You do not need to put in much effort to acquire basic rapping ability. However, if you want to take your rapping skills to the next level, you will have to put in more practice that will get you noticed.
To become a better rapper, you will need to improve your voice projection, flow, and style. Master your rapping skills by enhancing your freestyling, taking vocal lessons, writing down your rap ideas, and rapping along to established rappers’ songs.
This article explains in detail ways to become a better rapper. If you have already mastered the rap basics and are looking for ways to polish your rapping skills, keep reading.
Take Notes From Other Rappers
Take your time to listen and analyze what other artists in the rap industry are doing. Learn from the successful rappers as well as those who failed to make it big in the industry.
Find out what the successful rappers are currently doing or what they did that propelled them to success. Study their lyrics. Understand what makes their rap lines amazing and the literary device they use. Use this information to improve your skills.
You also need to analyze what made the other rappers fizzle out and fail to reach stardom. Learn from their mistakes so that you don’t get yourself into the same pitfall.
Listen to other rappers’ music and rap along with them. Follow their breath control, pronunciation, intonation, style, and flow. Practice with different songs done by different rappers. Do not just practice with the songs or the rappers you like, challenge yourself with all kinds of rap, and explore wider. With time and regular practice, you will discover a rapping style that you can work on to perfect.
Appreciate the history of rap, from the veterans to the contemporaries shaping and taking the industry by storm.
Put Your Ideas in Writing
Putting down your ideas in writing will help you have more rap concepts that you can use to improve your rap skills. You will also expand your lyrics vocabulary to help you build up your verses.
Write down an excellent lyric idea whenever you get one. Always carry a pocket-size notebook wherever you go to write down an idea before you forget. You can also use a smartphone to take down notes or recordings.
An idea could be anything. It could be something that a family member, friend, or colleague said that you think can go into a song, or it could be a bar, hook, and verses from a beat playing. Read books that can give you new ideas to include in your music. Remember to write down anything inspirational that you come across during the day, be it a word or a phrase.
Always think of a way you can put into song, any content you watch or consume. These ideas will be of great help whenever you are unable to think of a lyric line to use.
Make writing a daily practice so that you don’t limit your productivity to just when inspiration strikes. Task yourself with regular writing assignments and spare some minutes or hours each day for the same.
Write as many homonyms as possible daily and form punchlines around them. Additionally, allocate some minutes that you use to write anything that comes to your mind without any interruption. Try to rhyme without editing or erasing. Maintain a daily practice schedule, and you will be able to get your creative works flowing and come up with many rapping ideas.
Request friends or family to help keep you in check if you doubt you will be able to follow the routine without some consistent pressure.
However, define your artistic vision before you start writing. Your vision will guide what and why you write. When you have a vision, you will be able to filter the good and the wrong material for your songs.
Work on Your Message
Create lyrics that pass some kind of a message to your listeners. Rap about meaningful things that your listeners can relate to. Current or trending news, social issues, and daily observations are some areas that you can touch on with your music. Use your music to tell a story and pass messages that can influence the social progress of society.
Listeners appreciate lyrics with a good message, and such music leaves an indelible mark in their hearts. Rappers who produce songs with powerful messages have stood the test of time. Tupac is remembered long after his death because of what he stood for and communicated in his music.
Let your voice be heard on inspiring issues you are passionate about, and that you would like to be remembered for. Explore your talents and be the people’s voice on social issues that need to be addressed.
Be unique and not just copy what other artists are already doing. Use creative concepts to capture the attention of your audience.
However, you should remember to be civil and avoid disrespectful, demeaning, or offensive messages.
Take Vocal Lessons
As a rapper, your voice is your instrument. Hire a professional voice or singing coach or watch YouTube tutorials to help you work on your range, melody, and all singing aspects that you need to become a better rapper. The coach will take you through lessons on how to correctly breathe as you rap, and how to project your voice.
Not being able to project your voice well is not suitable for your rap career. Your voice needs to be just loud and bold enough, not shouting or timid. Shouting makes you sound unprofessional, while a weak voice will put off your fans as they have to struggle to hear you. A weak voice will also affect the quality of your recording when making a track.
Voice coaching will also help you work on your bass. Good bass is especially important for male rappers. Bass makes your voice sound fuller and confident. Additionally, bass makes for an excellent track recording.
Learn how to sing. Singing will help improve your rapping. The reason is that singing helps you learn melody, stay on key, and manipulate your voice.
Add Emotions to Your Rap
You also need to learn how to add emotions to your rap. Avoid rapping at just one level and in a monotonous voice. Your voice should flow with the emotion conveyed in the lyrics. Emphasize the appropriate words to bring out the emotion of the track. For example, it sounds like you are asking a question when a part of your song is a question. When your audience feels what you are saying, they will connect with you more.
Learn to Count Rap Bars
Being able to count rap bars is a basic hip-hop requirement, and you will have to put in some practice to be perfect. Being able to correctly count bars will help you achieve a perfect flow and rhythm in your songs. Rhythm is key to a great rap. Without rhythm, your work becomes spoken word poetry and not rap.
When you can count bars with ease, you will find it easy to memorize your lyrics.
Rehearse and Memorize Your Lyrics
Before you step into a studio for recording, rehearse your verses as many times as you need. Rehearsing helps you point out the weak parts of your track, the parts that require more emphasis, and if your flow needs to be tightened further. Rehearse and perfect your song’s beats, mood, and tempo until it is good enough for recording or performance.
Memorizing your song makes you sound natural and live when recording. You will have a fabulous mic presence, and your punchlines will come out raw to give a live feel as opposed to when reading your lyrics from a notebook. Memorizing your verses will also help you embody emotions to your rap. You will thus be able to feel and express the feelings of the song when recording or when doing a live performance.
Rap With Different Flows
A good lyrical flow is essential for a great track. However, you could have the best flow, but if you sound the same in all your tracks, you will become boring and monotonous. You should, therefore, be able to switch up your style now and again to remain entertaining.
Achieve different flows for your songs by writing your lyrics with different speeds and tempos and putting more or fewer words into a song as you deem necessary. Listen to other rappers’ line patterns and learn what they do to sound different from one song to the other.
Work on Your Diction
A clear diction will highly improve your rating as a rapper. When your diction is clear, you spit clearer lyrics, and your listeners can distinguish your words and understand the message. Your listeners are, therefore, able to connect more with you and your songs.
To improve your pronunciation, you can start by breaking down your lyrics to separate the different sounds like vowels and consonants. Then slowly rap through while making sure each sound comes out clearly and distinctly. Gradually speed up your rap, but make sure you don’t lose your sound clarity.
Tongue twisters are another way to exercise your tongue and lips to help you achieve a clear diction. Tongue twisters are a run of similar words that require different tongue placement. Therefore, you will exercise and activate all areas of your mouth, thus improving your speech articulation and rapping skills. Regularly practice with tongue twisters to achieve a clearer sound and enhance your rap performance.
Find Your Natural Voice
The voice you put on can build or stagnate your rap career. Do not fake a voice, instead work on your natural voice to improve its energy, tone, and emphasis for better sound and pronunciation of words. Putting on a voice will make your music sound fake and can also damage your voice box.
Practice getting a unique natural voice that you will be known. Exercise your vocals to help you sound clear. When you exercise your vocals, your throat muscles become stronger; thus, you can better control your sound. Voice resonance exercises will also help you strengthen your natural voice.
In addition to vocal and voice resonance exercises, practice breathing exercises to help you maintain your voice while rapping.
Another way to be unique is to bring out your personality and dialect in your rap. You will sound more authentic and original.
Use High-Quality Beats
High-quality beats give you an excellent basis to create great rap songs. You can buy your beats or download from the internet, beat versions already used by other rappers. Regularly practice your verses over these beats, and you will notice an improvement in both your style and lyrics. Do not go for low-quality beats. They will not give you the kind of challenge that you need to become a better rapper.
Measure Your Rapping Ability With Freestyles
Freestyling is another way to improve your skills to become a better rapper. Freestyling can be fun because it involves making lyrics out of any subject to come up with a verse. To improve your rap skills, take up freestyle challenges by freestyling overall beats including, sad, happy, slow, fast, good, or bad beats, and match them with your lyrics. Invite your friends or other rappers and freestyle together. You will be able to hype and correct each other.
Whenever you lose your flow, you can either stop and think of the possible rhymes you could use and start again or continue with the beat until you get some real words. Freestyle regularly and over a wide range of beats and learn how to flow your words.
Learn to freestyle over any subject, your surroundings, or thoughts. You can also use RapScript or other rhyme dictionaries to look up words that you can use to create rhymes and punchlines faster. When you take long to come up with words, there is the possibility of losing the whole flow.
Watch this You-Tube video to get tips on how to freestyle.
Record Yourself While Rapping
You should be able to gauge your progress to know whether you are improving and areas you need to put in more practice. Whenever you are freestyling or rapping, have a recording gadget with you. The recording device could either be your phone, camera, or DAW.
Practice with different voice tones, emotions, melodies, and speeds on different beats. Record and listen to yourself afterward while making comparisons. Switch your voice over and over until you come up with a sound that pleases you.
You can also record yourself rapping along to your favorite rapper’s song. You will not sound as good as them at the start. However, with more practice, you will get better. Do this with several rappers with different rap styles.
You should be able to gauge your progress based on the reviews of your recordings.
Practice Rapping Over and Over
With regular practice, you will be able to improve your flow and rapping skills. Practice over different styles, speeds, and emotions until you achieve a perfect flow. Do not be too hard on yourself at the start; just focus on making improvements and perfecting yourself with each exercise. Create a practice schedule with each training session focusing on a specific rapping aspect.
With such a training schedule, you will be able to perfect your skills one by one instead of trying to achieve everything at the same time.
Take time and develop yourself as an artist. Rushing things over will only deny you the chance to tap into your hidden skills. Practice behind the scenes until you are good enough to go public. Do not embarrass yourself with mediocre albums. Take as much time practicing as possible to get all the skills and tools you need to be a better rapper so that when you finally blow up, you will be able to take the industry with a storm.
Come Up a Creative Ritual
Involve yourself in activities that stimulate your mind into a creative state. Visit places and read books that will help you bring forth ideas of what to rap about. You will not always be in a creative mood. Therefore, plan your day well and develop a culture that will stimulate your brain to write, practice, and learn new skills every day.
Set aside a day or two in the week that you dedicate to just editing your writings and listening to the recordings you made that week. Listening to all your recordings or editing all your work in one sitting will help you to pinpoint your areas of weakness and common mistakes made. Understanding your weaknesses puts you in a better position to improve your skills.
Have an Organized Workflow
Have your set-up and everything that you require for a successful practice session ready. Plan ahead of time such that when your mind gets into the creative zone, there will be no distractions or technical issues to handle. Once you are in a creative mood, any distractions will make you forget your lyrics and break the flow of your rap. Create a conducive and organized environment for writing your verses and keep a routine.
Develop Your Unique Rapping Style
Having your unique rap style makes you look and sound better as a rapper. Hook your written verse on the styles of several renowned rappers. Practice over and over as you emulate these styles. Understand what makes up these styles, such as the structure and writing, and use that understanding to develop your unique style and taste.
Another way to develop your unique style is by studying music that inspires you.
Improve Your Delivery
How you deliver your performance will either keep the listener entertained and attentive or bored and disappointed. Therefore, to learn to deliver your rap in a way that creates suspense and captures the listeners’ attention. Time your pauses well. Evoke emotions that match your script to make it sound real. You will then be able to create an impression and connect with your listeners more.
Build your confidence for a robust and impactful delivery. When you exude confidence, people will take you more seriously and look forward to listening to you. Practice until you memorize your lyrics to help build your stage confidence. You can eliminate stage fright by first performing in front of family and friends. Slowly build up by performing in front of smaller groups then move to larger.
Develop a delivery pattern that connects and flows with the rest of the song. You also need to control and perfectly balance your voice for excellent delivery. To achieve this, get time to breathe within your rap to provide enough air to your lungs to help control your voice.
Learn How to Write Good Choruses
Rap is the use of poetry and words that rhyme in a song to communicate your feelings.
About 40% of a rap song is the chorus, making it a vital part of rap. Therefore, the quality of your chorus highly determines how great your entire song will sound. Thus, it is critical that you perfect your ability to create unique and intriguing choruses that flow well with the rap.
A chorus is usually that part of a song that hooks your listeners to your music. The chorus is also the first part of a song that will stick in listeners’ heads. Create catchy choruses that will capture your listeners and draw them to listen to the rest of your lyrics. A great chorus, therefore, makes a good song and improves your rating as a rapper.
Watch the following YouTube video to help you understand how to create a catchy chorus.
Create a Unique Image of Yourself
Think of the image you would like to portray as a rapper. Your style of rapping and lyrics should be determined by the personality you want to identify with. Describe your image and consistently portray it in your music. Let it be your brand and continually improve on it. Make it a brand that people would like to be associated with. Get some swagger, exude confidence, and stay true to your brand.
Do not just make songs randomly, instead decide on the kind of music you would like to be identified with as a rapper. Stand for a specific kind of music that will make you unique and that you will be associated with
Work on Your Stage Presence
A good stage presence will help you control your crowd. Move around the stage to interact with your audience, catch their attention, and make them fully concentrated on the show. Do not just stay in one corner. When you are known to have interesting shows, people will always look forward to your concerts. Make a name for yourself by creating memorable shows.
Work on your confidence to help you improve on your stage presence. Identify your weaknesses and work to improve them. At the same time, capitalize on your strong points when performing.
Avoid alcohol or limit your consumption before you perform. As a rapper, you need to be able to spit your rhymes clearly to pass your message to the audience. Consuming alcohol will slur your rapping, and you will come out as a poor performer.
While rapping, remember to always hold your mic well so that you are correctly heard. Do not cover the head of the mic, as this will make it hard to be heard. Turning up the mic will not make you audible.
Hip-Hop has its swag, so remember to dress the part. Catch your audience’s attention and interest with your swag. When you get on stage dressed carelessly, your audience will have a negative perception about you, and they will see you as an artist who is not serious about his career.
Be Original and Project Your Own Brand
There has been a rapid increase in the number of rappers in the industry. It is, therefore, difficult for an upcoming rapper to be recognized. For you to get noticed in this saturated industry, you need to come up with original concepts. Concepts that will separate you from other artists, however strange they may be perceived. To thrive in this industry, you need to be original and highly talented.
A great song can sometimes quickly become boring as most times, artists sound the same and copy each other’s styles. Listeners connect more to real and original rhymes and styles. People appreciate rappers who communicate their message in a unique, refreshing style.
Embrace the love from your fans and freely interact with them as they reach out to connect with you. Become a better rapper by improving and perfecting on the things that matter. Your image, dress swag, the values you stand for, the messages that you communicate, and your consistency in the industry goes a long way to determine how successful you become as a rap artist.
Continue to learn every day, be creative, work hard, and draw inspiration from rappers, making it big in the industry. Study their rhymes, style, and how they deliver their tracks. Present your work to record labels and seek their professional opinion. A record label may take you in if they are convinced of your potential and willingness to work harder to better your skills.
- Wikihow: How to Become a Better Rapper
- Instructables living: How to Be a Good Rapper
- Smartrapper: 10 Eye Opening Tricks on How to Truly Become a Rapper
- Music Industry: How To Rap Better in 5 Steps
- Reddit: Tips on How To Be A Better Freestyler And Songwriter
- Reddit: Comprehensive guide to improve your rapping
- Reddit: Some Deliberate Practice Methods for Rappers
- Example.YourDictionary: Diction Examples
- Example.YourDictionary: Metaphor Examples
- Example.YourDictionary: Examples of Similes
- Example.YourDictionary: Examples of Hyperboles
- Example.YourDictionary: Alliteration Examples
- Example.YourDictionary: Examples of Rhyme