One question that I often get asked from people who are learning how to rap is how they can improve their cadence. If you are unaware of what cadence is it basically means “rhythmic flow of a sequence of sounds or words”. Basically cadence has to do with your style & flow of how you are delivering your rhymes to the tempo of the beat. If you haven’t learned how rap in time with the beat I suggest you watch these two videos Establishing Rhythm pt.1 & Establishing Rhythm pt.2. It’s important to know how to establish your rhythm first because rhythm is the foundation that you are going to be building your cadence off of.
Bruce Lee once said “You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” This concept applies to cadence because no two songs will be exactly the same therefor your cadence must flow like water and be able to take the form of any container “instrumental, beat, song” that it’s put within. Practicing this theory correctly will allow you to standout and sound different in each song which will intern keep your flow fresh while retaining your listeners attention.
Now that you get the concept please allow me to share how I apply it. The first thing I do when I am getting ready to write lyrics is I pick the instrumental. Now I may listen to dozens of instrumentals and they may all sound great but what I pay close attention to is which beat is speaking to me. By that I mean which beat moves me emotionally, causes me to want to start freestyling, and makes me to start bobbing my head and moving my body. This is kinda like going to the store to by clothes. Tho the store may be packed full of gear there may only be a few that really move you enough to want to make a purchase.
Now the last thing I do before I commit to an instrumental to write to is I try on the beat. Just like trying on clothes the outfit may be dope but it might not fit you. My way of trying on a beat is simply playing it for a while as I start coming up with cadences. At this stage I am just getting a feel for how I can flow to it in such a way that is unique, fresh and interesting. I do this by just mumbling gibberish as if I we’re rapping a verse. Since there are no lyrics yet I’m not limited to how I can flow and therefor I am able to easily play around with my cadence without any restrictions. At this point i’m being just like water formless and shapeless. I’m moving around in the beat many different ways and once I feel I found a beat that moves me emotionally and that I enjoy flowing to then i’m ready to start writing lyrics.
When I move on to write lyrics I still mumble gibberish throughout the writing process. It’s my way to keep switching up my cadence in unique ways if I feel like it will benefit the song. As in many of my lessons there is no right or wrong way to do this and you should always do what you feel it best for the song. I hope that you found this lesson helpful and if you have any questions, comments or feedback please drop your 2 cents in the comments section below! Until next time keep being a better rapper now!