some type of movement in the storyline, narrative, etc of your verse at least every 4 bars. This will make your rap verse more entertaining to the listener.
3 STRUCTURING LYRICS
Now let’s talk about how you should structure your lyrics.
When it comes to rhymes, us rappers rhyme all over the place, but to get you started, focus on placing a rhyme on the 4th beat which is typically the 2nd snare for at least 2 bars before changing your rhyme. This is known as a rhyme scheme.
Also, every line on your paper is a bar so whatever is at the beginning of each line of your paper should be what lands on the beginning or the 1st beat of each bar. This means that sometimes you may have a multi-syllable word that is split between 2 lines if your word begins at the end of one bar and ends at the beginning of the next bar.
I also like to notate where I take breaths by placing a (B) in parenthesis
This also means that sometimes I will have a (B) at the beginning of a bar if I pause and don’t land a syllable on the 1st beat.
Also, a good amount of syllables to shoot for is 10-13 syllables per bar. And don’t feel pressured to squeeze a complete thought into each bar. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself 2 or 4 bars to complete a thought.
If you don’t know what bars and beats are, be sure to watch my video called rhythm secrets for rappers.
4 SCATTING & LYRICS
When you’re writing your lyrics scat a cadence and then fill it in with words that match what you’re wanting to say. This is what makes your raps sound musical because rap is Rhythm and Poetry.
If you wish to learn more about this check how out my video on learning to scat.
It’s also good to try and change something about your cadences at least every 4 bars to give the musical part of your rapping some movement as well so your rap flow doesn’t sound too repetitive.
A lot of times I like to fill in the rhyme at the end of the bar first so that I can make sure the word I choose to rhyme with sounds cool and makes sense in context with my message, and then I will fill in the rest of my scat with words that lead into my rhyme.
Now that you understand all of these fundamentals to writing a rap let’s check out an example of this in action as I share a verse I wrote about everything I just taught you!
So my concept for my rap is “how to write a rap”
And the things I wanna talk about are some of the major points I just made such as…
1 Pick the instrumental
2 Plan out your lyrics
3 Scat first and then translate into lyrics
4 Where to place your rhymes
5 Advance your narrative at least every 4 bars
And here is what I wrote.
how you write rap, what you need to do is first, Pick a
dope instrumental that you really wanna murk (B) And be-
fore you start writing down lyrics on the spot Take a
second for you wreck it and develop you a plot (B) And
if you want your words to sound good when you spit it (B) then
Scat you out some cadences to translate into lyrics (B)
You can start by scatting the bar an then of course please
Place your rhyme on the 2nd snare that’s 4th beat
(B) Then go back and translate the rest to syllables
Then you got a dope bar of lyrics that’s musical
(B) This is what most rappers struggle with unknowingly
Cause rap aint just lyrics it’s rhythm and poetry
(B) Now try to advance your narrative every 4 bars
(B) Do the same with your cadence, and your rap will go hard
(B) follow tha inspiration no matter where it might lead
Cuz when it comes to rapping, theirs no rules only techniques
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 theirs no rules, only techniques. Peace!