Learn to Rap

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Advice on how to learn to rap

Rap is a style of popular music where a recurring beat pattern provides the backing to rapid, slangy, and often boastful rhyming. Rapping can come from a mix of influences such as elements of speech, prose, poetry and song, and is distinctive from spoken word poetry by the fact it’s performed in time to a beat. Below are some tips to help you learn to rap.

Don’t always have to learn to rap a whole song it can be a useful tool to use as a breakdown in a song and be really effective. Think Cher Lloyd, Alesha Dixon when she was in Mis-Teeq and Jesse in Little Mix all use rap as a breakdown to great effect within a performance.

Learn to rap

Listen to the genre

If you’re looking to learn to rap or simply want to improve on the skills you already have, then a good place to start is by listening to lots of rap music from different regions, such as New York-style ‘boom-bap’ or hip-hop of the underground, to name a few. It’s a good idea to immerse yourself in the culture and the different sounds of hip-hop and rap music to understand the influences and foundation of this particular genre. Of course, the difficulty is making yourself original.

It’s all about the rhythm

It’s important to remember that rapping is much more than just saying a few words that rhyme, it’s just as much about the rhythm. A great way to try and help with the rhythm of rap music is by focusing on just the instrumental of the song, where you’ll start to get a sense of how the words fit into the beat. If the song is an original, this is a great way to help tidy up those lyrics that might not quite fit the rhythm.

To give a stand out performance you have to be able to feel the music throughout the whole of your body. If your brain and body are not in tune with the beat, it’s safe to say your rap will look and feel stiff and unnatural. One of the most common reasons for this is often from overthinking, such as trying to make sure you stay on time or not being confident in your own words.

The basics

Once you have mastered rapping to a beat try and rap the song acapella. This will not only improve your confidence but if you can rap without any aid of a backing track then you know you have mastered rhythm and staying on beat.

Learning to beatbox is a great tool to help learn rhythm, and is also a useful technique you can use in your performance alongside rapping.

Writing your own rhymes

Once you feel comfortable and confident you know how to rap to rhythm and beat, start making your own rhymes. If you’re stuck for ideas, then a good place to start is by being influenced by what’s around you, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like what you’ve written, as long as you’re practising. This will help you in developing your own style.

Get a rhyming dictionary to help improve your rhymes, and try and develop your vocabulary by reading as much as you can.

How to rap effectively

It’s no good mastering a good rhyme if you’re unable to rap the words effectively. Using these tips below could be the difference to what makes your performance memorable or forgettable.

  • Emphasis the consonants – don’t try and rap the way you would normally talk.
  • Keep words clear and sharp!
  • The rhythm is more important than rhyme – if freestyling, don’t stop if your words don’t rhyme. If you keep on beat everything will be fine, as the rhythm will help you get back on track.
  • It’s ok to think about your next line – but remember to still give 100% to the line you’re currently rapping.

In order to do well, you will need to introduce something fresh to the industry.