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How to improve rapping lyrics with exercises

Updated on April 20, 2016

No one is born a talented rapper. Every person must perfect his or her abilities when spitting bars to their fullest potential. Whether you are planning for a rap battle, freestyling, or just writing a song, you will need to keep your skills to their maximum potential. Like a body-builder in the gym, you must exercise to maintain your brightest lyrical creativity as an rapper.

Exercise#1

Freestyle – Write or rap outloud. Freestyling “awakens” your ability to quickly think of ideas and rhymes. The more you freestyle, the faster you are able to come up with lyrics and improve your flow as you rap outloud. Freestyling allows you to correct any mistakes in vocal projection, flow, and bars. Don't think about rhyming every single line at first. Just continually keep flowing random words together without stopping or caring about how you sound. You can focus on rhyming as you gradually improve.

Exercise #2:

Rhyme words outloud – Start from the letter A and rhyme words outloud such as “asking, basking, casting, dashing, etc.” Move to the letter B and repeat the same process “Batter, chatter, dagger, etc." Keep going until you reach the letter Z. This helps you quickly recall rhymes in your head. You can freestyle using alliteration.

Exercise #3:

Practice your lyricism – Working on your similes, metaphors, alliteration, wordplay, personification, Onomatopoeia, punchlines, and so forth is essential in making solid bars. Write a set of different literary devices a day. For example, you may want to write one simile, one metaphor, a punchline, and so on for a week. The next week, you might want to increase the amount of bars you write slightly. The aim is to make sure your bars are even in terms of syllables and they make coherent sense in the message you want to send. For example, if you want to describe how lyrical you are - express that using different literary devices in the most efficient way possible. This means that you don't want to write too many words in your bars. You should invest wisely in the amount of words you use properly for better impact towards the audience. Trying to master new literary devices helps you escape your comfort zone when rapping.

Exercise #4:

Join cyphers:

Participate in cyphers with friends or strangers. Set a time limit for how long you want to freestyle in a duration of seconds, a minute, or more. Take influence from what the last rapper freestyled about and pick up where they left off when it's your turn. While he or she is rapping, concentrate on the bars that you are about to spit.

Exercise #4:

Perfect your rhymes – Sometimes your bars can be ambiguous or poorly made. Take the time to rewrite them and clarify the message. For example, i've thought of this simile “My empire shines greatness like china.” While it sounds nice, i'm trying to find a way to introduce a double meaning between the country of China and the material.

My final tips of the day are a few final words:

* Get a rhyming dictionary - Expand your vocabulary for further reference. Be sure to also grab a Thesaurus and look for more words to use. Memorize new words for later use in battles or songwriting. The less words you use, the more boring you will sound in the ears of fans.

* Study old school artists - Listen to the pioneers of rap like Tu Pac, Biggie, Big L, etc. Study their flow, lyrics, music videos. Notice how they rapped in each song. Learn about what they did and how it made them successful. Take inspiration from each rapper you come across whether it's on the internet, radio, or in someone's car.

* Write every idea down - Whenever you have ideas with potential, be sure to keep written records of them. If you fail to write them down, you will likely forget and you won't have a foundation to base a musical project on. Keeping records of ideas regardless if they are good or bad is fundamental to being a successful artist.

Keep practicing these exercises and eventually, you will be prepared for any rap challenge coming your way. Make the commitment to write one song at least once a day. With persistent practice, you will reach the heights you've never dreamed of reaching.

Which exercise did you like best?

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