After you’ve laid down a solid base in rapping, you can try the more difficult fast rapping techniques. It’ll take a lot of patience and practice, but if you’re willing to give it a shot, this article will have your back.
If you want to kick your rapping speed up a notch and start dropping a dozen syllables a second, there are a few things you can do. They include better breathing techniques, practicing tongue twisters, and performing the songs of fast rappers like Eminem, Twista, and Tech N9ne.
We’ll go through these things in more detail in this article and offer pointers and further resources that can help you get your rap speed up there with the greats. Remember that you won’t be a cheetah with rhymes right away. It takes practice. But if you keep with it, you’ll be racing through those syllables before you know it!
Practice Enunciating Your Words
One of the first obstacles that a new or beginner rapper will encounter when they change their rap speed from slow to fast is keeping their enunciation strong. That is, you’ll want to keep your words flowing out clearly and smoothly.
You’ll have to learn some new pronunciation techniques when rapping faster to prevent sloppy delivery of your rhymes.
We’ll explore a few ways you can do this next.
Start With Tongue Twisters
You might remember playing around with some tongue twisters back when you were a kid. They are really fun to mess around with, but they are an incredibly effective tool to learn how to articulate words properly.
It also helps to improve your diction and overall clarity of the language, and it can be a good way to warm up the muscles of your mouth before getting into some rapid rhyming schemes.
Below, we’ve included some resources to help get you started with tongue twisters. It might be useful to write a few of them down so you can practice whenever you can.
Things to keep in mind while you’re practicing tongue twisters:
- Start slowly; just say the phrase out loud to get the words down. Also, try to pick a tongue twister that isn’t too complicated to warm up. An example could be: “Four fine fresh fish for you.”
- Gradually increase speed; focus on the pronunciation of the words as you get faster. Pronounce each syllable clearly, and when you’ve got it down, then add speed. If you are not saying the words correctly, it won’t help to go faster. Proper pronunciation comes first.
- Repeat; try these exercises for 5 to 10 minutes a day or more to build your speed. If you want, you can even set a timer on your smartphone and record how fast you are getting over time.
Video Resources on Tongue Twisters
- This is a great introduction video on tongue twisters. Alisha from English Class 101.com gives you some fun and challenging phrases to exercise your tongue.
Watch Here: Top 5 Tongue Twisters in English
- Greg from Greg Teaches English gives you even more tongue twisters to try that vary in difficulty levels.
- And finally, this video provides both tongue twisters and vocal exercises you can do to improve your voice clarity and pronunciation.
We know we’re going hard on the importance of pronunciation, but we believe it’s the foundation of fast rapping. It can also help you find rhymes for words as you’ll be hearing the sounds and syllables as they come out of your mouth.
One of the fastest rappers going right now, Eminem, says it’s the key to finding better rhymes; you have to learn how to enunciate so you can bend and flex words the way you want.
Memorize Song Lyrics
Speaking of Eminem, you might be tempted to start rapping out some of his stuff right off the bat. But we suggest you hold off for a little while. Build up some confidence and stamina with a good mid-tempo rap song.
Why is it a good idea to start with a mid-tempo song?
This comes down to getting comfortable and not feeling discouraged too early on in your learning journey. Struggling with an expert-level song will hinder your confidence, and potentially kill any motivation, you have to learn the basics.
You can start with either a popular mid-tempo song or your song — you can always decrease or increase your music’s tempo by using audio programs (we recommend a free one called Audacity).
Below we’ve collected some mid-tempo songs and expert-level songs for you to try out!
Some Mid-Tempo Rap Songs to Start You Off
- A true classic of the genre is Gangsta’s Paradise. The lyrics are smooth, and the flow won’t break your tongue on the first go!
Listen Here: Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio (feat. L.V.)
- Another great mid-tempo song to get you going is Gettin Jiggy With It. Fun and funky rhymes that will allow you to practice your pronunciation.
Listen Here: Gettin’ Jiggy With It by Will Smith
Some Expert-Level Rap Songs
- If you’re feeling confident, try this Busta song on for size! Break Ya Neck contains 758 words in 231 seconds. That’s 3.28 words per second!
Listen Here: Break Ya Neck by Busta Rhymes
- Are you in need for speed? Well, this Eminem song will give you all the horsepower you can handle! Godzilla has 948 words in 244 seconds. That’s a whopping 3.88 words per second! You might need a big breath after this one!
Listen Here: Godzilla by Eminem (feat. Juice WRLD)
- This lightning-fast track will have you spitting out words like crazy! Dizzee crams words into his verses like a wizard, and he plays with his technique a few times within the song. Jus a Rascal has 759 words in 208 seconds. That’s 3.64 words per second!
Listen Here: Jus a Rascal by Dizzee Rascal
- Tech N9ne delivers a whiplash of rhymes at you on this track! Worldwide Choppers crams 1543 words in 329 seconds. That’s an insane 4.68 words per second! Tech is one of the fastest rappers going in the game today!
Listen Here: Worldwide Choppers by Tech N9ne
Learn How to Count Bars in Rap Music
If you don’t know how to do this already, you must learn. Counting bars will avoid confusion and frustration if you know which bar is which in your song.
Simply put, a bar is a measure of time in music. In rap music, a bar indicates a song’s verse within a 1, 2, 3, 4 count.
The most common structure for rap songs is 3 verses and 3 choruses. So, usually, that means every verse is 16 bars.
After you determine how many bars there are in your song, you will be able to write lyrics within one bar’s confines.
How you count bars is easy too. As your song plays, you count. You go one, two, three, four. Two, two, three, four. Three, two, three, four. And so on.
It is important to keep focused on the main patterns within a rap beat as it will help you build your ear for rhythms.
Below we’ve included some great resources to get you counting bars like a pro!
Tutorials on How to Count Bars
- A bare-bones explanation on how to count bars from Howcast. A good starting point.
Watch Here: How to Count Bars | Rap Music
- A more in-depth explanation of how to count bars from music producer Curtiss King. Also, learn how to write a song in 16 bars! Definitely a good place to develop your ear for beats.
Watch Here: How to Count and Write 16 Bars in Rap
- This is a great resource for putting your words into your songs; there is a science and method behind it, and this video will go through it with you simply and easily.
Watch Here: How To Rap: Structuring Lyrics
- So you think you’ve got it down? Think again. It can be hard to keep yourself on the beat. You might start overwriting your bars or find yourself not merging your lyrics smoothly. Lyricology 101 is your lifeline to keeping you at the top of your bar game!
Watch Here: More Ways to Stay on Beat | Rap Tips
Learn How to Control Your Breathing
One of the keys to having a strong sounding rap voice is to learn how to control it with proper breathing techniques. As your raps get faster, you’re going to have to build up your breathing endurance.
It is like running a marathon every time you take to the mic to bust out some rhymes, so here are some tips to keep you from running out of breath before you drop it for the applause:
- Take inventory of your words, especially on how many vowels you’re using. This is because vowel sounds eat up a lot of air; in the English language, they include the letters, A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y and H are vowel sounds. Therefore the more you use them, the faster you’ll deplete the air in your lungs.
If you’re running out of air quickly in your songs, see if you can replace any vowel-heavy words with some that have consonants in them.
- Adjust your posture; this is especially true if you are rapping while you are sitting down. If you’re slumped over, your body’s pressure will push down on your lungs, and air will exit faster. You want to get your back nice and straight.
This goes when you’re performing as well. It’s normal to want to bend over to connect with your fans, but don’t stay down too long. Return to your proper posture as soon as you can.
- Take breaths often; don’t wait until you feel like you’re going to pass out to take a breath. Try to get into the habit of taking short and shallow breaths often. Try every other bar or so.
- Vary your volume; the louder you rap, the more air you’re going to lose. We know you want to keep the energy up, but you’ll also want to keep the quality of your rhymes going strong. Let the microphone do the work for you and keep your volume on the low side. Still bring that energy, though!
- Master the art of punching in; punching in is a recording technique that allows you to record your verses or hooks in small sections, primarily in those you are trying to get perfect. If you want to improve your delivery, recording in sections while you’re in the studio is a great way of hearing and perfecting how you want each verse to sound live.
A good exercise to try might be to try rapping while out for a jog. This will get you to build up your lung capacity, and increase your stamina when you rap for long periods.
To further help you out, we’ve included some resources on breathing techniques that we think will help you not only rap faster but also cleaner.
Tutorials on Breathing Techniques for Rappers
- The ultimate guide to breathing techniques for rappers just starting, or seasoned pros! You will keep referring back to this video — we know we do!
Watch Here: The Top 5 Breathing Techniques for Rappers
- Easy-to-do breathing exercises that will strengthen your diaphragm muscle. A great foundational video to get you warmed up.
- A good breathing exercise that will teach you how to distribute your air, so you don’t run out of breath too quickly in your rap songs.
Watch Here: Breathing Vocal Exercise
Practice Your Rhymes Without Music
It’s important to get a sense of how words sound without a beat. There’s nothing more sobering than hearing just your bare vocals.
If you’re practicing a popular fast rap song like “Rap God,” try to recite the lyrics from memory without the music’s help.
Yes, it will be difficult at first. But keep going until you can get through the entire song with just your voice.
Also, try and pay attention to the breaks you’re making in the songs you choose for practice (whether your own or someone else’s). This is because, once you learn to rap fast, you will need to train yourself to stop fast. You’ll want to give the audience time to process what was just said.
Also: changing the pace when you perform can add some style to your performance and provide some contrast that’ll spice up your rap songs.
Another thing to remember is to memorize your rap lyrics. This will help you focus on performing the song faster.
We’ve collected some resources on rhyming that will get you to the next level.
A great book that deals with the art of writing hip hop lyrics. There are some theoretical components included as well. It examines the language and techniques of some of hip hop’s most memorable artists in history.
A simple-to-use and complete reference that meets the needs of beginning or seasoned rappers alike. There are over 60,000 entries that you can play with in your rap songs!
An extremely practical reference work for all those rappers looking to add to their lyric writing. Whatever word you need to be rhymed, you’ll find it in this wonderful resource!
Learn How to Freestyle or Improve Your Freestyling Technique
A great skill to learn if you want to improve speed is how to freestyle rap. It can be daunting if you’ve never tried it before, but if you’re patient and determined, it can become like second nature.
Freestyle rapping, like the name suggests, is free form. It’s when you just open your mouth and go. That’s it.
Sounds easy, right?
You’d be surprised at just how hard it is to overcome brain noise, fear, and overthinking to get into your creative flow.
Here are a few tips to get you going:
- Don’t stop; even if you trip over a few words, stutter some of your rhymes, or get all scrambled up in the head for a second. Just keep going. When you’re first starting, it is important that your main goal be to keep your flow, regardless of how many times you mess up.
- You can skip a rhyme or two; yup, that’s right. You don’t have to rhyme every chance you get. And this is especially true when you’re first starting with freestyle rapping. If you’re too focused on hitting a rhyme, you might get bogged down or overthink it, and that’ll slow you down.
- Get descriptive; look around you and take notice. Describe what you see, what you hear, what you smell, etc. Become acutely aware of your environment. This is an especially useful strategy to fall back on if you ever find yourself stuck on what to rap about next.
- Practice different style beats; this includes beats like Trap, DJ Premier, Dr. Dre, Kanye West, 9th Wonder, Neptunes, R&B, Fast Kendrick, etc. What you want to do is get into the habit of cycling through them weekly. That way, if you’re ever challenged to flow on a beat that you don’t get to choose, you’ll have confidence that you can tackle it.
- Try to tell a story in every freestyle; one of the most engaging parts of going off the top of your head is telling a relatable and exciting story inspired by the moment. You can think of a few topics beforehand such as a crazy party you went to, a bad job experience, a funny moment with your best friend, etc. Keep it real!
- Have fun; freestyling, by its nature, should be fun and chaotic. Don’t be afraid to jump around topics that aren’t necessarily related. You want to move with your train of thought, and sometimes it’ll surprise you by where it takes you. Relax and just get started. Don’t be too serious. Permit yourself to play.
We’ve compiled a good group of resources for you to help you work on your freestyle rapping. Check them out!
Video Resources on How to Freestyle Rap for Beginners
- How to Freestyle Rap is a great starting point. It goes over some of the tips we’ve already mentioned, but in a bit more detail, as well as a few others that are worth committing to memory.
- Rob Level of Smart Rapper, goes over some great tips to get your freestyling game off to a smooth start. You’re getting expert advice from a seasoned pro — worth a watch!
- Even more great tips to get you started! How to Freestyle for Beginners, runs through fun and practical tips you can do today to get better at your freestyle rapping.
Watch Here: How to Freestyle: For Beginners
- A comprehensive guide on how to get starting rapping freestyle. In 10 foolproof steps, you’ll get in the game!
Video Examples of Top Freestyle Rappers
We think it’s important to see how the pros freestyle rap. Don’t get discouraged by how natural they make it look. Take it as a motivation to get practicing so you can get up there with them!
- Juice WRLD was probably one of the best young freestyle rappers of all time. He was able to approach a beat (or no beat), and the words just seemed to drop in his head like poetic bricks.
Watch Here: Juice WRLD Freestyle #1
Watch Here: Juice WRLD Freestyle #2
Watch Here: Juice WRLD Freestyle #3
- No one touches Eminem when he gets a hold of the mic and starts spitting rhymes. He’s in his element during the heat of a rap battle.
Learn from the legend by watching how he attacks his freestyling form. Also, pay attention to how much he keeps focused. Off the bat, you’ll want to keep it light and loose. Once you start getting confident, you’ll get caught “in-the-zone” too!
Watch Here: Eminem and Kon Artis Freestyling in a Rap Battle
Watch Here: Eminem ft Royce Da 5’9 & Mr Porter Freestyle
Watch Here: Eminem – Kick Off Freestyle (Remix with Beats)
One of the benefits of learning how to freestyle rap is that you’ll become a whiz at improvisation over time. You’ll be able to think up rhymes off the top of your head and have them flow nicely (and quickly) at the drop of a hat. Who wouldn’t want that ability?
There’s no better audience to practice with than your friends and family! It’s a great way to remain comfortable while still getting to perform out of your comfort zone. And of course, you’ll get that bonus of gentle and honest feedback.
Practice, Practice, and Practice Some More
We’ll end on this point: if you want to get better at rapping fast, you’ve got to practice like it’s your job. It’s the only way to build up confidence and develop your timing and flow.
The more you write raps and rhymes, the more raps and rhymes you will have to practice performing to an audience. You must keep up your writing game.
If you’re struggling to do this, or feel like you’re losing momentum or inspiration to keep writing down your ideas, take a break and try a different medium. Sometimes, our brains just need a break. So, try sketching or doodling out a creative idea instead of writing it down. Or act it out through dance.
Another great way to stay up on your practice is to join a community of rappers in your local area. You will most likely make a lot of good friends and connections, BUT they’ll hold you accountable for your actions; you can also get into the habit of doing weekly rap battles with one another.
We suggest joining a Facebook group in your community or ask around local bars and clubs to see if there are any hip-hop community groups. You can hit up a local studio and volunteer to help out, so you are at least in the scene.
Remember to be persistent with your rap game. If you want to get good at rapping fast, you have to keep with it, and gradually over time, your hard work will pay off!
And there you have it — our ultimate guide on how to rap faster! We hope you found this article informative, hands-on, and motivational. You really can get your rap speed up there with the likes of Eminem, Twista, and Tech N9ne, if you’re dedicated and you practice hard.