How To Write A Rap Song | Part 5: WRITING VERSE 1



Welcome back to the 5th video of my how to write a rap song series.

Now in the last video, I explained how I wrote the hook and in this video, I’ll be discussing how I wrote the 1st verse.

STORYBOARD

If you’ve been following this series then you know I’ve already created a storyboard for my verses and here’s a recap of the storyboard for verse 1.

Verse 1: Struggling, doubt, bordering defeat, giving up. End the verse with being willing to go all in, putting it all on the line to achieve my goals. Ending the verse this way will transition well into a more uplifting hook.

And remember, one of the main reasons I like writing hooks first is because when I’m writing my verses I know what they are leading up to. So as I’m writing my verses I’m keeping in mind what the hook is saying to ensure they connect.

CONNECTIONS

Speaking of connections, sometimes I like to play off some of the words I use in the hook in the verse.

Let’s listen back to the hook quickly to get a refresher on it.

In the my hook, I said “foot on the gas, get on the road” And I decided to create a theme in my song based on this phrase because It’s central to the entire meaning of the song about overcoming adversity and getting after it. 

So foot on the gas can tie into the theme of cars and also anything talking about accelerating/ improving.

And “get on the road” can tie into anything related to roads such as concrete, lanes, exits, speed limit, making turns, yielding, crashing, towns, cities, traveling etc.. 

BARS 5-8

And on, Bars 5-8 of my verse I created several connections to the hook. let’s take a quick listen and then discuss.

Circling around on the block, memory lane, and town, all connect with the hooks phrase “foot on the gas” and “get on the road”.

BARS 1-4

I also like creating connections across multiple bars within my verses in both obvious and not-so-obvious ways.

Let’s listen to bars 1-4 and discuss 

Here I made an obvious connection between “Journey to the top” and “am I ever gone pop”

These are both figures of speech that refer to achieving success.

But there’s also a hidden connection that could potentially paint a sub-conscience image in the mind of the listener due to the phrase “full of hot hair”. Ask yourself, what is known to rise to the top in elevation due to hot air? Hot air balloons. And balloons also do what?… “pop”. 

If you dig deeper into these lines they have a double meaning. “Am I ever gone pop” could mean “Am I ever going to succeed” or “Am I ever going to crash”. And I also draw a similar parallel at the end of this verse.

BARS 9-12

In the last 4 bars of my verse, there’s a figurative theme of life and death and failure and success. Let’s take a quick listen and discuss.

These bars are still connecting and playing off the previous 4 bars from when I said,

 “Could it be that the optimism in my head is my op ” Op is street slang for “opposition” or “enemy”.

So I’m wondering if my optimism is my enemy.

When I say “And I keep on circling around and around on the block” this is still playing off of street slang that would be used if a person was looking for someone. But I’m speaking figuratively here as I’m talking about loops of thought patterns since I referred to my way of thinking as being my enemy, and the use of memory lane also reveals I’m talking about my mind as well.

So back to my final 4 bars.

I continue to use a lot of street slang with “It’s about to get hot” “It’s” meaning the “block” which again refers to my mind. But this is also more street slang” A “block that’s hot” is slang for something illegal happening that draws attention from the cops.

Empty the clip is more street slang that I’m using figuratively to mean giving something max effort and emptying myself in order to succeed.

And here comes the life and death theme again.

Keep “it” alive is referring to my dreams

And the final line “Either it’s gonna be me or my dreams gonna die” is saying either I’m going to die pursuing my dreams or my dreams are going to die due to me giving up which is the perfect segway back into the hook which is encouraging me to stay focused and keep working hard.

Now let’s listen to the entire verse and the hook to see how everything connects together.

BARS 01-04

BARS 05-08

BARS 09-12

HOOK

SCAT

Now remember, you can think of rap as an acronym, RAP, Rhythm And Poetry. So far we’ve only been talking about the lyrics .Now let’s briefly talk about my rap fow.

In the 2nd video of this series, I recorded myself scatting over the verse to come up with cadence ideas, and the keyword here is “ideas”. I ended up using some of the cadences from my scat but I continued to come up with more cadences as I wrote my verse.

When I’m writing I tend to toggle between focusing on cadences and ignoring them. This gives room for what I’m really wanting to say to come through as opposed to boxing myself in by allowing the cadence to dictate how many syllables I can use to express myself within each bar.

That’s why I continue to scat as I’m writing because it allows me to tweak both my lyrics and my cadences as needed to make sure everything is balanced.

This also applies to rhymes as well. Unless the purpose of the verse I’m writing is to show off how much I can rhyme, I’m careful to not get so fixated on rhyming to where it begins to limit what I’m actually saying.

VERSE 2

Now in the next video, I’m going to be going over my 2nd verse which is a lot more upbeat and hype due to coming out of such an uplifting hook, so stay tuned for that breakdown because there’s going to be many more songwriting gems I’ll be sharing in it.

RAP ESSENTIALS

And if you’re new here before you LEAVE make sure you get my FREE Rap Essentials bundle which includes…

The #1 Fundamental To Rapping eBook

Bar Sheets to help you improve the structuring of your lyrics

6 practice instrumentals which includes dedicated video tutorials

The CMS Catalog which has my favorite studio gear recommendations

Plus I’ll be sharing via e-mail the most essential video tutorials I’ve made that I recommend every aspiring rapper to watch. These lessons are going to teach you all the core techniques you need to be a better rapper now!

And all of this 100% FREE when you join my mailing list via the form below.

Again my name is Cole Mize with colemizestudios.com and always remember, when it comes to rapping, there’s no rules, there’s only techniques. Peace!

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