Hip hop music is one of the greatest genres of the music industry. It consists of a huge amount of artists and a wide variety of different styles and subgenres.
It is one of the most powerful forms of art, with countless styles of lyrics and great music producers, describing the struggles of the people living in the ghetto to the millions of dollars that the artists earn and their fascinating lives as celebrities.
Rap lyrics can be literally about anything, from the funnier story to the darkest raw narration of real event that took place somewhere in a near neighborhood. The purpose of a successful rap song is to consist of intriguing lyrics that will engage the listeners.
Furthermore, it is one of the most competitive music genres in the industry, so it takes lots of work and determination to become a successful rapper. You need to be focus, be a professional and follow all the necessary steps to achieve success.
Here are some of the most important tips and strategies you should follow in order to become a good rapper.
How to become a good rapper
The first logical step you need to take in order to achieve success in the hip hop industry, is to learn how to rap. In order to do so, you need to focus on some very important things.
You need to learn how to make clever wordplays. Wordplay is an essential language skill you need to acquire in order to create interesting rap verses, so that you can attract your audience’s attention. You should practice daily over various beats and styles until you find out a method to create lyrics that suit you.
What is more, you should write down every idea that comes to your mind, keep notes and combine your different ideas together to create verses. When you have two or three relevant verses, you can place them in the same song, add a chorus (hook) and make a complete original song.
You must learn ways to sound dynamic, so that you can support your verses and eventually your songs and project the best way possible. Subtle performances, create a feeling of uncertainty to the listener, which leads him to not trust or believe the artist he is listening to.
Learn how to follow and step on the rhythm of the beat properly. Rapping is not only about writing the lyrics, but about knowing how to present them in a way that you can persuade your audience about your skills and capabilities considering your flow too.
Remember to practice daily, choose beats with difficult rhythmical patterns, so that you can challenge yourself and aim for improvement. Becoming a better rapper, is about how hard you want to try and test your limits.
Reading books, especially literature or fiction books, books about music theory or poetry will be beneficial for you. They will help you enhance your vocabulary and acquire ideas that will help you write better lyrics.
Write and practice
When beginning to write, you should focus on writing simple lyrics at first. Write simple sentences and describe situations that you are familiar with, or talk about topics that you know well. This method is suggested for beginners so that they can easily start understanding the basic structure of rap verses.
When you think that you are ready, you could start writing lyrics about more complicated topic and situations and start experimenting with different techniques and wordplays.
You should spend a serious amount of your time listening to songs of successful artists to get a proper idea on how to structure entire songs. This is usually the most difficult part for beginner rappers and is a lot different from writing single verses.
Songs need to be built with an introduction, two or three main verses, the hook, one or more bridges and an outro. All of these parts of the song have to be combined harmonically throughout the duration of the track so that it sounds natural to the listener.
You do not need to use every verse or line that you create. You can keep some of them as basic ideas, keep the best parts of others and leave unused those that you think that are of a lower quality compared to the rest.
Keep in mind not to disregard any ideas before you write them down. Sometimes some verses or lines may not seem to have such a potential on their own, but when used to relevant songs, can transform into small lyrical gems.
Make sure that you practice your verses loudly so that you can identify the weakest spots. Also, you have to develop a persuasive way of presenting your lyrics so that you can keep your audience interested in your song.
There are different aspects of rapping that you need to learn how to control, such as speed or where to place pauses to be able to take breaths. That last part is one of the main important ones when it comes to rapping, because it will help you make better live performances.
Try to learn how to memorize your lyrics, so that your presentation becomes natural and you eliminate every element of hesitation from your performance.
Test your voice and experiment with different ways to add color, loudness and expressions, so that you make your verses even more intriguing and manage to showcase the originality of your style.
The first to creating a great rap song, is to acquire some high-quality beats. This way, you have the best basis for your songs and gain great amount of inspiration to write your lyrics.
Search the internet and find out which are the best places online to purchase beats in order to make your songs. If your intention is to practice only on beats, many of the websites that sell them offer free beat packages in exchange for your e-mail address so that they can update you with their new work.
If you are on a very limited budget, you can download or find instrumental versions of beats that other rappers have used and practice your verses. Of course, those beats cannot be used commercially because you do not own their rights, so you have to keep them in a demo version for yourself.
In addition, you should consider working with local producers, or friend producers of yours through the internet. This works great, especially if you are both in the beginning stages of your careers and want to practice by making more songs.
They can send you their beats and you can test your verses on them. Make sure that you work with producers that create fairly good beats, so that they become a great inspiration for you. Low quality beats will not really help you improve your lyrics and style, as they will not be challenging enough.
Record your songs
After you acquire the beats you want, next step is to create songs. You can do this by recording your rap verses in a professional studio, or at your own home recording studio.
The first times you try to record your verses will be the most difficult and confusing. You will have no idea how to use your voice and how to present your lyrics. It would be ideal if you worked with a professional who could give you advice and guide you through your first sessions.
Do not get disappointed. You will become better over time, and you will learn how use your voice and rap skills to their full potential.
You need to practice hard, if possible in a daily basis, and record new songs as often as possible. Paying a professional recording studio too often is not possible when you are on a limited budget, so consider setting up a home studio to work on your projects.
If your budget allows you to, make sure that you get some of the songs that you recorded mixed and mastered professionally. This will give you a nice idea of your potentials considering rapping, and it will change your perspective over the recording process.
If you do not have enough money, make sure that you get at least one of your songs mixed and mastered so that you can get a test of how a complete and professional processed song with your own verses sound.
Share your music
If you end up making a certain amount of songs and you like the result of your sound, you should consider compiling them into a complete album.
Doing this, will give you the opportunity to share your music more easily and in a more professional way. It would more intimidating for the listener to listen to a complete album or mixtape of a rapper to get a better idea about his music, than listening to an individual song.
If you do not have enough songs, then sharing each song you create is not a bad idea either. Make sure that you upload it on Youtube, and share it through every social media platform available. Furthermore, you can upload your songs or albums on music distributors and libraries such as Bandcamp, CD Baby and iTunes to make them available for sale.
Consider creating videos for your songs. Adding images and videos to your songs can increase the listeners’ engagement dramatically and you could gain attention much faster. Make sure that the song that you create a video for is one of your best, because having a video is not enough if your song is mediocre.
A very common path that rappers choose in order to build a name for themselves and earn the respect of the hip hop community, is by attending freestyle battles, rap battles and open-mic events.
These are great ways to showcase your capabilities and stand out in such a competitive music genre such as hip hop. Through battles, the audience can decide which of the rappers have great skills and potentials according to their efficiency on the stage.
Open-mic event were the starting point for the careers of many rappers, who had the opportunity to show to the world what their lyric and performance level is.
What is more, you can book your own live events yourself. As stated earlier, hip hop music and the music industry in general are very competitive fields, and you cannot wait for the opportunities to come knocking on your door.
You have to be persistent and go after every opportunity in order to achieve success. You can gather other fellow rappers and book small live stages or coffee shops in order to make live performances. Make sure that these places have a relevant regular audience to your genre, because it will make you more harm than good to book a rock bar for a rap live performance.
Ask around and talk with other artists about bigger festivals, and see if you have any chance at playing in one of these as an opening act. There are a lot of big festivals that will happily accept newcomers, in order to support the newer generations of rappers.
It would be advised that you send them your demo songs, complete track, entire albums or videos that you have created to make it easier for them to decide whether you are suitable for their line-up and the program they are about to present to their audience.
Reach out to record labels
Reaching out to record labels is not something that you should avoid. Many rappers and artists in general present their demos to various labels and ask for their opinion.
Record labels are more than capable of distinguishing the artists who have the most possibilities to make it in the music industry. It is their job after all. The best way to approach a record label is through an experienced manager.
The manager can guide you through the process and prepare you properly for the meeting. He has to present you in the most professional way, so that the record label is sure that is making the right investment in you and your music.
Before you reach out to a record label, make sure that you have some quality songs to showcase as your portfolio, and you have to seem willing to work hard in order to create the best music possible and sign a contract with them.
There are some tips, strategies and guidelines you should follow in order to be a successful rapper.
Work hard and be creative!