How To Write A Rap Song | PART 2: BRAINSTORMING



Welcome back to the 2nd video in my songwriting series for rappers.

In the first video we 

[1] Found an instrumental that moved us emotionally

[2] We tried on the beat by scatting to it to ensure it felt right for our voice and rap style

[3] We setup our songwriting project in a DAW so that we can begin to easily get all of our creative ideas down.

Also if you don’t already have the equipment needed to record vocals on your computer, I put together a comprehensive list of all the essentials you need.

And if you can’t afford any gear at the moment then I recommend using Bandlab on your phone which is 100% FREE.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SONG WRITING FOR RAPPERS CAPTURING IDEAS – BRAINSTORM

Now it’s time to start capturing these ideas using two methods

[1] we’ll capture our musical ideas in our DAW by recording our scats. This could be rap cadences or melodies. And If you’re already getting ideas of lyrics that will pair well with your cadences feel free to record them as well.

[2] And secondly, we’ll capture our creative ideas by writing them down in some type of document. I prefer using Google Dox but you can use whatever you want.

Remember, the creative process is iterative so don’t overthink anything right now. What you should be doing at this point is just getting your ideas down and as you do that you will start getting a better idea of what your song should be about and then you can create a strategy on how to execute your ideas.

EMOTION

So the first thing I recommend you to do as this stage of the songwriting process is simply listen to the instrumental and let it speak to you..

The instrumental I’m using for this series is a beat that I produced called “TAKE OFF” which is available on my beat store.

When you’re listening to an instrumental ask yourself which emotions is it expressing. That in and of itself is not only going to influence what you feel the song should be about but also the cadences that you decide to use and possibly even the tone of voice that you use. Now listen to a verse and hook and make note of how you feel and any ideas that come to mind, no matter how random or disconnected they may seem. 

CREATIVE IDEAS

To me, the verse section of the instrumental feels lonely, somber, dark, and maybe even sad. However in the hook the energy shifts to being more upbeat and lively. This shift in emotion makes me feel like the hook is providing some type of resolve to a conflict that’s present in the verse or is invoking a call to action.

CONFLICT

Some ideas that came to mind for the conflict I could place in the verses are…

Bad breakup

Being bored – wanting to get into something

Being single and desiring to be with someone (romantic or friendship)

Financial struggles/ being broke/ working hard/ getting money

Working a dead-in job. Waking up early to drive to a job you hate

Being overlooked, doubted, discarded, neglected.

RESOLUTION

Then depending on which direction I decide to go I can create a hook that provides some type of resolve or call to action. Now every instrumental won’t be like this. This is just how I’m interrupting the energy of this instrumental. 

MUSICAL IDEAS

Now it’s time to get some musical ideas down by scatting

Most rappers neglect doing this and go straight to writing lyrics which usually causes them major issues when they try to rap their lyrics to an instrumental because it was never musically structured to begin with. 

Remember you can think of RAP as Rhythm and Poetry. We need to give attention to both the musical and lyrics side of our rapping to ensure everything sounds as good as possible.

It’s okay if lyrics come to you first and then you start working it in musically with some scatting, just don’t neglect working on things from the musical side via scatting. But I typically like to start with some loose scatting ideas and then I’ll start working my lyrics in from there.

VERSE SCAT

Now loop the verse and start scatting, and once you feel like you’ve come up with something nice, record it. Remember, these are just musical ideas. You may not use everything you record, or you may change it a little bit to fit your lyrics better, or you may decide to use it in a different section of the song than you originally recorded it. Don’t overthink it, just vibe out and start getting some cool musical ideas down.

HOOK SCAT

Now it’s time to do the same thing for the hook. Loop the hook, and start playing around with different ideas. Try melodic ideas with Autotune, Try rap cadences, and maybe try a combination of both.

Since 8 bars isn’t alot of space, once you fill up 8 bars on one track, mute it, and then continue capturing ideas on other tracks.

THIS IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS

As you can hear, Scatting is a really powerful technique for songwriting. Songwriting is not just writing lyrics, we are also writing music. This is already starting to sound really catchy and we haven’t even started putting words to it.

This is why I stress the importance of working on the musical side of your rap skills because most beginner rappers are not as developed musically as they are lyrically because they typically focus on writing lyrics first. If you’re trying to improve your rap flow and scatting skills be sure to check out my free rap flow course on Youtube called 5 Minutes To A Better Rap Flow.

FOUNDATION

Now our song is off to a great start! We have ideas for both the musical side and the lyrical side of our rap song. In our next video, we’re going to commit to a concept for the song and we’re going to start extracting more material out of that concept and then develop a storyboard around it.

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, theirs only techniques. Peace! 

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