Rap, hip-hop in general, has become a worldwide phenomenon. With successful rappers often doing songs describing their great wealth and their parties, who wouldn't want to be a part of it? But more than that, rap is a powerful form of artistic expression that makes music using the complexity of human language and not just the human voice. From the profane to the deep, from light rhymes to violent tales of urban struggle, rap songs can talk about anything: what matters is writing engaging lyrics and delivering them in style. Becoming a rapper is not easy though and there will be a lot of enemies and competitors who are hoping to fail you. But if you focus, make great music, build a fan base, and get the right connections, you too can jump in on the dance.
Method 1 of 3: Learn to rap
Step 1. Learn to put words together with rhythm, rhyme and meaning
At its most basic level, rap is all about reciting rhyming lyrics to a beat, but good raps use a variety of linguistic devices, like alliteration, repetition, and puns. Good raps also have a vibrancy and flow that keep the song interesting, while keeping the beat.
- Study poetry, literature and music to understand all the possibilities.
- Play a rap learning game by trying to say all of your everyday phrases in improvised rap form. This will give you new ideas and help you develop an instinct for how words flow together.
Step 2. Write every day
Write on topics you know and love, but don't be afraid to experiment. Write down all the lyrics that come to your mind all day, but also spend time posing and composing whole songs with multiple verses, hooks and a bridge.
Write as many interesting rhymes and word combinations as possible. Over the course of his career, Eminem has collected dozens of notebook boxes filled with potential rap lines. You should be able to complete at least one
Step 3. Practice, practice, practice your flow
Having the best lyrics in the world will get you nowhere if you can't rap them with confidence, drive, fluidity, and charisma. Practice rapping your lyrics loudly and passionately and as much as possible. Experiment with different speeds, volumes, inflections, and times to pause and catch your breath.
- Memorize the lyrics of other rappers who have great flow and try to sing along. When you think you've mastered them, get yourself the instrumental version of your favorite song and try rapping to the song without the voice of the original artist to guide you. Then, when you get there, practice capella singing.
- Find out what's interesting about your own voice and make the most of it. Don't try to emulate other rappers: capitalize on your own unique sound.
Step 4. Study the big ones
Hear famous and influential rap artists and examine their lyrics. Research the different techniques they use and how they structure their songs. Decide which styles you like and explore them until you have a good understanding of the genre. Learn the references and jokes behind many classic rap lyrics.
You can be influenced by other rappers, but don't be a copycat. At some point you have to block out everything else and focus on your own music
Method 2 of 3: Create your music
Step 1. Find a good beat
Every great rap song needs to have a unique, catchy beat to stand out from all the average songs that clutter the radio.
- Buying beat making software and hardware can be expensive, and learning to make your own beats is often as tedious as learning to rap. If you can do it, however, making your own beats is definitely worth it, as it gives you more complete control over the creation of your songs and a better understanding of the music.
- If you don't want to make your own beats, you can hire or partner with a producer. Make sure this person is talented and listen to some of their other work before you buy anything.
- If you're just starting out and can't afford your own beats yet, consider making instrumental versions of popular rap songs and rapping to them. Make sure you follow the rules for using copyrighted material. And of course, you can't rap songs from other artists forever.
Step 2. Record your raps
You can do this best in a professional recording studio, but with a little work you can also set up a recording studio in your home.
Take multiple takes for each part of your song, you're not Jay-Z, not yet! Don't worry if you mess up, you can always use another outlet for this part
Step 3. Mix songs
Master your recordings and put your raps on your best beats. Work on your songs until they sound great, adjusting the beat and vocals until they match perfectly.
Give your song a name. Consider using a recognizable teaser word or phrase
Step 4. Make your first mixtape
Many people think of a mixtape as a compilation of songs by various artists that you burn for your boyfriend or girlfriend. But for aspiring rappers, a mixtape is a lot like an album, it's just generally less polished and often distributed informally or for free. Once you have a number of songs that you like, combine the top 7-15 songs on a mixtape.
- Think about the order of the songs on your mixtape. Even if the songs are not necessarily related, try to compose some sort of narrative or emotional arc with the songs.
- Create an image. It can be anything from a photo of yourself or just the text on a solid background or abstract art. If you are not visually artistic, ask an artist to help you.
- Burn CD copies for distribution or publish your mixtape online.
- If you don't have enough songs for a mixtape, but still want to start streaming your music, consider releasing just a single instead. Make sure it's a great song and make your cover art as unique as an album would be.
Method 3 of 3: Launch your career
Step 1. Go to open mic events and rap battles
Make a name for yourself by going to local open mic events. All you have to do is sign up and sing along. Make sure you choose events with a hip-hop audience.
Freestyle rap battles are a world unto themselves. You don't have to be great at improvising to be a good rapper, but it definitely helps. Doing this is a way to sharpen your skills and make yourself known
Step 2. Promote your music online
There is a vibrant world of underground rappers and aspiring rappers sharing and discussing their music on the internet. Just putting your music online doesn't mean someone will notice or listen to it, you have to work to promote it.
- Upload your music to sites like DJBooth and upload it to popular hip-hop blogs.
- Open a MySpace account, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Use them to share your music and spread the word about your shows and upcoming releases. Get followed and keep your audience interested.
Step 3. Perform live performances
Find out about gigs and try to get gigs with a hip-hop audience, maybe opening acts. Try to make some money from these, but don't be afraid to do a few shows for free to make a name for yourself.
- Print T-shirts, burn some mixtapes, and craft other merchandise to sell at your shows.
- Work on your stage presence. Don't just go out there and recite your lines - you have to engage the audience. Use your words, your expression and your body. Pay attention to what the audience likes and give them more.
Step 4. Take a manager
Once you start to build a certain reputation, you may need to take your career to the next level. A manager can take on some of the work of promoting your music, booking concerts and talking to record companies. You just have to be careful that your manager is looking for your interests and not just theirs.
Step 5. Collaborate with other artists
Rap is not a lonely art: most of the time, it's something you do with other people, producers, singers, or other rappers. Make your network work and build strong relationships with other people you meet in the industry. Collaborate with them whenever you can.
- Having your verse in a song by another rapper exposes you and your skills to a whole new audience.
- Having another rapper do a verse for you is kind of like support. People will notice your music more if you have great collaborators.
Step 6. Get a contract with a record company or be independent
Landing a deal with a major hip-hop label is the dream of most rap artists. A recording deal puts a ton of resources and influence at your disposal and puts you on the road to true stardom. However, remember that record companies are there to make money and sometimes you are better off starting your own label or partnering with another indie label to get your music out there.
- Do breathing exercises. There is nothing worse than running out of breath in the middle of a song during a live performance.
- Solicit opinions from a wide range of people with different tastes to get a feel for how your work will be received. Make sure these people are trustworthy and give you constructive criticism and don't ignore your flaws because they love you, and don't tear you down for wanting to fail you.
- Don't just rap - listen to as much music as you can.
- Having a great voice is a gift, but you also need to have a basic knowledge of rhythm, rhyme, and how to mix and modify your voice to make it sound better. Practice as much as you can and eventually you will start to be noticed and eventually you will be solicited by the local venues. Remember, practice makes perfect, so research as many places as possible. For example, many local youth centers have programs that help new or talented writers and musicians at minimal or no cost.
- Read ! Dictionaries and books can help expand your personal vocabulary and grammar skills as well as your understanding of life, which you can use in your music.
- Change the tone of your voice. If you're trying to put on a show, raise your voice. It makes people listen to your music more. Also, don't take lines from other artists, as this doesn't show that you are capable of rhyming your own.
- Listen to as many rap songs as you want, but don't copy the lyrics or you'll be mistaken for someone who is not original and unable to be creative.
- Make sure you've received positive reviews that aren't just from friends and family before you send anything to a record label.
- If you are having rap battles against friends or family members, be careful as this could seriously degrade your relationship with them.