Today I’m going to show you where you should write your rap verse on a beat by understanding rap instrumentals.
First, import your instrumental into your DAW and input the tempo of the instrumental. If you don’t already have a DAW I recommend Studio One 5 Prime which is FREE for Mac and Windows. I’ll paste a link to it and everything else I mention in this tutorial in the video description below.
If you don’t know the tempo of the instrumental you can use a FREE online tool like Tunebat to figure it out for you.
Next, align the instrumental to the grid correctly by placing the 1st snare of a bar with the 2nd beat of the grid. Even though you’ve already inputted the instrumentals tempo into your DAW this is still necessary if you’re instrumental is an MP3 because usually MP3’s have a short pause at the beginning of them which will throw the instrumental off the grid.
Now to fix this just remove the Snap function so that you can move the instrumental freely around the grid and then align the first snare of a bar with the 2nd beat on the grid.
Then re-engage the snap function to lock the instrumental back to the grid.
Now loop 1-2 bars and engage the metronome and if you’ve done everything correctly you will hear both snares landing at the same time as the metronome on the 2nd and 4th beats.
Now that the instrumental is aligned to the grid correctly we can easily navigate throughout the instrumental and figure out it’s song structure.
Typically 90% of instrumentals you rap over will begin with an intro that’s somewhere between 4-8 bars in length. Intros are used to introduce you to some elements of the instrumental before bringing in all the other elements. It’s common for an intro to have some type of melody present without any drums.
HOOK OR VERSE
After the intro, either the verse or hook section of the instrumental will come in and both jumps up a level in energy compared to the intro and typically have drums. You can see this jump in energy visually by looking at the instrumentals waveform.
One easy way to tell if it’s the verse or the hook that comes in after the intro is after that jump in energy occurs see if the instrumental drops off in energy 8 bars later. If so, then it’s likely the hook that came in after the intro followed by the verse, because hooks are typically 8 bars in length and verses are typically 12-16 bars in length.
If this is the case you would write your rap verse on the section that comes after the hook.
If this isn’t the case then it’s likely the verse that came in after the intro and that’s where you should write your rap verse.
Now you just need to confirm the length of the verse, is it 12 or 16 bars?
To tell how long a verse is, just figure out where the hook comes back in.
After you’ve wrapped your mind around the song structure of the instrumental go ahead and create some markers so you don’t forget. In Studio One, you can do this by clicking Y and then double-clicking the marker to rename it.
Oftentimes you can visually tell where the hook comes back in by looking at the instrumentals waveform because it’s common for a lot of instruments to be removed right before the hook comes back in which makes the hook feel even bigger!
Another thing you can do is just jump forward 4 bar sections at a time until you hear the hook playing again then calculate how many 4 bar sections it took you to reach the hook.
My name is Cole Mize with ColeMizeStudios.com where I strive to make you a better rapper now! If you’re trying to perfect your rap skills make sure you get yourself a free copy of my eBook the #1 fundamental to rapping below 👇 and always remember, when it comes to rapping theirs no rules, theirs only techniques, peace!