Today I’m going to show you examples of 3 common reasons why your rap flow may suck and what you can do to fix it. For today’s examples, I’m going to be rapping over a beat that I produced called “Showtime”. If you like this instrumental you can get it over on my beat store. Also, make sure you stick around to the end of this article because I have a special announcement to make.
#1 Too Predictable
Now, this first thing that may be causing your rap flow to suck is it may be too predictable due to it lacking dynamics. Let’s listen to an example of this.
Now if we look at this diagram of the rap flow you just heard you can see that every single bar is 100% identical which is what’s making it too predictable and boring.
What’s amazing is that you don’t have to make drastic changes to fix this. For example, on the 2nd bar, I can get rid of the middle pause and fill it with an overlapping 8th note and two 16th notes. And on the 3rd bar, I can reduce the last pause to only one 16th note and then on the 4th bar I can eliminate that middle pause again. These two changes make the tail end of my rap flow feel much more aggressive which gives my rap flow movement in energy.
#2 Too Random
Another issue that may be plaguing your rap flow is the inverse to the previous problem and that’s a rap flow that’s too random and doesn’t have enough repetition. Let’s listen to an example of this.
Now there are some cool cadence patterns going on here, but it’s hard to follow along with and make sense of because there’s really no repetition to the cadences which can make it unenjoyable to listen to for most listeners.
The balance you typically need to aim for with your rap flow is you want it to be predictable enough to follow along with, but unpredictable enough to keep your listeners unsuspecting of what you may do next.
The fix for this is simple. I can just pick one of the cadences and repeat it a few times and then try to build upon it leading into the 4th bar. You may be picking up on a theme here. The 4th bar of a 4 bar quadrant is a great place to add or take away something from your cadence to give it movement.
So what I decided to do was to take my bar 1 cadence and repeat it on bars 2 and 3 and then on bar 4 I kept the same pause at the beginning to keep the uniformity of my pauses and then I filled the entire bar in with 16th notes which gave it more aggression and movement.
#3 Bad Transitions
The 3rd culprit that may be causing your rap flow to suck is having bad transitions between different sounding cadences which can make these changes sound too abrupt. Think of your cadence as energy, and if there’s too much of a drastic jump in energy it can feel artificial and forced. We also notice this in acting. If an actor goes from 0-100 emotionally it doesn’t feel natural or believable.
Let’s take a listen to an example of this.
Now the problem is this. On the 3rd bar is where my cadence pattern changes. Before I was sprinkling all these short pauses in my cadences and my new cadence is filling in my bars primarily with 16th notes and I also used two 32nd notes at the beginning of my bar.
These 32nd notes caused a pretty big jump in aggression at the beginning of the bar which I felt was too abrupt.
So my fix was simple. One great way to transition between different sounding cadences is to add a pause between them which I added on the 1st beat of the 3rd bar. Also, I shifted the 32nd notes over to the 2nd beat just to give a little more space before I added that much aggression to my cadence.
Let’s take a listen to how these tweaks sound.
Now an underlying tool I’ve been using this whole time to improve each of these rap flows is Scatting. If you feel like your rap flow sucks you also need to improve your scatting skills! And next week I’m going to be hosting a private group coaching session with my students specifically on how to improve your scatting.
You’ll learn the core fundamentals to begin scatting, how to never run out of fresh cadence ideas, how to use scatting to fit your lyrics to instrumentals perfectly, and so much more! It’s going to be awesome! If you want to learn more about this session click here.
My name is Cole Mize with colemizestudios.com where I strive to make you a better rapper now. If you’re wanting 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, there’s no rules, there’s only techniques, peace!