Rappers often ask me if they should write to an instrumental or is it okay to write without one? Honestly, I prefer writing to an instrumental but either one is just fine, however, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.
Without An Instrumental
Regardless if you write to an instrumental or not you’re going to have to fit your lyrics to an instrumental at some point unless you’re going to rap your lyrics strictly Acapella. But writing without an instrumental is much different than writing with one and here are a few reasons why.
- You can write much more freely since you’re not worrying about where your syllables are landing in relation to the beats in each bar.
- You can get your ideas down quickly
- Which in turn allows you to take full advantage of that moment of inspiration to write before it’s smothered by focusing on the technical timing mechanics of rapping.
- You simply can just focus on being a writer and not a rapper for the moment.
- If you don’t have a strong sense of rhythm then your bars may have way too many or too few syllables which will cause the changes you make when fitting the lyrics to an instrumental that much more drastic.
- This can also cause your rhyme schemes to be all over the place and not line up closely with each other which will cause them to have less impact on the listener. See my lesson on structuring lyrics.
- This can also cause your flow to sound really amateur due to you cramming words too closely together or having to stretch syllables out longer to fill in the bar properly due to a low syllable count.
- If your lyrics aren’t structured properly you will have to rework them once you’ve decided on an instrumental causing you to do double work.
What’s The Solution?
Well if you don’t have a strong sense of rhythm when writing without an instrumental my best advice would be to write while using one of the free metronome tools I discuss in my article 5 Free Tools That Can Improve A Rappers Workflow
Simply set the metronome to a tempo that feels comfortable to you and write down the tempo a.k.a BPM on your lyrics sheet so you don’t forget it. You can use the tempo number later to find an instrumental that’s close to the tempo you wrote to. This makes fitting your lyrics to an instrumental much easier!! Tempo’s ranging from 80 – 95 BPM’s are great for most Hip-Hop instrumentals. Also, tempos around 60- 70 BPM’s will work perfectly for most modern trap style instrumentals that you will hear on songs from artists such as Migos, Future, etc..
If you would like to learn more about how to search for instrumentals based on tempo then make sure you read my article Top Ten Tips For Buying Rap Beats Online.
And lastly, if you would like to watch me take lyrics I wrote without an instrumental and fit them to an instrumental then CLICK HERE
There’s no wrong way to write a song. Regardless if you initially write to an instrumental or not you can make it work perfectly either way. Always remember in Rapping theirs no rules…. only techniques! If you enjoyed this article or have any questions make sure you drop them in the comments section below!
?? Okay thank you for that tip! Adjusting the tempo on your beats provided helps.
Wow thank the universe for teachers like Cole, he truly knows his stuff!
Thanks for your kind words Roza! I’m really glad you found my article to be helpful! Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂 – Cole Mize
Thanks for the tips. This is really useful being a beginning rap artist.
My pleasure Melissa! I’m glad that you found this article helpful. Thank you for reading and commenting as well! 🙂 – Cole Mize
All of your tips have helped in many ways. Thank You
Thanks for the positive feedback Ray, I’m really glad that my tips have been helpful! Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂 – Cole Mize
How can we write by avoiding kicks and snares and sometimes flowing to the baseline or melody like 2pac does in most of his songs you can hear sometime he doesnt follow kicks and snares and one more question i heard some rappers record their vocals without beat so the beat doesnt take over their flow and then mix it with the beat.what are your thoughts on this?
Hey Arjun, good question. When you get a chance check out my lesson on rapping without training wheels, as well as this article If you’re going to record without an instrumental then I would atleast record with a metronome to ensure you are staying on beat. I hope this helps 🙂 – Cole Mize
Thanks for the tip. I will continue to take heed to the wisdom of words.
You’re welcome Angel. Thanks for reading and commenting as well! 🙂 -Cole Mize
Cole i gotta say man that every time i come through my mailbox to check your article there’s always some enlightenment even if it’s the thing i already know of, i find a new perspective to it. and i always land up on two more articles to graduate.
Hey Prakash, thanks so much for all of the positive feedback! I’m really glad to hear that you are learning so much from my content. That’s what it’s all about right there! Keep up the hard work bro! Much respect! 🙂 – Cole Mize
Cole mize, you are good at what you are doing, keep it up guy.
Hey, Josh I really appreciate your positive words! Thanks so much for all the love and support! I’ll keep it up! You do the same! 🙂
Man, nice articles you have wroten! I couldnt find anywhere else such good info as here! Thanks! Keep doing!
I am a beginer! Which mean I really need help writing songs…
Brilliant advice. I am a writer/poet transitioning to rap and often complimented for my lyrics and word flow but critiqued for my lack of consistent rhythm. People often tell me ‘it seems like you added vocals to an instrumental’ which is essentially what I do. I write, work on flow, and then find an instrumental/beat that fits. I recently wrote my first song to a beat and it was much more constricting. The quality of the lyrics was much lower and took me 100x longer and more effort and was less enjoyable than the freedom of pure poetry. People tell me they let the melody of the beat guide their writing but I find melody in my writing. My acapella verses are complimented and considered good and enjoyable to listen to. Just if I add a beat it ruins the melodic nature of my natural writing unless the beat itself happens to fit the cadence/tempo of my acapella flow.