How To Write A Rap Song | Part 6: WRITING VERSE 2



Welcome back to the 6th video of my how to write a rap song series.

If you’re new here my name is Cole Mize and I’ve been helping rappers perfect their rap skills on this channel for the past 10 years.

Now in the last video, I explained how I wrote the first verse and in this video we’ll be covering how I approached writing the 2nd verse.

Inventory

Before I began to write the 2nd verse I listened back to everything I had written up to the 2nd verse. This ensured that I didn’t lose focus on how the first verse ended and how the hook carried the song from there. Taking the time to listen back to what you currently have is a great technique to inform where you should take the song moving forward. I also do this often in the middle of writing my verses by going back to the beginning of the verse to listen up until the part of the verse I’m currently at. 

Initially, when I was doing my storyboard for this song I was planning on doing 3 verses.

This was mainly due to the instrumental already having 3 verses in it.

Here’s a quick refresher of my storyboard for my verses and hooks.

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 your goals. Ending the verse this way will transition well into a more uplifting hook.

Hook: Encouragement to work hard to make your dreams a reality

Verse 2: More energetic tone, making sacrifices (less socializing, hanging out, wasting time) Getting up earlier, cutting out distractions.

Verse 3:  getting after it, overcoming adversities, problem-solving, being resilient, focusing on solutions not problems.

Change Of Plans

But after listening back to everything I had written I decided not to write a 3rd verse and just combine my ideas for verse 3 and 2 into verse 2. 

I decided to do this because I felt I could convey everything I needed to within the 2nd verse

There’s two major takeaways here.

[1] The first takeaway is you don’t always have to follow the song structure of the instrumental. If you’ve setup your songwriting project correctly as I demonstrated in Video 01 of this series then you can easily chop up the instrumental and rearrange it if you wish.

In this case, I deleted verse 2 of the instrumental and used verse 3 because verse 3 began with a unique arrangement that isn’t repeated anywhere else in the instrumental that I felt I could do something melodic over which would add an extra layer of dynamics and catchiness to the track.

[2] The 2nd takeaway is when you’re writing a song, it’s wise to plan using the brainstorm and storyboard method I used in video 2, but it’s also wise to hold on to your plans loosely so that you can pivot as you continue to get creative ideas as you progress throughout the creative process.

As you get more experienced creating you will learn to trust both the creative process and your gut instinct more.

In this case my gut was telling me that writing a 3rd verse wasn’t necessary. It’s not to say I couldn’t write a 3rd verse and make it work, I just didn’t feel I had to in order to convey what I wanted to say so I trusted that instinct and committed to moving in that direction.

VERSE 2 BREAKDOWN

Now with all of that out of the way here’s a quick breakdown of each quadrant of my 2nd verse

BARS 1-4

For my first 4 bars, I decided to come up with a melody that I felt would compliment the arrangement of the instrumental. I came up with my melody the same way I came up with my hook and my cadences for my 1st verse in the 2nd video of this series which was by scatting.

From a lyrical standpoint, I thought it would be cool to start the verse by asking a question that many people ask themselves before trying to achieve something great which essentially is “Who am I to think I can achieve greatness?”

BARS 5-8

From here on out my verse is a response to the question I asked in my previous bars. The central theme of this verse is me taking full accountability for my success and my failure and I’m also stating that no one else can or will take the blame for my failure.

I chose to really drive this point home by repeating the phrase “it’s all on me” throughout the verse. By using this amount of repetition, this phrase will stick in the listener’s mind and this also supports the hook which is a call to action for people to get after achieving their goals.

Also created a double entendre on the following line

“If it don’t pop off, Like old school T tops”

T-tops became popular in the 70’s due to car manufacturers being fearful of convertibles becoming illegal due to safety concerns. So “pop off” is a slang term for something growing in popularity and It’s being used as a simile because the roof of T tops actually pop off.

Also using this car reference fits the theme I’ve already created in the hook and verse 1 with driving.

And to stay on the theme of old school fads I also used Reebok Pumps which were also popular back in the day.

After this I created a Jux To Position which creates contrasting elements next to each other such as up and down, dark and light, hot and cold etc.. So in my previous bars I’m talking about things popping off and pumping up and in my next bars I’m talking about things falling off when I said…

“If I fell off. Like Mardi Gra tops 

Noones gone take the blame for me”

I’m once again using “tops” but this time in reference to a female garment known to be consensually removed in exchange for mardi gra beads during Louisiana’s New Orleans annual celebration.

Though I’m being serious in my song, I’m also a fan of adding some subtle humor just to lighten things up a bit.

BARS 9-12

On my final few bars, I continue to drive the point home about everything being on me. And I go so far to say that I’m not even putting my success or failure on God because he’s already given me everything I need and it’s on me to make the most out of what I already have.

And let’s talk about how I ended the verse.

In my opinion, the beginning and ending of verses are the most crucial parts of the verse. At the beginning of the verse, I try to give the listener something that will incentivize them to listen to the rest of the verse. And when I’m ending my verses I like to try to hit them with one last impactful statement.

To end this verse I decided to flip my repetitious phrase “it’s all on me” by saying “But when I succeed don’t forget that’s all on me and not on you”

This was a call back to earlier in my verse when I said “If I fell off. Like Mardi Gra tops 

No One’s gone take the blame for me”

So I’m stating that people wouldn’t dare take the blame for my failure so they shouldn’t have the audacity to take credit for my success because don’t forget “it’s all on me”

Now I’m going to play the hook and all of verse 2 so you can hear how everything is connecting together

UP NEXT

Now in the next and final video of this series I’ll be discussing the last step to writing a song which is… finishing it. I’m going to share the thought process that goes into finalizing a song along with a few things you should consider before calling it done.

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.

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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