If you’re a rapper trying to figure out where your verse is supposed to go in the instrumental then this is going to be the perfect video for you.
So, if you have an instrumental you’re wanting to rap over but you’re not sure where the verse is supposed to go this is what you should do.
Most instrumentals start off with an intro that’s usually 4-8 bars in length. Intros are typically introducing you to the vibe of the instrumental and they usually feature some type of melody that will be present throughout the majority of the instrumental.
Intros are usually one of the least energetic parts of the instrumental because they typically don’t have kicks and snare drums in them which leaves room for the instrumental to grow in energy over time.
HOOK OR VERSE
Now right after intro is where either the verse or the hook is going to go. There will be a jump in energy here because this is usually where the kicks and snares and other instruments are brought in to fill in the instrumental more.
So the question remains, how can you determine if this is the hook or the verse? It’s actually very simple, the length of this section will give you your answer.
Hooks are typically 8 bars and verses are usually 12-16 bars in length.
So after the intro, if the instrumental jumps up in energy for 8 bars and then on the 9th bar the instrumental feels like it dropped a little in energy because some of the instruments were removed then it was the hook that came after the intro and the verse came in after the hook.
But if the instrumental rises in energy after the intro but it doesn’t drop down after 8 bars then this is likely the verse. Now you just need to determine the length of the verse. Is it 12 or 16 bars. Typically at the end of the verse there will be some type of short drop of energy right before the hook comes in or there will be some type of instrument added to create a transition between the verse and the hook. And the hook will usually have more instruments than the verse. So just determine where this happens and that will tell you the length of the verse.
Now when it comes to determining the length of the intro, verse, and hook you could count out each bar out loud like “1,2,3,4 2,2,3,4” but I don’t prefer this method because it takes way too long!
I recommend that you measure the lengths of each section of the instrumental in your DAW which stands for digital audio workstation. DAW’s are programs we use to make music such as FL Studio, Logic, Ableton etc.. Just make sure you input the instrumentals tempo into your daw and align the transients of the snares to the 2nd and 4th beat of the bar.
If you’re not very tech savvy then the easiest way to do this is using a free DAW called Bandlab because it will do all of this for you automatically. Just create a new project and select import audio and select your instrumental.
Now I’m going to share with you a hidden feature in Bandlab that I use to mark my different sections of songs. Just click the 3 dots on your track and select duplicate track and then mute your top track. And you’ll use this top track to label each section of the instrumental.
Now you can visually see by just looking at the waveform where the intro ends and either the hook or verse begins. So I’m going to click on my top track then click on the 5th bar and hit “s” on my keyboard or you can click on the bandlab menu, click edit, then slice at playhead to make a cut.
Now I can label my intro by right-clicking my first cut and select rename region and name it “INTRO”
Let’s take a listen to this, and this is an instrumental that I produced called Spaced Out, if you like it, I’ll post a link to it in the video description below.
Now I just need to determine if the section after the intro is the verse or the hook. So i’m going to first test to see if it’s a hook by playing the 8th bar after the intro to see if I hear any transitions happening which signify a new part of the song coming in.
On this instrumental the beat drops off after 8 bars at the beginning of bar 13. This tells me that the hook came in after the intro so I will label that accordingly.
Now I would just apply the same technique to determine the length of my verse. In this case I can visually tell where the end of the verse likely is because there’s a long 4-bar drop off before the hook comes back in.
Yup, that’s the end of the verse so I’ll make another cut and name this verse. This verse begins on bar 13 and ends on bar 24 which makes it a 12-bar verse. And you can keep repeating this process to label the rest of the instrumentals song structure.
And If you want to dig deeper into songwriting I highly recommend my Quick Guide to Songwriting for rappers ebook.
My name is Cole Mize with colemizestudios.com where I strive to make you a better rapper now. Be sure to pick up a free copy of my eBook The #1 Fundamental to rapping via the link below and always remember, when it comes to rapping theirs no rules, their’s only technique. Peace.