Learn How to Rap Professionally: Fundamental Elements of Rapping
“I see no changes, all I see is racist faces
Misplaced, hate makes disgrace for races.”
- Tupac, ‘"Changes"
Rap is an art expressed through the use of words embedded with deeper meanings within them. The music industry will never be complete without it. A lot of emcees have emerged throughout history to raise the reputation of hip-hop; Jay-Z, Eminem, Tupac, Rakeem, Techn9ne, and many others.
Creating lyrics with moving messages is a tough craft. Making a random song to gain quick hypes is easy. Constructing a profound one is not. You have to pour your thoughts, emotion, and effort into each verse.
The first rule to making a great rap is to spit about real things. Engulf the pen with passion. The ideas that you express should make sense—something that teaches people moral and not just plain shit.
Let's take KOTD (King Of The Dot) Emcee, Charron for example. In this song, he rapped things about stuff which are really genuine. Concepts that are relevant to his life.
Another great examples of real emcees are Tupac, Rakeem, and Talib Kweli. Take some time to listen to these guys' songs. They're really inspiring.
Next is, don't be the emcee whom your real persona is not. Talking about ghettos and guns when you are not a real G is the same as playing basketball when you're a footballer. The authenticity will be absent and you will be regarded as a fake.
Do not counterfeit your personality.
Lastly, learn and master the basics. This is what I'm going to teach you right now. Start with small steps and you'll see yourself enjoying big leaps. Dope music equals to fame and reputation when you're built on a solid foundation.
Here are the fundamentals which are necessary for you to grasp. That is, if you want to be a respected emcee.
1.) Content/Message. You want your rap to reach out to the people. Fine. But you can't do it with just a couple of good rhymes and a great beat. Content comes first over everything. It's your lyrical gateway for people to understand what you want to convey.
Girls, money, sex are actually pretty cliché. Angles about guns are too overplayed. If you still want to use the mentioned themes, you might want to add some creative twists. Originality will always stand out.
2.) Multiple Syllabic Rhymes and Internal Rhymes. Of course, rap wouldn't be complete without this elements. It's the beauty of rapping. Who'd listen to a rap with no same-sounding words, anyway?
Multiple Syllabic Rhymes or Multies are basically what it is. It's a rhyme that sounds perfect together with every syllable. It is placed at the end of each line.
You can be a try hard but you ain't talented brother.
See, your voice is too fake, it's has an accented cover.
brown goat / crowned oath
balloon / maroon
These are better multies:
throwback thursday / dope track wordplay
easy as I fabricate / heavy bars that land decay / cheesy lad that calibrates
nervous breakdown / census takedown / envious fake clown
On the other hand, internal rhymes are the ones placed before a multi or in the middle of the line to be simple.
Fame's my name this ain't no shame in my opinion.
Even shady's crave my game you know the man had bet a million.
—Fame, name, shame
—Shady, crave, game
Then act tough though that whack stuff got some plain luck so nobody likes it.
Whine brat! My craft will leave you mind cracked til' your mommy bites it.
—act tough, whack stuff, whack,
—Whine brat, my craft, mind cracked
Efficient combination of multies and internals will result a very good verse. Just one thing to remember: don't sacrifice the meaning of the verse just to fit in an admirable rhyme. Remember, content first before anything else.
For a refresher, which of the following is a multiple syllabic rhyme?
Multies and internals from famous rappers:
Imma be what I set out to be without a doubt undoubtedly
And all those who look down on me I'm tearing down your balcony.
- Eminem, "Not Afraid"
“I fuck around and throw, three in your chest and flee to my rest.
I’m, older and smarter this is me at my best.
- Big L 98 freestyle
“The words I’m battlin' peeps while I’m scattering speech
Like jabs to your cheeks shattering teeth
Drop the dagger in deep rattlin jeeps
With bass levels that no ladder can reach"
- Shad, "Wild"
Always bear in mind that there are millions of words known to man. Make a good use of them and broaden your arsenal. Also, the more it's hard to guess what your next rhyme will be, the better your rap song will be. You might want to try leaving some verses in the comments and I'd be glad to check them out.
3.) Punchlines and metaphors. Have you ever watched boxing? Amazed by how the goes wild with vigor as a boxer lands a strong punch on the other? That's what punchlines are all about. The mission is to make your audience say "oooohhh" or react in astonishingly to your verses.
Call me an arsonist, your instinct must be higher
Promise thee you ain't Alicia Keys when this girl is on fire.
The punchline there is "girl on fire". The set-ups used to wind out the punch are "Alicia Keys" and arsonist. Notice how the three phrases are coherent with each other. Punchlines are generally the part of the verse that would cause a deep impact on the listener.
Metaphors are comparisons that you use to point out a clear point on a rap.
I'm a monster.
I'm a beast.
I'm not really a monster or a beast but to compare myself with both means that I must be something extraordinary. Try to write some good metaphors and share it to me. I know you can do it!
4.) Rhyme Scheme. Basically, rhyme scheme is the arrangement of rhyme in your verses. A well-thought rhymes scheme will leave you nodding to the track, riding the flow.
There are many kinds of schemes. It can be simple or extremely complex. Commonly used are AABB, AAAA, ABAB.
My life's a sea of hate,
Maybe this is just my fate.
Notice the rhyme scheme:,
The words that rhyme were just the every end of the line. That's a simple scheme. Let's take a look at other schemes.
You oughta know that I'm a lyrical dragon, spitting lines like blazing arrows
Even if artillery fire is more than random, your chances' are still level narrowed.
*A are the words in bold while B are the ones italicized.
This gorgeous girl will always be my baby love
Sassy dove, my feelings are so real slim like a shady grab.
Here's a more complex rhyme scheme.
Disses will displease this beast so better watch your mouth.
You're abilities in doubt to be stand out, you can't bewitch the crowd.
I know this is somehow confusing but don't worry. Creating dope rhyme schemes take time. I'll be making a different hub about rhyme schemes.
Eminem's rhyme scheme is very unpredictable.
5.) Flow. Imagine a small, tranquil stream rushing down a mountain. Now, imagine a flooded river with water surging the banks recklessly. Picture out a clogged drainage. What do you depict?
Yes. A smooth flow will be critical to your rap. People will not listen to a jammed up one. It is extremely important in rap. Good lyrics with bad flow will only find itself trapped in the trash can. How will you speak the words? Fast? Slow? Moderate-paced? Will your voice come out loud or will some parts be soft?
Here's a song of Tech n9ne. An emcee with a dope flow.
This man is beast in delivery and flow.
That would be all... for now. What do you say about my guide? I hope you learned something from this hub! I'll be making a more complex guide to higher level of elements. Grasping every concept all at once will be tedious and impossible. Let the lyrical wisdom sink it to your brain for a while. Watch out for more! Keep the lyricism going!