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!