Hip-hop and rap artists have taken over the charts in the last few years, with rappers like Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Stefflon Don and Cardi B all achieving mainstream success. If you’re thinking about entering the rap game, here’s where to start.
Lyrics are the fundamental part of any rap song, how to deliver these lyrics are just as important. Strong delivery of your lyrics will ensure you connect with you audience and effectively convey the message that’s in your song to them.
In this article we have focused on five key areas to help you improve your rapping technique, which beginner and intermediate rappers will hopefully find useful.
5 steps for becoming a professional rapper
As with any performance, confidence is key. Having confidence in yourself and your lyrics will help you connect emotionally to your song. The easiest way to build confidence with your vocals is to just enjoy the experience, you will find this helps you engage with your audience; giving you a better reception.
The more practice the easier it is to enjoy yourself, this will also help you to memorise your lyrics and in turn, relax.
Tip: Perform in front of friends and family and film yourself rapping to help build your confidence.
Having complete control of the dynamics of your voice will help you deliver the right message in your song. Intonation (the rise and fall of your voice) and tone (pitch) are powerful ways to change the meaning of your lyrics. For example, take a sentence such as ‘I will see you there’.
Said in an aggressive, abrupt tone emphasising ‘there’ can turn this into a threat. Spoken calmly and softly, is a commitment. Rising in pitch at the end, a question.
Tip: Practice by identifying sentences that can have multiple meanings depending on how they are pronounced. You can then play with these words to make your raps more interesting.
Adding breaths in your writing process is key. If you do not inhale frequently you are forced to take deeper, longer breaths that in turn, can put you off the songs rhythm. Usually you can add a breath to the end of each line, treating it as one syllable, however you may have to adapt this depending on the flow of your song.
#4 Rhythm and rhymes
Rhythm is the backbone of any piece of music. The foundations of rhythm in rap are syllables. Treat each syllable of a word as one beat. If your lyrics contain too many syllables, your lyrics may become unclear to your audience, affecting the delivery of your message.
With words that contain multiple syllables, some are emphasised and others that are not. When pronouncing words, we naturally emphasise a stressed syllable. It is good to identify the stressed syllables in a word as they are the most effective part of a word to use for rhyming.
For ‘exAMple’, the ‘AM’ is the stressed syllable. This would rhyme more effetely with other words that have a rhyming stressed syllable; such as, ‘sAMple’, ‘Ample’, ‘shAMbles’. Identifying these syllables will help improve your flow helping you achieve a clear delivery of your rap.
Learning how to embrace the power of emotion is vital for giving your audience a convincing performance and conveying the lyrical content. Emotion is characterised by your tone of voice, which is conveyed through changes in pitch, volume, speed etc. Focusing on the emotions of your lyrics will help you deliver the message to your audience more effectively.
A good technique to practice is to identify the emotion connected to a key word in your rap, then try and act out this emotion whilst saying the word.
Who are the rappers that you most admire? Let us know in the comments below!