Top 5 Mistakes Rappers Make When Learning How To Rap


I’ve been rapping for a little over 18 years and have been teaching on the subject of how to rap for about 1 1/2 years as I write this. In this article I will give you inside information on what I’ve found to be the top 5 mistakes I’ve found rappers making while their learning how to rap. I hope this article will help prevent you from making the same mistakes and give you more of a focus on the steps you need to take in order to get better at rapping quicker.

1. Can’t Identify Beats

If you’re wanting to learn how to rap there is a certain order that you need to follow in order for everything to work together like it’s supposed to. I’ve noticed quite a few rappers either skip this step or just don’t spend enough time on it before moving on. Consequently they rap off beat and their lyrics lack structure which makes it nearly impossible to rap their lyrics the same way twice.

Being able to count beats is the foundation you will be building everything else off of. A house is only as good as the foundation that it’s built upon so do not rush this step! In my opinion this is the most critical area to becoming a better rapper and it’s also the very first step.

A good exercise is to get in the habit of counting quarter notes, eighth notes, and then 16th notes to any song you listen to. Also try to do this without any music and see if your able to space the notes out evenly using your own internal tempo and play around with speeding it up and slowing it down.

A good indication that you’ve gotten good enough at this step to move on is when you listen to music and you can instantly lock into it’s tempo and easily do all the different counts without even having to think about it. At this point it becomes more naturally and instinctive.

Being able to count beats will also enable you to count bars. So when someone hits you up to be featured on a song with them and they ask you for 16 bars you will know exactly how long your verse should be.

 2. Can’t Identify Drums

I must admit that at first this one took be my surprise. After working with many rappers I discovered that quite a few wasn’t able to identify the kick and the snare drums in a song. This kind of ties into the previous mistake I just mentioned because kick and snare drums typically fall in line with the 4 beats in each bar. Being able to identify the kick and the snare gives you anchor points and kind of acts as training wheels .

I actually have gotten in the habit of asking my friends randomly if they know what a kick or a snare is and if they can identify them in a song. Most can’t because they simply haven’t trained their ears to do so. I first was officially introduced to music as a kid when I joined my elementary schools competition band so I’ve always been around a lot of different instruments and can easily identify them in a song.

However many people don’t have a musical background to fall back on when they start rapping so they don’t have a point of reference when trying to identify kicks and snares in a song. Your rap skills will benefit greatly once you’re able to identify the kick and snare drums as they will help keep you on beat. So spend some time training your ear to hear these two different percussive instruments as they will help keep you on beat and guide you as you start developing your flow and lyrics around them.

3. Can’t Identify The Structure Of An Instrumental

Another common struggle for many rappers who are learning how to rap is understanding the song structure of an instrumental. This can cause you two write verses and hooks in the wrong places and also cause them to be uneven in length.

Once again this can fall back on not being able to count beats. As there are 4 beats in 1 bar and typically 16 bars in 1 verse and 8 bars in 1 hook. Being able to count the bars out will give you a good indication of what section of a song you are in.

Another thing to pay attention to is different sections of a song typically sound different. For example intros and outro’s often have less instruments in them than any other section of the instrumental. Intro’s and outro’s often times don’t have any drums in them as well. Typically hooks are the highest point of the song and often have the most instruments. And verses typically have fewer instruments than the hook to create more room for the main vocals.

Spend some time breaking down each section of the songs you’re listening to so you can more easily figure out the songs structure.

4. To Much Focus Put On Rapping

You may be wondering how can someone put to much focus on rapping? Think of what happens when your eyes are focusing on something close up, everything that you’re not focusing on becomes blurred and out of focus just like how a camera works. However when you zoom out of that ultra focused position you can see everything at once.

Well there’s more to rapping than just rapping right? What do people rap?……LYRICS!! I’ve found rappers who are just learning how to rap tend to put more focus on their flow aka cadence than they do their lyrics. But here’s the problem, they both work together and each of them need much focus.

For example if you come up with a nice flow to a track and then just haphazardly write your lyrics then their not going to play well with each other. When you’re scatting to a track in theory you’re randomly playing around with creating different cadences. Once you’ve come up with a few cadences that you like you then need to write your lyrics to the cadence. This can take time in order to pick the right combination of words that have the right syllable count to play well with your cadence.

Also I’ve noticed a lot rappers don’t put much thought into the song they’re about to write before hand. They just simply start writing and hope it comes out dope. This is a big missed opportunity because in many cases it produces a song that’s either to predictable or lacks any structured format at all.

Song writing is a skill in and of it’s self. Most rappers are not aware of techniques such as Story Boards that can make their songwriting process much more entertaining and well thought out. Using story boards also makes songwriting much easier because it allows you to plan your song out ahead of time so when you being to start writing your lyrics you know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.

5. Not Practicing Enough

I’ve put countless amounts of hours in creating content that teaches artists how to rap. But here’s the thing, knowledge alone isn’t going to make you a better rapper you have to effectively apply it by putting it into practice on a consistent basis which takes discipline. Learning knowledge but not applying it will give you the same results as being prescribed medicine but not taking it. Always remember that a hard work ethic will trump talent alone any day of the week!

We live in an instant and on demand world. But the truth is that knowledge is only half of the equation. I’ve seen many rappers putting so much weight and pressure on themselves as if they are expecting to be in their prime overnight. Some have been rapping for years but haven’t seen the improvement they expected due to either a lack of practice or an uncertainty of what they need to specifically be working on.

Consequently these type of rappers end up getting frustrated and seriously consider quitting all together. If you identify with this scenario I would say this to you.

You probably starting rapping because it was fun right? You also likely found it to be therapeutic as it’s an avenue that allows you to express yourself. Never loose sight of the beginning and take all of that unhealthy weight and pressure off yourself. This isn’t a race it’s a journey so pace yourself. It’s okay to be new at something and nothing grows to it’s full maturity overnight. I’ve been rapping for over 18 years and I’m still learning and growing. Take your time and practice a lot with implementing the knowledge you’ve learned.

And if you ever need some honest and detailed feedback on where you’re at and what your development opportunities are I would be more than happy to do a music review for you. Or if you feel like some 1 on 1 coaching would be more beneficial I would be more than happy to do that as well. I’m here to help you as much as possible along the way so hang in there and keep up the hard work!

How Did I Do?

Did you find this article helpful? What’s the toughest thing you’re struggling with as a rapper? I’d love to hear from you so make sure you drop your 2 cents in the comments section below!

  • Cole Mize, you helped me a lot to be a better rapper and I appreciate it 😀

    Can you please help me with issues that I met? The first one is feeling tired when I perform. When I practice to perform my lyrics, I switch my timer on for 30 min and I start. In 10 to 15 minutes my voice is getting tired so that it’s actually hard to connect words in phrases (it would be much simpler if English were my first language) and in 20-25 minutes I feel really awful after my performance and I also feel like I overworked my voice. How not to overwork it?
    And the last problem so far is my thoughts. You see, as I said before, English is my second language and I’m afraid that people won’t like my music because of my accent. What do you think about it?

    Best wishes, Constantin

    • Hey Constantin, Thanks so much for the wonderful feedback! I’m so glad to hear that my content has been helping you out! That’s what it’s all about right there!! 🙂

      In regards to your question. Yes you are overworking your voice. Keep in mind that when you perform live you will most likely be using a microphone so you won’t have to be that load anyways. Also you may have your music cranked up to loud while practicing which could be causing you to rap louder than you need to. So dial it back at bit and if you still notice your vocals are hurting after you’ve been practicing for a while make sure you’re drinking water to keeps those pipes nice and wet. And consider practicing for a shorter amount of time that’s more comfortable for you. If you’re vocals aren’t used to this kind of strain on them then you might need to build up to it gradually almost like weight lifting.

      You may also benefit greatly from some vocal warm ups before you start practicing. I highly recommend you watch and practice along with these videos

      And as far as people not liking you because of your accent, I say forget about those people. People who matter don’t mind and people who mind don’t matter. Anyone who doesn’t like you because of your accent isn’t a fan you want anyways. Just be yourself, have fun and make music that’s true to you 🙂 I hope this helps you out! Keep up the hard work and thanks again for reaching out! Much love! 🙂

      • Because I spend a lot of time on my music reviews and I believe if I am wanting to have someone do work for me it’s only fair to pay them for their time and expertise.

  • I having problems rapping what I wrote if its on Evernote or my ipad. When I go to rap it I put feeling in it but it just don’t seem I’m spitting it out fast enough. Thanks again for the tips

  • Reminds me of a time I asked someone to jump on my track.. I asked for 16 bars and he returned the beat with 20 bars that went into the slot for the chorus.. it surprised and frustrated me because I was sure he knew how to identify a chorus from a verse in an instrumental. So, I had to post-edit some of it out and had to tweak the song structure a bit so I could match what he did. If that was now, I would’ve just scrapped him and asked someone else!

    • I feel your pain bro! I’ve had it happen me on the opposite end. I’ve had artists ask me for 16 bars and wrote it inline with the verse section of the beat and everything and then they tell me I didn’t write 16 bars but it was 12. I just scratch my head and say oookay?? After breaking it down for them on how to count bars it just goes one ear and out the other. But it is what it is lol Thanks for sharing your story. Hopefully this content will help others not make the same mistakes. Thanks for reading and commenting Mike! 🙂

  • Thanks for the advice Cole. I’ve been rapping for over ten years and still haven’t totally grasped the concept of counting bars and the musicality of it all. I’m just beginning to make beats, as I hope it helps me better identify song structure, musical notes, etc. since I have little to know experience playing an instrument. God Bless.

    • My pleasure bro! I’m glad that your finding my content helpful! I understand where you’re coming from. I know it can seem overwhelming at first but stick with it! The way you eat an elephant is one piece at a time 🙂

  • Cole, what’s the difference between mixing and mastering? And tell me please what these two actually are because I’m just a beginner and I can’t find out what’s going on. I want to record my vocals and create beat in FL Studio, but I don’t know how to do it, could you please give me some links with the lessons?

    • Constantin, basically mixing music is kind of like mixing a recipe together. Mixing music is all about balancing out all the sounds by giving them their own space in the overall mix so they play well with each other. This is achieved basically by effective use of eq, compression, and volume faders. Mastering is taking a good mix and making it loud as possible and adding additional subtle tweaks if needed. Mastering an album is doing the same thing but also making sure all the songs are relatively equal to one another in volume and sound. If you’re interested in learning more about mixing and mastering check out my fellow mentor and college Graham’s 5 minutes to a better mix series. I couldn’t recommend him more highly! Here’s the link to his youtube playlist

  • How do I ride the beat? I feel like I have trouble finding when to end a bar. I know I have rhythm because I can perfectly execute and make my own click tracks to the snare and kick or to the “pocket of the beat” (where I’m not interfering with any other instruments). I can do the 1234, or 12345678, and I know when to start but ending the bars is difficult. (I just started to try rapping to a beat, so I’m new to this, sorry). Also, I tried doing your scat rap thing, but when I try it, it seems as though my flow just sounds the same throughout the whole verse. Could you help? Thanks. -Data

    • Hey Data,

      It’s great that you have your rhythm down pat. The real easy way to figure out where a bar ends is right after you say 4 when using the 4 count method.

      So when you are going from saying 4 to saying 1 again that’s where 1 bar is transitioning into the next bar.

      Also in regards to scatting, you just need to practice learning different cadences and then start applying several different ones to a beat every 4 to 8 bars or so. I discuss ways you can learn cadences in this video

      I also practice cadences with you in this video

      I hope this helps you out! Keep up the hard work! 🙂

  • Hey, Cole. I just wanted to hear your opinion. I want my voice in rap to be calm, something like this
    I don’t really want to shout in a mic like Eminem, but I’ve read somewhere that I have put emotions in my track, I’m so confused now. Watsky raps calm and a lot of people like it, though. What do you think about it?

    • Yeah, emotions being present in a track doesn’t mean it has to be loud and aggressive. It can be smooth and chill as you pointed out. Feel free to study the tones and emotions of more mellow artists such as Jay Z and Common. They do a great job of putting emotions in their songs that aren’t really loud and aggressive. Study them and practice applying a similar feel and tone to your music. I hope this helps 🙂

      • Sure, it helps, thanks 😀 I have one more question. I don’t know how to get onstage, my friends tell me that club owners won’t let me perform because they don’t know me, so how am I to be a performer then? I’ve written lyrics, but I haven’t record them yet, so I don’t have tracks so far, but I can record them any moment on a studio in my town.

        • Hey Constantin, I’m glad that you found it helpful!

          Good question! Step 1 before performing live on stage you want to be as polished in your craft as possible. The same thing applies before recording in the studio. Do a rough draft recording of your best song even if it’s recorded on your phone with the beat playing loud enough in the background and submit it to me for review at and I will be able to give you tons of helpful feedback on where you’re currently at what you need to be doing to take your rapping to the next level.

          If you need 1 on 1 help applying my critiques and advice I also offer coaching at

          Focus on getting as polished as possible before recording in the studio. This also includes your delivery which is something most artists struggle with and I do a lot of coaching on this as well.

          Also go ahead and start focus on building your confidence to perform live in front of people if you feel like you need to.

          One way to work on this in private is to practice rapping in front of a mirror and study your movements and body language and work on being more animated with your body movement. If you need a reference just watch Youtube videos with rappers performing and study their body language. While your practicing at home visualize and imagine that your rapping in front of a group of people and practice working the crowd by making eye contact, pointing at them, interacting with them etc.. If you don’t have a good imagination put you up some teddy bears or something in the room lol! anything physical to represent a person.

          Get your stuff sounding tight in private, so you know for sure you’re going to rip it when you have a live audience. Part of building your confidence building is going to be just rapping in front of crowds period. So if you’re still struggling with being shy in front of crowds keep doing. It will only be temporary.

          After you get your song recorded in the studio. Get some cover art made for it and get some cd’s printed up so people will take you more seriously when you approach them such as club owners. Another way to start doing gigs is to look for open mic events, talent shows etc..

          There’s so much more I could talk about on this topic which again is why I do coaching sessions lol I hope this helps you out! Keep up the hard work bro! 🙂

          • Thanks, Cole. You help me out a lot 😀 By the way can you tell me more about booking gigs? Cause I’m new here and I don’t know how to speak and what to say and where to find those club owners.

          • My pleasure Constantin! Glad to help out! 🙂

            As far as booking gigs, if you don’t already have a decent size following that you can bring to the club or venue then you will most likely want to approach them asking if they are having any open mics in the future or if he or she would check out your EPK and consider you for opening up for other talent.

            Start doing heavy research in your area and figure out everywhere who has live music, karaoke, concerts, talent shows. Search facebook or google for events going down in your town and see where they’re being held at and find out who to contact. And with this research start building a list of contacts that you can call on and start building a relationship with. I hope this helps 🙂

          • Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it 😀 Here in Russia, it may be difficult because we don’t use Facebook, but anyway we have another popular social network, you can check it out, by the way (, really great thing 😀
            By the way, not long ago I realized that English has a lot of unfamiliar sounds, for example in Russian we use something that seems like /ʌ/ and that’s all. And imagine my expression when I got that this is different from /ɑ:/ and /æ/. So, now I’m learning how to pronounce all the 44 sounds just like a little kid, so difficult, by the way, but I’m going to make it, though 😀

          • Hey Constantin My pleasure! Glad to help 🙂 I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be learning a second language. Which language is your native language? Are you going to rap in both languages? That would be pretty cool! Keep up the hard work bro!

          • My native language is Russian and don’t know if it is a good idea to rap in it. I don’t really like the sound of it, but what I love is the sound of English, so I’ve been studying it for a while to rap in it 😀 Because I really love rap too.

          • That’s cool man! I think being bilingual can be and advantage. If you ever wanted to make a song targeting your native audience then you could. I think rapping in English will allow you to connect with a broader audience. There’s nothing wrong with doing either or both if you want. Just have fun with it and do what makes sense and sounds good to you 🙂

          • That’s right, Cole, music is about having fun, but I’m a bit confused with a couple of thing that I don’t understand. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to sell my music (iTunes, Google Music) now because I’m under 18. I don’t know anything about rights on music, sometimes I see title at sites of rappers like, “All rights reserved”, but how can I reserve my rights? Or how to prove iTunes and Google Music that my music is mine and nobody else’s? Or what if I share my music for free on sites like Bandcamp and somebody will put it on iTunes for money, telling that my music belongs to him. It’ll be just awful. So all these questions confuse me so much now. Could you please bring some clarity here? 🙂

          • Hey Constantin, I’m not sure about the age restriction for selling your music online. I would imagine there would be an age restriction because you will have to have payment information setup such as a PayPal or banking account. You may be able to ask a family member to help you out in that regard.

            As far as copyright’s go, there’s nothing you can really do to keep anyone from taking your music and using it. But there are precautions you can take to help prevent it as much as possible. Remember locks only keep honest people out and contacts are only for honest people. And you can simply put all rights reserved on anything you want. It’s just a warning to deter people from abusing content that’s all.

            Nowadays when you do a digital release of music on platforms such as iTunes and Amazon music through a company such as tunecore they will embed your music file with a code or the music will be stored in a data base so when someone else tries to upload your music on youtube or soundcloud it will get flagged for using 3rd party copywritten material. I’m going to look more into the details of how this all works and will be writing a blog about it soon. I hope this helps you out 🙂

          • Thank you, you did a great job and sometimes I think the only person who really cares of my rap career is you 🙂

          • My pleasure Contanstin! I really do care and I’m just trying my best to be a positive influence and resource for up and coming rappers do grow in their craft. I have a passion for seeing others succeed and I love to see others doing good for themselves. That’s what it’s all about 🙂

          • Well, you have already done a great job 🙂 By the way, I did some calculations and realized that recording my first mixtape is really expensive and I have no money to do that, but I can create beats so what I wanted to ask was, do you know some shops where I can put my beats to sell them? If so, would you recommend me put a limiter on the master channel in FL Studio before I sell my beat? If I do that then mixing with vocals will be impossible, but beat will get a great sound, though.

          • Hey Constantin, Thanks again for all the wonderful feedback! I appreciate that! Yes a few stores you may want to consider selling your beats off of are,, and There are more so feel free to keep searching if you wish. There’s nothing wrong with putting a limited on the master fader to make the beat as loud as possible. This is a technique of mastering. The main thing you should be concerned about is making sure that the beat is mixed properly. When an artist goes into the studio the overall volume of the beat can easily be brought down as low as desired to give more headroom for the vocals. I hope this helps and I’m wishing you the best with your best selling endeavors. 🙂

          • Thanks, I checked a couple of stores out and saw that one beat can have a lot of kinds of licence (some cost cheap like $25, another cost a lot (from $200)) and how do I make sure that the person who bought the cheapiest licence won’t do anything that licence bans. For example, he’s allowed to record one track, but he is going to record 2 or more and not going tell me about this. Do I have to track every person who I sell beats to?

          • Hey Contantin, that’s a good question. Contracts are just like locks on doors they are only for honest people. Unfortunately there’s no sure way to know if someone is violating the contract unless you are following their work very closely. If you’re selling beats to hundreds of artists this will be impossible to keep up with.

            Here’s a good video breaking down copyrights and protecting yourself as a producer/artist. Hope this helps 🙂

    • Hey Edgar, thanks for reading my article and I’m glad to hear that you really really really enjoyed it! 🙂 That’s what it’s all about! I hope it helps you in continuing to perfect your craft. And thanks for sharing your song with me I really did enjoy it! I think you did a good job with it! You’ve got a lot of potential! I have a lot of feedback I could give you on that track to help you polish your future songs more. If you ever want me to review your music feel free to get a music review from me at

      Keep on making good music! Much love and respect! 🙂

  • Cole you have some good stuff to say about the art of becoming a proficient lyricist. I would like to think that I have some sort of background in music but I still see where improvements can be made, so in essence, I find your objective yet introspective method to be refreshing. It’s definitely a good approach to circumventing writer’s block which can haunt those who are critical of everything. I sometimes develop artist by having them to start with a story board of sorts and then map out rhyming words. I then ask the artist does the lyrical energy match the song, this helps some identify the cadence a little better. Also identifying the artist influences also gives me a more concise idea of what sound the artist is striving to master. Content is important as well, this is easier to monitor when outlining or story boarding the song.

    • Hey William, thanks so much for reading and commenting! I’m glad that you enjoyed this article! And I sincerely appreciate all of your positive feedback! 🙂

      I’m a big fan of the storyboard method as well and am glad to hear that you are incorporating it in the lessons you are giving other artists! That’s what’s up! Keep up the hard work bro and I will continue to do the same! 🙂

    • Hey Liam, thanks for the positive feedback and for sharing your work with me. I just checked out your article and was very impressed with it. I think it’s a great overall guide for rappers just starting out. It’s good to see others giving back to the community. Keep up the good work and I wish you the best in helping groom the next generation of rappers! Much love and respect! 🙂

  • hey man im a new rapper and you seem like you know your stuff pretty well. im asking if i can send you some of my songs and give me positive and negative feed backs. my rap name is zackaroni-n-cheese and i follow the strange music group. my favorite rappers are tech n9ne and stevie stone. so if you could help me out id really apprecitate it. thank you

  • Honestly this wasnt good advice on a descriptive level. But did ease my nerves. Lately ive been frustrated because i saw a demotion in ny rapping and has led me to a depressed frustrated stage. Almost to the point of quitting but now i see a lot of things i could work on that ive always noticed but couldn’t figure out. So i guess it was good advice. This article really soothed my nerves and helped me gain my confidence back. Thank you. I will bookmark this and analyze it tomorrow and trouble shoot my issues.

    • Hey Tom,

      I’m glad that you found my article helpful. Yeah this article didn’t go into much details about the details of the problems because I’ve already spoken about them at great length and I linked to those articles within this article so make sure you check those out if you are wanting to dive in deeper. I’m really glad this article was timely for you and encouraged you to keep pushing forward! Feel free to stop by anytime and check out more of my articles 🙂

  • hey cole,
    people say I’m really good when I rap buh I listen to other rappers and score their song but wen I wanna write mine its so difficult like I just cant come up with .
    What should I do?

    • Hey Tari, rapping someone else’s lyrics compared to writing your own lyrics are totally different. If you want to learn much more about the process and how it works make sure you check out my new video series I’m currently doing called How To Rap A Verse I think it will help you greatly! 🙂

  • I Think One of the first mistakes new rappers make is reading a blog about how to write a rap lol. I’m not clowning this blog. I come from an era when you learned how to rap just by listening to other rappers. That was it.

    • Hey XiK, thanks for checking out my article and I understand where you’re coming from because that’s the era I came from as well. Tho I respectfully disagree that someone learning from a site such as mine is a mistake. I consider it an advantage for someone to be able to learn techniques quickly that otherwise may take them years of frustration and trial and error. But regardless of how a person learns the most important thing is that they learn. And when someone listens to a song all that matters to them is if the song is dope or not. 🙂

  • I have a question. ok people tell me that I rap too fast and I try too hard when I rap but the main reason is because each bar I use hella syllables and I want to fit it to a trap beat. (which takes many agonizing hours of practice and thought) how do I manage to keep the same flow but make people understand what Im saying? (I hope you catch my drift bc honestly idk how to say what I want to say)

    • Good question, likely your issue is either using too many syllables within a bar or not giving yourself the correct amount of space to emphasize certain syllables that need to be stressed which will result in your lyrics sounding unclear and rushed. Check out my lesson on structuring lyrics and also my lesson on translating cadences to lyrics. These should help you out greatly! 🙂 – Cole Mize

  • Hey cole i have a video of me spitting acapella now what my question is would you be willing to listen to it and maybe give you some feedback I’m trying to find my voice you know I know it’s a lot of rappers that change their voice when they rap well I really don’t like my voice so I try to play with you but I feel like it doesn’t have feeling emotion and I feel like it’s forced I just want to find my voice you have any tips is that what Cadence’s is Cadence the way you sound

    • Hey Jeff, if you would like to me to review your work please check out my 1 on 1 coaching service or my music review service I offer here on my website. What you’re referring to is delivery which is all about your vocal tone, and emotion. Cadence is how you dance to the track with your words. If you would like a quick and simple break down of all the main elements of rapping watch this old throwback video of mine entitles WHAT IS RAP?

      Also feel free to search my website there’s tons of great content on here that will help you out. If you have anymore questions please let me know. Keep up the hard work Jeff! You got this bro!! 🙂 – Cole Mize

  • I would say i’m lethal at writing bars/songs and using different emotions etc throughout my songs/music. i write each song in good time and put a lot of effort and time into my lyrics/stories and flow but when it comes t playing instrumentals and putting my lyrics/songs together with a beat i just cant do it and end up fkn it up with in 10 seconds, please help haha

  • Hi Cole Mize,
    Your blogs have been really helpful, especially since I’m from India where there are not much rappers(And the famous ones in town being wackos). Anyways, I’ve been a rapper(I’m 15) for about 4 years(working had at it) mostly listening to Eminem and I just wanted to clear some stuff:
    1) How do YOU define a flow?(I’ve heard the common notion, but i want an educated opinion. )
    2)How do you keep your lyrics to the bars in the instrumentals(btw where can i get GOOD free instrumentals)
    3)The relationship between syllables and bars.
    4)The Things I have to avoid to not make me sound like a wacko.
    5)My friends really appreciate my skill, but how do I end up as a rapper on the levels of legends?
    6)Sometimes I write some lyrics to beat thinkin those are good ones,but on later reviewing I trash it. Does it mean its that bad or is it just my inhibitions?

    Thanks In Advance 🙂

    • Hey Ivan thanks for the positive feedback. I’m really glad that my blog as been helpful to you. I’ve made videos addressing most of your questions my advice would be to watch all of the videos in my YouTube Playlist as most of your questions and more will be answered within them.

      In addition I would read my articles on this site on songwriting and the issue you’re having with trashing beats could be due to you loosing your fresh perspective which I talk about in this article

      Take some time and go through all of this content and then let me know if you have any questions along the way. I hope this helps you out greatly! 🙂 – Cole Mize

  • my name is mario ive always acapella rapped but am trying to go on instrumentals. my problem is im having a hard time deciphering where the hook starts and finishes and when a verse starts. i read up on counting bars, i know how to tell when snares and kicks are being used. but when i listen to beats and put it all together it doesnt flow right. is it me or is it the beats i choose??? my friend who raps usually helps me out but he wants me to be more independent on figuring out instrumentals and what not that he told me to research more. and i have read countless blogs, forums, articles and such but i find it easier as a visual and physical learner to be able to have a step by step lesson… but i guess i juss dont understand that concept. i can be on point with it all and i have been straight thru songs with no hook or anything to avoid it. but i know a really good hook or catchy hook can make a song sound phenomenal and stand out more as well. please help

  • I have a question. Why do people like to make fun of me whenever I make a rap they don’t like? I’m in 9th grade and in the beginning of the year I use to drop songs and freestyles for fun that most of my school bumped to, but then later on I started getting a lot of hate in the long run. They argue my subject manner is trash and they make fun of me everyday for it. It’s like they feel obligated to make fun of me. I keep thinking they do it for some deep reason like to improve me but no, they just make fun of me because they don’t like my music. But I’m confused — why can’t they just leave me alone and stop paying attention to my music if they genuinely don’t like it. They honestly don’t like it, and I’m serious about that. But are they right to keep talking about me? I keep trying to ignore or reason with them but nothing works. I ignore them, and they put me down, and these thoughts get stuck in my head that affect my rapping. I’m getting use to it but it’s like my closest friends are doing the same things now and it’s really affecting me. Are they right to do these things?

    • Thanks for reaching out. What’s confusing me is that they first liked what you were doing but no longer do? What changed? Did your subject matter change from the beginning? Think if your local classmates as an audience. If you want to rock an audience you have to rap about things that are relevant to that audience. Focus on writing about local events that are happening in your school and use them as punchlines or as a general context of your rapping. For example a recent fight that took place, a bad break up someone popular had, a new rumor, a new joke going around, an upcoming sports event and also use other current popular events that are going on.

      The key is when your performing you are performing for the crowd so you gotta rap about things that’s going to move the crowd. So take the negative things they are saying and flip it back around on them. The good thing is they care enough about what your doing to be talking about you and they are giving you feedback which is helpful regardless if they are being mean about it. Use it to your advantage , go back to the drawing board and try out different things with the content of your lyrics. Think of it as an experiment.

      If an owner of a restaurant kept getting complaints about one of the dishes “no matter how awesome the owner thought the dish was” he would be wise to adjust the dish to please the customers or accept the probability of loosing those customers.

      With that said, don’t be fake. Be yourself but be yourself in a way that also resonates and connects with your audience by talking about things they relate to and do it with confidence and emotion. Make them feel you, don’t give them a choice. I hope this helps. 🙂 – Cole Mize

    • I’m really glad to hear that Jupiter! Thanks for reading and for the positive feedback. Keep up the hard work bro! Much respect! 🙂 – Cole Mize

  • Hey Cole I really like what you got on here good stuff! The one thing I really need to work on and would like input on is goal setting and game planning. I mean as a rapper we rap, we throw on a beat with some sort but idea what we want the finished product to be and then record it. As for pioneering a vision and implementing a course of action beyond making the recordings is where it gets tricky for me. As an independent artist I find myself constantly in the creative stage without a plan of how to release it or promote it etc. At the end of it I find myself with all this music without a good plan to release it and promote it so how do I focus not only the music but all the other business aspects too while maintaining a solid output creatively? It feels like I’m swimming in a vacuum sometimes and then I revert back to simply creation mode. Any advice? Thanks!

    • Hey Aaron, Thanks for all of your positive feedback on my work. I’m glad you have been find it to be helpful. Good question! I would recommend dedicating a set amount of time to learn the business aspect of music. I recommend you watch every video that Wendy Day has up on her channel here. She has a wealth of business information for indie rappers such as your self. Check her out you won’t be sorry 🙂 – Cole Mize

  • Hey I’ve stumbled across several problems i have been rapping for about one year now but I still have trouble flowing with the beat becaus in most instrumentaIs I can’t seem to identify the bars

  • Hey Colemize, your amazing bro, the content your providing is exactly what new rappers need. It’s such a good base and covers everything beautifully and the fact that your doing it unselfishly, not charging a single dime, mad ups to you my brother ! The question I had btw I think I’m just overthinking it, but you say there are 4 beats in 1 bar, so I’m guessing that’s the 1… 2… 3… 4… and that makes 1 bar or 1 line, this is the part that confuses me, what do you mean by there’s 16 bars in 1 verse ? Cause I count while listening to music and it’s usually 8 bars ? Do you mean 16 lines, which is comprised of 32 beats (8 bars) is one verse or are we saying the same thing here ? Please help me clear this confusion it’s driving me nuts !

    • Hey Imtiyaz,

      Thanks for all of your kinds words. Yes it sounds like we’re saying the same thing but it also sounds like you may be counting your bars wrong. There’s 4 beats per bar and typically 16 bars per verse. If you’re counting only 8 bars for the verse chances are you’re counting wrong or it could just be a trap beat with is a really slow tempo which maybe only 8 bars but since the tempo is so slow it feels like 16 bars. Make sure you check out my video lesson on detecting tempo and song structure. These will both help you out a lot! 🙂 – Cole Mize

  • Hey, random question: can girls rap? I mean, I really like to rap (discovered it a few days ago and I’ve already memorized some songs) and I can keep up with a beat alright, but are there any girl rappers out there, or is there a general rule or reason that girls can’t rap? I think I sound somewhat okay and I can go pretty fast, but that probably doesn’t mean that it’s a sure thing I’ll sound good to other people. The two artists that I have found in the past two-to-three days are TJ Prodigy and Bars and Melody. Any others like them? And seriously, if I really wanted to, could I really learn to rap being a girl?

    • Hey Lissy, of course! Females can rap 100% There are many awesome female rappers! Search for Queen Latifah, Da Brat, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, Snow Tha Product, Bobbie Johnson, MC Lyte, lil Kim, Iggy Azalea, Nicki Minaj, Remy Ma. Just to name a few. Of course, you can learn how to rap just like anyone else. And this is a great place to start I hope this helps! 🙂 – Cole Mize

  • Pls when u talk of tempo,I don’t understand u bro pls enlightened me more. Again when I try to practice wit my lyrics, the more I do,the More it becomes boring. Am still down when it concerns counting beats so pls take me out

  • You’re an incredible teacher, thanks for sharing your knowledge! However, there are four misspellings in this piece that set my OCD off so bad! Lol

    • Thanks so much for your kind words Katy! I really do appreciate it! Sorry for triggering your OCD lol! I’ll be sure to correct those misspellings. Thanks for bringing them to my attention. 🙂 – Cole Mize

  • hey Cole mize, ive been having an issue with thinking of something to write about, like there’s plenty of things in my life that have been bothering me but I just can’t seem to focus or plan or make a good story/ song with it and its also hard for me to figure out what to come up with in the beginning of the song or in other words how to start a song/ write down in the beginning, if you can please help, it would help so much, this is the only thing keeping me back from my dream

  • Hi, I’m Angela.
    I fell in love with hip hop couple months ago and I decided, about 20 minutes ago, to learn how to rap. So I googled how to rap, and landed on your page. The very first page! 😉
    And I’m glad it was your article. I’m gonna ask my kid’s piano teacher to teach me how to identify beats and drum.
    I was always not good with beat so I just assumed that I don’t have that ability in me, never thought that it can be learned.
    To top that off, I have problem with lylics too. English being my second language, I don’t understand lylics most of the times. Especially the kind with cultural reference, which are 98%, in my opinion. LOL
    So learning how to rap is going to be interesting challenge to me. Would you kindly drop me any tips for student like me please? 😉

    Btw, I had to scrolled down A LOT to leave you a comment. Although I believe you deserve anyone’s scroll, I thought you might want to hear about it. 😉

    • Hey Angela, thanks for reaching out! For anyone starting out rapping, I would recommend starting with ear training. I’m currently doing a 31 part videos series called 5 minutes to a better rap flow. Here’s the link to the playlist Also be sure to check my article 5 Steps To Learning How To Rap both of these are awesome resources for people just starting who need direction. I hope this helps! Thanks so much for your comment and I’m wishing you the best on your musical journey! 🙂 – Cole Mize

  • Damn I’m like them oils hoppin out the fryin pan comin in to bring the heat nigga no ceiling fan big bully shit that’ll get your head blowin smoking on Sour d got my lungs croakin all I’m trying to do is get paid eat cake rockin big Jewels looking like a ice tray oh man it feels great to be home in the throne got to watch how you talkin on these new phones don’t want to get stuck up in the system especially when we dealin with a bunch of racism taught by the old heads with a whole lot of wisdom Sledgehammer I’m a beast nigga Imma beast’em

  • Hey cole my name is joe I’ve been writing lyrics for about 3 maybe four years on and off whenever I get in the mood. I’ll put so much energy and thought into my lyrics that it exhausts me and I find my self going to and from lyricism…..
    So I have a problem now….
    I honestly believe I am one of the greatest lyricists of all time, and I am absolutely certain if I could learn to spit to a beat or learn how to put lyrics to beats I will be absolutely garaunteed success in rap music….i need help and advice on this subject I constantly try have no where to start and have no background with instruments or beat making….ive honed the writing part the furthest it can go but now this is my only roadblock to dominating rap music and I got no one to turn to….ill just give you an example of my lyrics so you can see what I’m saying and I need help coaching or advice on how to put my lyrics and how to make beats and lyrics work in sync.

    I don’t care if you say something in a really disrespectful manner,
    About iggy azalea with a two step ladder,
    Setting up macklemore for a lay up,
    So he can hit a little bit more backboard and continue to get his game up,

    Last week I read and studied Machiavelli,
    This week I found last week’s,
    Left over moldy and soggy peanut butter and jelly,
    At the bottom of my lunch pail,
    And it looked just like machine gun Kelly

    • no offense, but multi syllable rhymes, and references in the form of name drops are pretty basic, as far as lyricism is concerned, imo.

      none of that stuff really pertains to your specific situation, though…

      imo, the easiest way for someone who’s never recorded before, but wants to start recordin, is to start out w some basic, watered down, bland af, one syllable end rhyme, nursery rhymes, and/or things of that nature. it don’t matter if you’ve mastered the art of writin lyrics, or of you’ve never written a single syllable of lyrics in your life. tbh, you don’t really even have to worry about rhymin anything at all, at 1st. tbCh, you don’t really even have to worry about sayin ACTUAL words at all. it’s good that you know the writin part, but there’s a whole other world to doin music, which is recordin. when recordin music, specifically hip-hop/rap music, one needs to be able to be on beat, have rhythm, and articulate (unless you’re tryna be a mumble rapper), as well as, have a delivery, a cadence, a flow, inflection, emphasis, and emotion. when startin out recordin, for the very 1st time, just try to focus on the 1st 2, or 3 things that I listed… bein on beat, and stayin on beat, and havin rhythm. articulation isn’t as important, for a beginner, when 1st recordin. bein off beat, or bein on beat, but not stayin on beat (unless intentional), along w a lack of rhythm makes it completely impossible for anything, and/or anyone to sound even somewhat tolerable for others to listen to, imo. once you get the hang of bein on beat, and stayin on beat, and establishin rhythm, then you can gradually start tryna take on, and eventually add the other things I listed previously to your recordins, 1 by 1, until you’ve gotten the hang of every one of the basic aspects of recordin hip-hop/rap music. once you have ALL of the basics, I listed above, down, then you can try movin on to havin, and usin multiple flows, and addin switches, and/or transitions between flows.

      aside from all that… practice, Practice, PRACTICE.

      oh yeah, and start out by recordin to lower bpm “boom bap“ type beats, and work your way up to higher bpm “boom bap“ type beats, and/or lower bpm “trap“ type beats, then to higher bpm “trap” type beats.

      hope this was/is able to help in anyway.

  • Thanks #colemizestudios i appreciate you putting all this together. Ive bin writing for over 30 years. I never thought id ever be able to deliver my own lines. You and a few others have tought me so much. Thnks Cole real shit.

  • Bruuuuuh I need to send this to every artists I send a beat to bc I yet to find a artists to rap according to my structure which is typically 4(intro) 8(chorus) 12(verse). But I swear like right now I’m mixing a song I produced and the rapper is rapping 16s, did the intro and chorus half way on the verse and it’s fruuuustrating. I restructured it to fit and now they saying they don’t like it. I’m not the greatest producer but I KNOW what sounds right. I swear knowing how to approach a beat is one of the big differences between a great and not so good artist.

  • help me complete my verse… tryna figure it out has LITERALLY crippled me for the last year, and a half. night, and day. day, and night. I’ve lost sleep, sanity, friend’s, family, opportunity’s, and I still have nothin to show for it a year, and a half later. I’m to the point where it’s either I figure this verse out, or I quit all together, and I don’t wanna quit, but if I keep goin on like this I 100% am gonna end up doin somethin that I’m gonna regret, and can’t take back, or undo. please, somebody… anybody…I need your help.

    • I don’t know what this verse is for and why you feel it’s so important, but don’t let a single verse dictate your life.

      • for starter’s, I’m very critical of my work. I have high standard’s for myself in everything I do in life. which, in turn, causes me to beat myself up alotta time’s over thing’s I do. I’ve tried for a year, and a half to come up w 6 bar’s of double time, and have wrote, rewrote, recorded, and rerecorded thousand’s of time’s. I’ve gotten fairly good in a short amount of time until now it’s to the point where if I’m not progressin in the level of difficulty of stuff I do, then it just seem’s like I’m taken a giant step backward’s in progression, and it alway’s has been like that for me. I found out that I jumped the gun, at a certain point, w the song I’m speakin of, though. I received a feature verse that’s quite good, and a hook that’s phenomenal for it, and these are 2 of the major reason’s why I’m not able to allow myself to forget the song, and just simply move onto another one… along w already havin devoted sooo much of my time, energy, and effort toward’s the song. the last song I released (my 1st single) had 4 different flow’s, and 3 different switch’s/transition’s in my verse… different flow every 4 bar’s. one of those 4 bar flow’s I used in my verse was double time, and I was able to execute it flawlessly, so I know that I’m capable of not just doin double time, but doin it, and doin it well. this is another reason I’ve continuously gotten frustrated to no end since all I lack is the 6 bar’s of double time in order for me to finally complete this year, and a half long verse of mine.

        • Just keep in mind that nobody is perfect and perfectionism will hold you back instead of growing and learning as you go.

          • hey, what’s up Mike. I appreciate you taken the time out of your day to comment on my situation. I’m still in the process of tryna finish my verse. I’ve gotten the double time part written, and recorded. along w the rest of my verse. I think it’s damn near perfect, or at least as close to perfect as I’ll ever get it, but I’ve let a few other artists, I’ve gotten to become good friends w since doin music, listen to it, and they say that after the first line of double time I’m off for the rest of my verse, but I don’t hear it. after recordin, I always go back and count the beats in each line of my stuff out, out loud, while playin back, and listenin to what I recorded, so that I know for sure I’m on beat. I think it’s just 1 line that’s off, and in turn that 1 line is throwin the rest of my verse of, so if I fix that 1 line, then everything else will fall into place and be perfect. I just wish Issa able to hear what others hear, or have someone explain just exactly how I’m off, so I could have an understandin of what exactly I need to do in order to fix it. I guess, if nothin else, I’m at least makin SOME progress. again, thank you for your sharin your thoughts on my situation w me. good, bad, and in between… I truly appreciate any, and all genuinely honest thoughts, opinions, help, feedback, and constructive criticism.

  • Thank you very much the encouragement just what I needed to hear, I didn’t know it take this much to be a creative.

  • Thank you so much . for that information…i am a singer who is trying to rap ..but i want to learn how to switch the flow in a way that i can melodize the rap

  • Cole, brother, if you’re still around, I want to thank you. You have helped me a lot through your videos. I have just only one question. I have two passions: acting and rapping(i consider myself naturally more inclined to acting as a talent). The catch si that i can t say no to none of those passions. In acting I want to become great so i spend most of my time working my craft here, but i m also trying to craft myself as a rapper, at least one hour a day, and in weekends two-three hours. Often I am frustrated cause I feel I should put more work into rapping, but I simply can ccause there s not enough time, I spend that time in acting. I wanted o ask you how can I worke those 2 things out. Often I get frustrated cause I thing I ll always be mediocre in rapping ’cause my hours put in are not enough. Thak u, brother, lookin forward to hear from you

  • Hello, It was very teachfull information which helped me a lot while preparing Hip Hop Beats. Music is like meditation for me , which helps me to overcome all my problems ,

  • Hello.

    Very helpful info so my only question and/or support I would be seeking advice on is lyrics.

    I had a stroke a couple of years ago and since then I struggle with saying the right words at the right time. So I decided to learn how to rap.

    I’m 36 and for the last 18 months I can create beats, can write constantly but due to a short term memory issue struggle to remember lyrics.

    Advice on best way to do this as that’s what frustrates me.

    Feel free to email me privately.


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