The set I’ve embedded here is the starts of my “Bananas” series. This is one of the most creative ventures I’ve embarked on in rap terms. I’m gonna show you how you could get started doing like I’ve done here.
1: A List of Words
So I started simply with a list of 10 or so words (completely random words) and had to use them ALL in a rap verse/track. The track at the top of the page is the product. All you need is a list of words and some precious time and you can write a rap.
2: How to Use Random Words!
If you are anything like me, when wondering how you could use, for example the word “Bacon”, and get it into context with a rap song, ideas came flooding to me of how I could use it (and have to really). I decided on the idiom “Bring home the bacon”, which I’m sure most people know the meaning of.
“Available for take-out so you can bring home the bacon
Why not dine with G, there’s a fine table waiting”
Having a list of word though (or I find) really helps if you don’t know WHAT ON EARTH you want to write about, but you wanna write!
3: Writing Lines
Once you’ve got the context, you can crack on to writing lines. So you’ve got a line with the word in. The last syllable (or two+ syllables if you can manage) should rhyme. For the example used in the previous section, “Ba-con” rhymes with…. “Ta-ken”, “Rat-ing”…….. ah “Wai-ting” ((it is always useful to break the words down into number of syllables)).
4: Finding a Beat??
A beat of course is essential IF you want to record the rap afterwards, or share it.
If you do, there are many handy places you could find free beats to use. Some that I’ve used in the past are Passion Hi-Fi Free Beats and Russian Boys Free Beatz. Now, of course, you can make your own if you have the right software (such as Ableton Live), using the basic instruments of a hip-hop track; Kick + snare (at a 4/4 rhythm), hi-hats (often on every 1/16th bar), a bass-line (Double bass works… sub-bass… or jazz bass), and perhaps a synth, keys or some strings of some sort.
If you have no aim of recording it, you could try and get an instrumental copy of one of your favourite rap tracks ((or even pop, rock, dance or R&B)). Although I atleast find the rap shapes itself more writing to the beat, you could choose not to use a beat at all!!
5: Fitting to the Beat
Now (especially) if you have never written a rap before, this is the part the needs best to be explained. For the sake of a first rap, lets just say each line you’ve thought up will take up one bar of music (4 beats: Kick, snare, kick, snare). This really, is the part that makes this a rap not a poem:
You must flow to the beat… By this I mean, the words you drop at the same as the drum hits – kick or snare alike – must be stressed. This means they are louder and clearer and often are longer. You can plan before-hand the flow and which words are going to be on the beat, or you don’t have to. Unless you can count bars while rapping, however, you might lose your place a little and the bars will (or your lines will) start and end in odd places, and you (probably) don’t want that.
If you are confused about what I mean about flowing to the beat, check out my track at the top of the page and listen to the stressed syllables (and pick out the beat). I’ll also show you a flow diagram of my track and how I mapped out the syllables in accordance to the 1, 2, 3 and 4 beats (to show you what I mean by this:)
|Boy sitting on his||Bed thinking up||Rhymes all the||Time if you were in my|
|Shoes you’d have a||Lot goin’ through your||Mind||Uh Takin’ it|
|Out on a||Drum beat||A through to Zee, thats||Comp-lete|
|White like||Pie crust…||Why rap, cos||I must|
|Simply||Put its||Poetry in||Motion, ya|
|Straight from the||Can, I’m||Fresh from the||O-cean Plenty more|
|Fish in the||Sea though, but||Not quite like||Me bro I’ll|
|Roll out red||Carpets, five||Star is my||Tar-get|
|Aim-ing for||Best in the||Mar-ket I’ll|
|Never give ya||Beef….||Even if ya||Ask for it|
|Avail-able for||Take out so you can||Bring home the||Ba-con Why|
|Not dine with||G, there’s a||Fine table||Wait-ing|
|Ink leaking onto the||Page like an||Oil||Slick This|
|Type of crea-tiv||–Ity, ya can’t||Foil||It But|
|State schools always||Man-age to||Spoil||It|
|Put that in your pipe||And smoke it|
|Tar and nic-||–Atine||Up in a||Jib-jab|
|Trip on||That like||Slippery||Tiles|
|Beneath your||Flip-flops||Poison your||Lungs|
So, as you can see, the stressed syllables fall on the beats, a line takes up a bar, and most of the rhymes are on the 4 beat (and nearly every one is a multisyllable rhymes (which I’m about to cover)
This of course means they are not elementary rhymes like “Cat” and “Hat”… but “Mar-ket” and “Tar-get”, or even “Drum Beat”, “Com-plete”. As you can see by the examples, they do not have to be perfect rhymes, like “Motion” and “Ocean” is, but can have similar enough sounds (like “MarKet” and “TarGet”). This still sounds just as good and opens up many many doors and possibilities. Don’t restrict yourself- if it works it works!!
7: Keeping It Simple
Multisyllable rhymes are generally better sounding and almost definitely more unique. But if you don’t want to use them, thats alright. If you are just starting, don’t force it. Don’t force yourself to write multisyllables. Cos when I started, I know I certainly didn’t. It was hard enough to write those lines already, right? When you’ve written several, try stepping it up a level and using multi-syllables.