Improve Your Rap Flow With This Drill: How To Push A Cadence

In this video I’m going to be doing something very unique that you probably won’t find anywhere else on YouTube and that’s a guided practice to help you improve your rap flow.

My name is Cole Mize and I’ve been helping rappers perfect their rap skills on this channel for the past 10 years. Now let’s get straight to it.

In this exercise, I’m going to teach you how to “push” a rap cadence. More on that in just a moment.

You see, one thing that can hold rappers back is they will learn a cadence and then they stick 100% to that cadence which limits what they can say and it can make their rap flow too rigid and predictable. 

A cadence is simply a combination of rhythmic music notes such as 8th, 16th, and 32nd notes. And don’t forget pauses. We don’t just pause to take a breath, pausing is a huge part of our cadences that make up our overall rap flow.


But here’s the thing, a cadence doesn’t have to be 100% the same every bar for it to still “feel” like the same cadence because if we dig a little deeper every cadence has its own groove and groove is all about feeling.

You can think of a groove is how the cadence feels as it begins and ends within the instrumental. You could also say, that the groove is how it fits and connects with the instrumental. As long as elements of the groove stays the same, you can change other elements of your cadence and it will still feel the same.


When we change a cadence and retain the same groove this is something I like to call, pushing and pulling the cadence.

When we push the cadence we add something to it to make it feel more aggressive and when we pull it we take something away from it which makes it feel less aggressive.

In today’s rap flow exercise, we’re going to be pushing two different cadences. We’ll start off with an easy warm up and as we progress into the exercises things will get increasingly difficult. Be sure to let me know in the comments section below how you did.

And for this exercise, I’m using a beat that I produced called “Take Off”. If you like it and want to support the channel you can get it on my beat store.


how to improve rap flow push 1


For our 1st cadence we’re going to pause for all of beat 1 and half of beat 2 and then we’re simply going to fill the rest of beat 2 and 3 in with 16th notes and I will fill in beat 4 with an 8th note followed by an 8th note pause.

We’re going to push this cadence a total of 5 times and we’re going to preserve its groove by not changing anything about the 2nd half of beat 3 and all of beat 4.


For our 1st push we’re simply going to reduce the length of the pause on the 2nd beat by filling it in more with 1 16th note. 


For our 2nd push we’re going to push pretty hard by reducing the pause to only the 1st 16th note of beat 1, and fill in the rest with 16th notes.


On our 3rd push we’re going to pause for the 1st half of beat one followed by triplet 8th notes. And beat 2 is filled in with an 8th note and triplet 8th notes.


On our 4th push we reduce our pause on the 1st beat to a 16th note, following by a 16th note and triplet 8th notes. Then we fill all of beat 2 in with triplet 8th notes and half of beat 3.


And on our 5th and final push we do the same thing as our last push except now we’re going to place a 16th note at the very end of the 4th beat of the bar before and lead into the 1st beat. 

We will be scatting these cadences, so you don’t have to copy all the same sounds that I’m using. You can use whatever sounds you want, just make sure you’re matching the timing of what I’m doing.

We’ll do each cadence for a total of 4 bars alternating back and forth for 1 bar each starting with me. Let’s get it!




For our 2nd cadence, we pause for the first half of beats 1,2,3 and fill in the 2nd half of each beat with 16th notes. And then we fill in all of beat 4 with 16th notes.

In order to protect the groove of this cadence I kept the 1st and 4th beat the same on all my cadences with the exception of the 6th iteration which I sprinkled in with some 32nd notes.


For our first two pushes we’re simply reducing the pause on beat 3 by a 16th note each time. Even though this is a subtle tweak it makes a big difference 


For our 3rd push we’re just going to introduce two 32nd notes leading into the 4th beat


For our 4th push we’re going to eliminate the pause on the 2nd beat and fill it in with 16th notes.


And for our final push we’re going to sprinkle in more couplets of 32nd notes to really step up the aggressiveness of the cadence.

Again be sure to let me know how you did in the comments section below. And check the link below to my free eBook The #1 Fundamental To Rapping. And always remember, when it comes to rapping, there’s no rules, there’s only techniques, peace!

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