How To Write Rap Punchlines



If you’re a rapper who feels like your rhymes are pretty good but your lyrics are still lacking that extra power that they need to really move the listener then you may want to consider using punchlines.

In today’s lessons, you’re going to learn what punchlines are and 5 of the most effective techniques that rappers use to create punchlines that hit harder than Chris Brown did Rihanna. LET’S GET IT!!

LESSON NOTES

WHAT IS A PUNCHLINE?

A punchline is simply a line or phrase that has a heavy emotional impact on the listener. In Hip-Hop Punchlines are often funny or very witty but sometimes they can be very deep and thought-provoking or just outright shocking.

TWO WAYS TO EXECUTE A PUNCHLINE

One Liners The punchline only uses one bar to execute

EXAMPLES

Field Mob – “Where R U Going?”

“low-key like a midget locksmith”

Eminem – “313”

“You couldn’t make the fans throw up there hands if they swallowed their fingers”

Build Ups The punchline is set up by several bars prior to being executed.

EXAMPLES

Eminem – “Nail In the Coffin”

I would never claim to be no Ray Benzino

an 83 year old fake Pachino

So how can he hold me over some balcony

without throwin his lower back out as soon as he goes to lift me

Please don’t, you’ll probably fall with me

and our as**s will both be history

But then again you’ll finally get your wish

cuz you’ll be all over the street like 50 Cent

Eminem – Fall

And then tell the Grammys to go and f**k themselves

They suck the blood from all the biggest artists like some leeches

So they nominate ’em, get ’em there, get a name to MC the show

Every parasite needs a host (Ha-ha)

DIFFERENT TYPES OF PUNCHLINES

Puns: A single word that sounds the same but has two meanings.

Example: we often say no pun intended while conversing. For example, if you family is overweight and there are a lot of people in your family you could say, “no pun intended but I have a big family”. The word “big” is the pun.

EXAMPLES

Eminem – Love The Way You Lie ft. Rihanna

“You don’t get another chance, Life is no Nintendo game, but you lied again

Now you get to watch her leave

Out the window, guess that’s why they call it window pane”

Simile: When you use one thing to compare to another. This can help make what you’re saying more relatable and create more of a visual in the mind of the listener. When using Similes we often use words such as like and more or less than to compare two things to each other.

EXAMPLES

CyHi The Prynce – Movin Around 

Blow a bag of indo like a bad Nintendo”

 Ludacris – Coming To America 

 “My rap career goes back further than your fathers hairline”

Double Entendre: Expressing several meanings with one phrase. Typically one interpretation is more obvious than the other. 

EXAMPLES

DRAKE: Back To Back 

You love her, then you gotta give the world to her

Is that a world tour or your girl’s tour?

I know that you gotta be a thug for her

This ain’t what she meant when she told you to open up more

Metaphor: A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action which is not literally applicable. 

EXAMPLES

Joyner Lucas – Devils Work

“Drownin’ in my tears, tryna pray for something

Eminem – Hailies Song

‘Cause there’s a lot of s**t I keep bottled that hurts deep inside of my soul

And just know that I grow colder the older I grow

This boulder on my shoulder gets heavy and harder to hold

And this load is like the weight of the world and I think my neck is breakin’

Irony: a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.

EXAMPLES

– Chino XL, “Kreep” 

“As far as that album you dropped, I ain’t feelin it, I wouldn’t buy your record if it had a hundred dollar bill in it”

Shock Value: A phrase that’s surprising to the listener usually due to how embarrassing, foolish, or inappropriate it is.

EXAMPLES

JA RULE: Loose Change “Shut up Em, You claim your mothers a crackhead and Kim’s a known slut, so what’s Hailey gone be when she grows up?”

RECAP

A punchline is simply a line or phrase that has a heavy emotional impact on the listener.

There are two main methods of executing punchlines.

  1. One Liners – The punchline only uses one bar to execute
  2. Build Ups – The punchline is set up by several bars prior to being executed.

6 COMMON LITERARY DEVICES USED TO CREATE PUNCHLINES

Puns: A single word that sounds the same but has two meanings.

Simile: When you use one thing to compare to another. This can help make what you’re saying more relatable and create more of a visual in the mind of the listener. When using Similes we often use words such as like and more or less than to compare two things to each other.

Double Entendre: Expressing several meanings with one phrase. Typically one interpretation is more obvious than the other.

Metaphor: A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action which is not literally applicable.

Irony: a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.

BONUS

Shock Value: l phrase that’s surprising to the listener usually due to how embarrassing, foolish, or inappropriate it is.

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