Knowing how to write rap songs is an impressive skill that is not only largely rhythmical but also puts major importance on the lyrical side. Most rappers that you have heard of have spent years practicing and getting started before even recording their first song. Knowing how to rap will take time and patience, but is a skill worth having.
In this article, we will explore the best ways to start rapping, especially for beginners.
How to Rap Vocally
If learning how to sing isn’t for you, rap songs may be more your thing. Though it seems like a completely different skill and it can be hard to know where to start. There is a common misconception that you are either born with the talent to rap or you are not. This is not true as you can teach yourself how to rap.
Here are some things to try at home to help you start rapping:
- Choose your genre
- Listen to others
- Replicate others
- Decide your rap accent
- Learn the slang
- Prepare the voice
- Learn breathing techniques
- Slow it down
- Be deliberate
Choose Your Genre
Choosing which style of music you would like to learn is a good first step. Knowing where you want to sit in the music genre world can help steer you into which techniques you would like to learn and apply. Rap songs are found in many genres with the most popular being hip-hop music.
If hip-hop music isn’t to your liking then there are plenty of other genres that incorporate rap such as RnB and popular music. Before learning how to rap, check out all the main music genres and see which you connect to the most.
Listen to Others
Listening to how other people rap can be hugely helpful when learning slang, accents, and their rhythmical flow. Listening to the greatest rappers can be the best form of learning. Try to look at some of your favorite rappers and their easy songs and each time you listen to them, try to pay attention to either their tone, their accent, their lyrics, etc. This will help when it comes to giving it a go yourself.
Now that you have listened to and researched other artists, it is time to start replicating them. Replicating other rappers can help you discover what you need to work on and what you are good at. Plus, it is enjoyable to practice as you are already a fan of their work.
Every rapper that you hear has looked at another rapper for inspiration. Trying out different styles, different flows and different lyrics is the best way to discover what you like the best for yourself.
Decide Your Rap Accent
Sometimes the accent you have developed from when you were young does not necessarily sound great when rapping. Listen to a mixture of rap artists from across the world and see which rap accent you like the most.
Learn the Slang
If you are from London and you have a London accent when rapping, you will want to update yourself with the London slang. You may decide to not use this kind of slang in your writing but it is always best to know so that you have the option. An example of a rapper that doesn’t use any slang in his writing is Loyle Carner.
Prepare the Voice
Start to warm up the voice before you start practicing rapping. If you warm up the voice this will protect the vocal cords and help you have a large range. If you are a rapper and do not have a large vocal register range, then you can practice hums and lip trills to help you warm up your vocals. You may also find that your voice is deeper in the morning.
Learn Breathing Techniques
Learning how to control your breathing will be hugely beneficial as a rapper, especially if you are wanting to practice rhymes that need to be performed quickly. Learning how to sing from your diaphragm will help you strengthen the diaphragm muscles and help you have more control over your breath.
Slow It Down
The best way to break down a large number of rap lyrics and memorize them is to practice them slowly and in sections. Making sure that you have practiced section by section will help your rap flow when you are performing live. Speaking slowly and clearly can help your voice warm-up.
If you are also struggling to get all your words out, you can try tricks like looking at yourself in the mirror while rapping or recording your own voice.
When you are performing a song, the audience wants to know what you are rapping about and be able to either start rapping along with you or connect to the song in some way. Making sure that when you write, you are writing about something you care about will help you connect with your audience more.
How to Rap For Beginners
Here are some quick tricks to try as a beginner rapper and where you can start to improve your rapping skills:
- Use tools like rhyme zone
- Diction trick
- Use pauses
- Choose words you are familiar with
- Decide your message
- Practice rapping with a metronome
- Control your tongue
- Listen to yourself
Here is a breakdown of how to rap for beginners step by step:
Use Tools Like RhymeZone
Learning how to rap and write a rap song at the same time can be difficult, especially when you are searching for inspiration. RhymeZone is a useful tool for beginner rappers as you can type in any word and it will produce every word that rhymes with that word.
RhymeZone will show you a one-syllable word to three-syllable words that you can use. This is also a very useful tool if you are starting your rap journey from scratch as it is completely free and easy to use.
If you struggle with diction and making sure that every word can be heard when you are rapping then we have a diction trick you can try. To make sure that your words are clear using this simple vocal exercise can help. Make sure to stick your tongue outside of your mouth and speak the lyrics like normal.
Go through each sentence speaking the lyrics with your tongue out. After this exercise, try rapping the lyrics straight away, you will notice a big difference in how clear your diction is.
Heard the saying, less is more? Sometimes this really does work, especially when writing rap lyrics. If you over-complicate your lyrics, the meaning of the song could be lost. By adding pauses to your writing you are allowing yourself room to breathe, but also for your lyrics to breathe too. If you want to create emphasis on one particular statement, then adding a pause is the perfect way to do so.
Choose Words You Are Familiar With
Often when vocal coaches are asked how to be a rapper for beginners, the most common piece of advice is to use words you are familiar with. Learning to rap and mastering a rap flow and the melodic sound is a skill.
It is always best to start with words you are comfortable using while developing this melodic skill. When you start developing your writing and your rapping, you can then start to look into a wider variety of vocabulary. When your confidence builds in your rapping skills, you will most likely increase the speed of your rapping. When the speed is increased, it is easy to trip over your words.
To save yourself some trouble, within the first few months of learning how to rap use words that roll off the tongue nicely. You can also avoid rhyming words that have more than one syllable as this can sometimes trip up beginner rappers.
Decide Your Message
Deciding what you want to write a rap about will be what defines you as an artist and rapper. It is best to pick something niche and lean into that and find your crowd. It may take some time to discover this but once you have found your niche, your audience will start to grow.
Practice Rapping With A Metronome
If you struggle with timing or just want to improve your skills, then rapping against a metronome is the best method to try. A metronome can be very helpful, especially if your rapping is fast and you find that you sometimes fall behind the beat.
Control Your Tongue
Some words can be tongue twisters and this is especially common in rap music. A quick technique that you can try is to keep your tongue in the same position for every word as this should prevent you tripping up over words.
Listen to Yourself
A lot of people find this very unpleasant to do, but the most useful trick in the book is to listen to yourself perform. Listening to yourself helps you understand what you need to do better and how your voice actually sounds. Once you have listened to yourself, you will understand your voice much better.
Why You Should Learn How to Rap
Rap music is becoming one of the most popular and well-respected genres in 2022. If you release your own original rap music and it is well received, it could lead to a long career. Rap music also can educate others and be a way of expressing your emotions on various topics. A rap song commonly covers topics such as politics and reflects upon society.
How to Learn How To Rap
Learning rap and mastering your skill within your genre will take dedication and skills. Here is a list of ways you can master your craft and develop your rapping and writing skills:
- Put the practice time in
- Learn rhythm
- Learn to write lyrics
Put the Practice Time In
Just like any other skill in life, without the time and practice your rapping will not improve drastically. There are lots of different elements to being able to rap well. These elements include flow, diction, accent, melody as well as being ability to write your own bars and have originality. Rapping involves a lot of separate skills that can not be learned overnight.
The best way to start making sure that you are working towards improving your rapping is to set yourself a time each day to work on it. If you are working a full-time job, you may only be able to spare 1 hour a day. This can still be very useful as you can use each hour of the day differently each week.
For example, your week could be scheduled like this:
- Monday: You can practice your flow
- Tuesday: You can practice your diction
- Wednesday: You can practice replicating the rapping style
- Thursday: You can practice your breathing technique
- Friday: You can practice your lyrics
- Saturday: You can practice your songwriting and structure
- Sunday: You can practice your vocal exercises
Learning rhythm will help you feel the beat and also write rhymes that will compliment the beat. Being connected to the beat will make sure that your rap flows better and does not sound stiff. Start to search for beats that are similar to the ones you listen to in your spare time or that your favorite rappers write over.
Once you have found a beat you connect with the aim to not think about words but think about how you want to place the flow. You can even start rapping random sounds to get the rap flow right and then write lyrics over that flow.
If you are struggling to connect to a beat, then you could try and take up beatboxing to help you develop your rhythm skills.
Learn to Write Lyrics
Learning to write lyrics is the next stage of your rapping journey. Once you are comfortable with how your rapping voice sounds and have ironed out any issues such as diction, you will want to start making your own music in order to pursue a career.
If you are wanting to make rapping your career, it is best to decide what genre you want to fit into, what makes your rapping unique, and how you can effectively write about topics you care about. When you are first starting to write lyrics it is best to practice this skill every day and write at least 10-16 lines of rap song per day.
Showing other people your writing will help you gain perspective on your skills and feedback can help you grow in areas you are struggling with.
Advice from rappers that you are fond of can help you when to discover your own rap voice and try to start your rap career. The most common piece of advice is to rap for enjoyment because it is what you love to do rather than rapping to become famous or bring in a steady income.
When you are truly passionate about your skill and love rapping then you will find it a lot easier to practice your craft. Developing your craft will take time and patience and therefore if you love what you do, this work will come naturally to you.
Here is some advice from some of the best and most well-known rappers in the music industry:
“I started to dislike the fact that people were making money, more than liking the state of music,”. Nas goes on to recommend “become a student of hip-hop; study the style of other rappers and develop your own distinctive sound. By the same token, you should listen to as many different flows as possible to find out what works for you”.
Eminem advises that creating an alter ego could help if you are a developing artist. Eminem also states that he treats his rhyme schemes like puzzles and often uses wordplay within the hip-hop culture. He’s also known very well for his performances in freestyle rap.
Rakim gets inspiration for his new tracks from genres that are outside of hip-hop. Rakim has other musical skills such as working as a Saxophonist in Jazz. Rakim uses this experience to help with his flow. Rakim states that “increasing your vocabulary to make for more interesting metaphors and rhymes”.
Jay-Z is one of the most famous rappers in the hip-hop music industry and advised that rapping for fun allowed him to develop his rhymes. Rapping came naturally to Jay-Z, but writing something that was successful in the industry took time.
Jay-Z advises that “I’d write the words on the paper bag and stuff these ideas in my pocket until I got back. Then I would transfer them into the notebook. As I got further and further away from home and my notebook, I had to memorize these rhymes”
Here is a video of Jay-Z giving advice to young rappers at the beginning of their careers:
Tips for Rapping
If you are looking into hip-hop rap for beginners then these useful writing tips may help you create your own music:
- Write 16 bars of lyrics every day
- Start to develop your songs and add a chorus to each beat
- Rhyme the end of each line to begin with
Write 16 Bars of Lyrics Every Day
Writing 16 bars of music is on average 16 lines of rap. Making sure that you are writing and practicing consistency every day will help you improve your flow, lyrics, and ability to write a song over time. If you are wanting to start your rap journey quickly, then writing your own lyrics is the best way to go. It can be helpful to sing acapella when you’re practicing.
Finding out what your strengths are when it comes to your voice and your rap will also help you when you are writing your own material. If you are great at rhyme schemes, try to incorporate that into your writing and make that your thing. While you are doing that, you can also work on something you are not so good at to improve your overall performance.
Start to Develop Your Songs and Add a Chorus to Each Beat
Adding a chorus to each of your rap and beats will make the beats more listenable to a range of audiences. Adding a chorus to your beat will also help break up your verses nicely. Within the genre of hip-hop and most other popular genres, there is an expected structure to be followed.
This does not mean that you need to follow it, but an audience is most used to this structure and it is easy on the ears. Allowing an audience to sing along with your song like with the best karaoke songs is very important as it allows a connection between you and the audience, especially when you are playing live. Having a chorus that is catchy will help your song be shared amongst your fans.
Rhyme the End of Each Line to Begin With
If you are starting off and learning how to write your own rap lyrics, then it is best to rhyme the end of each line. You can also alternative your rhymes in between lines as this also works. Once you have begun to learn how to rhyme, you can add in tricker rhymes or rhymes mid-sentence.
At the beginning of writing, you should not worry about producing very high-quality lyrics and rhymes as this skill are something that will come with time and practice. It is very useful to listen to other new artists and see how they are writing as they might be about to set a trend. Learning from others is a great way of developing your own writing style at the beginning of your journey.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
The best way to start rapping is to get stuck into it. You can find beats to use on the internet and it may help you to make friends with beginner producers. Once you have some connection with beginner producers, you can begin to write over their beats. This step is not necessary as you can just practice at home until you get your flow and words right.
Yes, you can teach yourself to rap. This is actually how many of the famous rappers you see today started out. Maybe rappers started by practicing in their bedroom or with their friends making homemade beats. Learning how to write and develop lyrics and stories creates time and practice. Learning how to make the flow of words sound good also takes a lot of time and practice. If you are a beginner rapper, it may help you to reach into the history of your favorite rappers and see how they started out in their careers.
Rapping may come naturally to some people but you can 100 percent learn the craft if you put your time and effort into it. Learning to rap may take a lot of patience just like learning to sing. When you first start learning to sing you do not expect yourself to be brilliant at it straightaway or even be able to reach a wide amount of notes so the same thought process should apply to learning how to rap.
Here are several steps to follow to make sure that you are successful in your rap career: 1. Write your own songs and make them original, 2. Practice your writing and your rapping daily, 3. Define your sound and be original, 4. Create high-quality music and images, 5. Upload your music to an array of platforms, 6. Promote your music to press, radio, and print, 7. Aim to play live and sell merch.
Put the Work in and You Will See the Results
Rapping is a hard skill to master but if you put the work in and really practice what you enjoy, then you will notice a huge difference in your ability. You may even notice this ability after a few weeks. It is important to practice daily and make sure that you practice a wide range of techniques.