One of the keys to having a really good sounding rap voice is learning how to control it with proper breathing techniques. If you are having issues with running out of breath then this will have a negative impact on your rap voice. Because It will cause the energy and the tone of your rap vocals to diminish significantly. In today’s video, I’m going to be sharing with you my 5 best breathing techniques which will ensure that your rap voice always sounds as good as possible. So without further ado, LET’S GET IT!!
1. Reduce Vowels
Okay, tip number one is to keep tabs of how many vowels that you’re using. This is because vowel sounds release tons of air because there is nothing restricting the air flow in your mouth while making these sounds. The more of them that you use, the quicker you will deplete the air in your lungs.
In the English language A,E,I,O,U and sometimes Y and H are vowel sounds.
The opposite of vowels is called consonants. These sounds restrict airflow which uses less air.
The word “hey” is a word only comprised of vowels which uses a ton of air!
The word “no” has a consonant and a vowel in it so it uses about half of the amount of air. This is because in order to make the “n” sound you have to touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue which restricts airflow.
If you wish to test this for yourself, time yourself on how long you can say the word “hey” back to back before running out of breath. And do the same for the word “no”.
My Personal Results
“hey” for 13 seconds.
“no” for 28 seconds.
So if you notice an area in your rap verse where you’re running out of breath see if there are any vowel-heavy words that you could possibly replace with a word with some consonants.
My next tip is all about your posture. If you’re rapping while sitting in a chair then make sure you are sitting up straight. If you’re slouched over in a chair while rapping then the pressure of your body weight will push air out of your lungs faster.
This also applies if you’re rapping on stage and leaning over a lot to get closer to the crowd.
Having good posture isn’t only healthy for your back but it also helps you get the most out of your vocals!
A common mistake I see a lot of rappers make is they don’t take a breath until their about to run out of breathe. And by that time it’s too late. The quality of the vocals have already been severely compromised and also the breath its self is usually very loud and unpleasant to hear.
The way that we breathe as rappers is a bit different than how you would breathe throughout a normal day. We won’t wait until we run out of breath to breathe. We typically take very short shallow breathes very often.
I recommend breathing on average at least once every other bar or so for the length of an 8th note. If you don’t know what an 8th note is check out my video on music notes explained.
Let’s do a quick experiment to help you get familiar with measuring your breaths for a short period of time using quarter, 8th and 16th notes.
Do the 8 count for one full bar and on the second bar continue to do the 8 count and breathe for the entire 4th beat. This is a Quarter Note breath.
Do the 8 count for one full bar and on the second bar continue to do the 8 count and breathe in place of the “an” after the 4th beat. This is a 8th Note breath.
Do the 8 count for one full bar and on the second bar continue to do the 8 count but cut the “an” after the 4th beat in half and breathe for the remaining time. This is a 16th Notes breath.
If you would like to get the instrumental used during this tutorial you can do so by visiting my beat store.
My 4th tip has to do with volume. The louder you rap the quicker you will deplete your air. I’ve found that many rappers rap way too loud for two main reasons.
1. They yell to try and add more energy to their delivery. This isn’t”wrong” per se but you shouldn’t rely on raising the volume of your voice as your only method of increasing your vocals energy. The louder you rap the less bass will be present in your voice, thus making your vocal tone sound more thin and small.
It’s the microphones job to make you loud so let it do the heavy lifting when it comes to volume. Plus the volume of your voice will be controlled when your song is mixed. So focus on rapping with more energy at lower volumes to ensure you’re getting the best tone out of your rap voice while also preserving air in your lungs so you will sound better longer.
2. The second reason rappers rap too loud is due to them not lowering the volume of the instrumental that’s already been mastered by the producer they purchased it from. I recommend lowering the instrumental by -10 to -12 dB while recording.
This will ensure that you’re not rapping extra loud just so that you can hear yourself in your headphones.
The longer you go without breathing the more room you will likely need to recover. I like to call this “Sprinting”. If you are sprinting during a section of your verse make sure you’ve given yourself enough air beforehand to get through it, and also give your self enough breathing room afterward to recover from it.
For example, when I’m wanting to build some momentum within my verse I will start eliminating breaths. So there are times where I may not breathe for 2-3 bars.
In this example notice, how I’m taking a good amount of short shallow breathes before I Sprint and I give myself plenty of room to breathe afterward to recover.
So to recap, my 5 best breathing techniques for rappers are…
1. Reduce the amount of vowels that you’re using to keep more air in your lungs.
2. Ensure you’re rapping with good posture so that the weight of your body isn’t squeezing extra air out of your lungs.
3. Take small shallow breathes at least every other bar so you never get close to running out of breath.
4. Don’t rap louder than you have to. Instead, focus on rapping at conservative volumes with good energy to get the best tone out of your voice and preserve more air in your lungs.
5. When you’re sprinting ensure that you give your self plenty of air going into it as well time to recover after it.