Rap is a modern form of poetry and lyrics are what distinguish good rappers from great rappers. Good lyrics are personal and have a fluid rhythm, blending into the song as you say something important just like a good essay or story would. Writing good letters takes practice, but anyone can get started at any time with just a pencil and a piece of paper.
Method 1 of 3: Find a Theme and Chorus
Step 1. Define a theme for the song
The topic can be something that has happened recently, something that has already happened in the past, a problem that you are thinking about, etc. It can be a dance song, a song where you talk about yourself, or something that happened to you in a dream. There are no wrong topics as long as they arise in some way from personal experience.
The title of the song is a good indicator of the theme. However, you can always define the title later
Step 2. Define the “story” of the letter
You don't have to tell a true story, although rap stories have been popular since the birth of hip hop (Immortal Technique's “Dance With The Devil” or most of the Ghostface Killah songs). Telling a story simply means that your song or verse has a beginning, a middle, and an ending. You will want to take the listener on a journey, even if it is simply a journey about how good you are and how much style you have.
- Some rappers may write their songs as paragraphs first and then write the rhymes to follow the general structure.
- Having structure in your song helps you develop a coherent idea. For example, the most important point of your greatest rhyme cannot be at the beginning of the song; It has to be at the end, like the climax in a good movie. This will help you capture and retain the attention of your listeners.
- At least try to end your song in a different place where it started. This is the reason why even the “material rap” about gold and girls begins by mentioning how little the rapper had when he first started working.
Step 3. Get familiar with the rhythm
Make sure you are comfortable with the pace you choose. For example, if you can't rap very fast, you may not want to pick a fast beat, as you won't be able to rap over it without losing your breath or stuttering. Listen to the beat 4-5 times to get comfortable with it and understand the feeling of the song. Feel the speed and energy of the song.
- Songs with accelerated time ("People Are Strange" by Das Racist, for example) usually require fast verses with many words, while slower rhythms ("PIMP of 50 Cent, for example") usually have slower verses. However, this rule is not strict (listen to “Slow Jamz” by Twista, for example).
- When the lyrics match the rhythm, good songs are born. Think about how the beat makes you feel. Is it edgy and atmospheric like Jay-Z's “Renegade” or is it fast-paced and festive like Kanye West's “The Glory”? Pay attention to how the lyrics of these songs fit in with the beat.
- Listen to the song “One Train” by A $ AP Rocky. In it, 5 different rappers rap their verses on the same beat. Pay attention to how each approaches the song differently: some seem to feel urgency (Kendrick), joy (Danny Brown), anger (Yelawolf), contemplation (Big K. R. I. T.). However, they all fit the rhythm.
- You don't need to have a rhythm to start writing raps. It may help to write the lyrics of the song without having a beat in mind and then save it until you hear the correct beat.
Step 4. Write a catchy chorus or chorus
This is the repeating phrase in the middle of the song that separates each verse. They aren't strictly necessary (A $ AP Rocky's “One Train” doesn't have one, for example), but almost any rap song you want to play on the radio needs a good catchy chorus. It can range from something very deep to something that is just catchy, and it usually always reinforces the theme of the song. Most choruses are sung, not rapped.
- 50 Cent is a great chorus writer, and songs like "P. I. M. P." and “In Da Club” have choruses that are still sung after 10 years.
- For a simple, classic chorus, try defining between one or two separate, simple, and rhyming phrases. Repeat each one twice in a row for a “classic” chorus, like this catchy, repeating chorus in its entirety twice:
- Cigarettes on cigarettes my momma think I stank. (Cigarettes on cigarettes… My mother thinks I stink).
- I got burn holes in my hoodies all my homies think it's dank. (I have burn holes in my hoodies. All my friends think it looks cool.)
- I miss my cocoa butter kisses… cocoa butter kisses. (I miss my cocoa butter flavored kisses … cocoa butter). "Cocoa Butter Kisses" by Chance the Rapper
Method 2 of 3: Write Good Rhymes
Step 1. Define how many bars you will have to rap
A bar is simply a line in your song. Most raps are performed with 16 to 32 lines of verse, although they can also be short with 8 or 12 bars. If you are going to write the entire song yourself, you will most likely have 2 or 3 verses and a chorus. You may also have a short bridge with 8-10 lines, which is a small verse with a different rhythm or structure.
You can also write your rap without knowing the bars. Just write until you feel like your verse is ready, and then edit the rhythm to make it as long as you want
Step 2. Understand the rhymes backwards and forwards
The raps are written based on the rhymes. The rhymes connect the lines so that they subtly flow together, making the listener feel the song. While not every line in your rap should rhyme, and probably won't, you will need to have a firm understanding of rhyming techniques to become a rapper. Luckily, this requires no study, just an ear for what sounds good to you. However, differences between the different types of rhymes in rap can be helpful:
when the last two syllables of two lines rhyme, like "man" and "name". This is the most common and basic form of rhyme.
Rhyme of several syllables:
one of the best ways to show off your lyrical skills is to rhyme several syllables at once. This can be extended through multiple words, as in the song “One Day” by Big Daddy Kane: Ain’t no need for wondering who’s the man. Staying looking right always an ex cluYes go brand. (No need to wonder who the man is. I always look for an exclusive brand).
rhymes closely related, but technically they are words that do not rhyme. They generally have a common vowel sound. This is quite common in rap, as the way you sing or rap the words can make them sound much more similar. Some examples include: "nose" and "go" or "orange" and "porridge."
rhyming words that are not at the end of a line, but in the middle of it. For example, “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Madvillains: Made of fine chrome alloy. Find him on the grind, he's a rhinestone cowboy. (It is made from a fine chrome alloy. Find him in his routine. He is a faux diamond cowboy).
Step 3. Write closing or culminating sentences in reverse
Closure phrases are the great lines, jokes, or rhymes that turn a good song into an amazing song. There are thousands of good examples, but they are usually a matter of personal preference. To write them, try to think of the closing phrase and then make the lines that rhyme based on it.
If your closing phrase is "I'm stepping over the competition, so expect to get trampled", you may want to write a line whose final word rhymes with "trampled." For example, “I have taken away all the rhymes, I have dismantled them. I'm stepping over the competition, so expect to get trampled. "
Step 4. Organize your lines in a rhyming scheme
A rhyming scheme is simply how the song is structured. The most common way to do this is with alternating couplets, which are two lines that rhyme at the end. The next two lines also rhyme at the end, but with a different set of words. With this in mind, there are many ways to write rhyme schemes, such as alternating (the first line rhymes with the third and the second with the fourth) or 4-6 line rhymes with the same word (like the beginning of “Get ' Em High). The best way to learn is to practice.
- If you are a rapper who raps with a lot of flow (fast and thin words), you may want each bar to end with the same number of syllables or almost the same number of syllables.
- If you are a rapper who raps fast, you may want to have a lot of internal rhymes in each bar, such as “the industry's gettin 'clean and I've seen what them haters mean / if you thought I was lettin' up setting up the terrain was dreamed”. (The industry is cleaning up and I've seen what the haters mean. If you think he was giving in, he was setting you up).
- If you are a rapper who tells stories, you can consider your first verse to be the introduction, your second the problem and the last your conclusion. To make this fit, you can play with a different rhyme scheme in each verse to show development or use a similar one to indicate that there is no development.
Step 5. Make sure your song is personal and real
Make sure you mean every word and that every word comes from your soul. Let the music come to you. To start writing good lyrics, you need to choose a rhythm that stimulates your brain to start thinking of great rhymes. It all has a lot to do with the state of mind.
- Real life details will always make a song better. The reason Nas's Illmatic is one of the best albums of all time is because it feels real, not made up.
- If you don't have a theme or rhyming scheme yet, just start writing lines that you like. Over time, these lines will come together to tell a complete song, and this can be a great way to practice rhymes.
- The best rappers are able to tell real life stories and connect with the memories and emotions of their audience. They are not successful because they tell wild or unbelievable stories, but because they make a simple story connect with practice and well-written rhymes.
Method 3 of 3: Improve Your Lettering
Step 1. Practice rewriting your favorite raps
This is one of the best ways to learn rap techniques. Listen to your favorite songs and learn them backwards and forwards. Then rewrite the rap, using the same rhyme structure, but with your own verses. In this way the mixtapes became known: some rappers like Curren $ y and 50 Cent changed the lyrics of popular songs and then made them their own. Even if you never share your song, it is a good way to learn rap techniques naturally.
Step 2. Learn poetic techniques to raise your level
Rap is poetry - using words, sounds, and rhymes to create beautiful art and ideas. So it's no surprise that the best rappers have been inspired by the best poets. Eminem, for example, used Shakespeare's meter and rhymes in many of his famous songs. Other examples include:
Alliteration or assonance:
words with similar sounds that are placed together, such as “clear bugles” or “Chillería de chiquillos”. Listen to “Waves” by Joey Bada $$ for a great example.
Simile or metaphor:
These two techniques are closely connected, and occur when writers compare two objects that are generally not the same to say something important. For example, "I will put the metal on your chest like Robocop" works in many ways. The bullets are made of metal, Robocop's chest is covered in metal armor, and the biggest target when shooting someone is his chest. This is a much more poetic way of saying "I could shoot him."
a line that is repeated at various points for emphasis. The more you listen to this line, the more it changes, evolves, and gains power. For a masterclass on how to use a repeating phrase, listen to Kendrick Lamar's “The Blacker the Berry”.
when the first half of a line is repeated, but the rest of the line changes, as in Eminem's “If I Had”, where it always starts with the line “I'm tired of…”. This is a great way to show how difficult, consistent, or complicated something can be, or to intentionally overwhelm the listener.
Step 3. Use specific images in your lyrics
Images are a great way to illustrate the eyes of your listeners as they engage multiple senses to create more complex and engaging raps. The best rappers conjure images in your mind by telling stories and bringing their lyrics to life. To do this, focus on being specific. Use adjectives and adverbs to create images.
- These "images" do not necessarily have to be visual. Action Bronson uses food and smells in his raps to give them a whole new dimension.
- The kings of the images are Andre 3000, Ghostface Killah, Eminem, etc. These rappers are the ones who generally have the most followers.
Step 4. Work on the flow, or rapping, of your lines so that they blend well when telling your story
Good lines turn into excellent lines with good flow. Flow is the way you pronounce words in relation to rhythm. Are you slow and reserved or do you attack the rhythm with speed and intensity? Do you hesitate or speed up and slow down depending on the line? Flow takes practice and patience, so play a beat and practice.
You don't have to have the same flow throughout the song. Nas's incredible song “NY State of Mind” flows like a good jazz solo: it stops, moves forward, pauses, and goes forward again with incredible rhymes
Step 5. Read about good rappers for inspiration
Just as a burgeoning writer needs to study the best poets, a growing rapper needs to read the best rappers. Reading raps allows you to see them on paper, just like the rapper when he wrote the lyrics. This will help you understand the structure of rhymes and other little tricks. Sites like RapGenius, for example, have annotations on each line that explain metaphors, rhymes, and references. Hear what you like, but here is a small selection of essential verses (in addition to the other songs mentioned throughout the article) that you can start with:
- The first verse of AZ's “Life’s a Bitch” (from Nas's Illmatic album)
- "Notorious Thugs" by Notorious B. I. G.
- “75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction)” by Black Thought
- Rakim's “As The Rhyme Goes On” (from Black’s Reconstruction album)
- "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thrist" by Kendrick Lamar
- "Murals" by Lupe Fiasco.
- Eminem's "Lose Yourself"
- Never steal lines or you will lose a lot of respect in the future.
- Always listen to the music of more and more rappers to hear different styles and help you come up with ideas.
- The time it takes you to write a song varies a lot. Sometimes it can take you a whole month to write a new song and other times 20 minutes.
- Rap freestyle when you feel like you're stuck. Improv can be silly and fun, and it may not make a lot of sense, but the more you rap freestyle, the more creativity you'll have when recording your lyrics. You can even surprise yourself.
- Try to keep your song short and sweet. Most of them last 4 minutes.
- They may make fun of your songs or show rejection of them, but never let that stop you from doing what you love.
- Remember that your words have power and you should always try to be honest and true to yourself when you rap.