By registering with us, you'll be able to discuss, share and private message with other members of our community.

Rap Advice and Critiques

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by brainlord, Jan 21, 2009.

Share This Page

  1. brainlord

    brainlord Senior Member

    • Messages: 81
    • Likes Received: 0
    Well we'll see if this was a good idea. I've been rapping for about a year now and its always good to read some good advice and tips to improve my raps. I know there's some experienced lyricists on this thread that would have plenty of helpful advice or resources to look for some.

    So post all your tips, tricks, advance, links, or raps for critique

    This thread is for the progression of all the lyricists here!

    here's a couple tips i've found,
    1) Keep a small spiral-bound notebook on hand at all times.
    You cannot afford to lose ideas for songs, rhymes, inspiration, etc…Sometimes a few scribbles can inspire an entire song…you don’t want to lose these notes. Some emcees even carry mini recorders, but a pocket-sized notebook should be enough.

    Note: A lot of people for one reason or another have trouble with their delivery. The problems people have with flow range from stuttering, to mumbling to rhythm problems and everywhere in between. Consider tips two through six (2-6) if you’re trying to improve your delivery.

    2) Do you have trouble with enunciation? Do people say you tend to mumble or mush words together?
    Don’t worry, it happens to a lot of people. Try this. Put a pencil in your mouth horizontally, bite and hold it with your teeth (molars) and speak as fast as you can. You’ll sound silly, yes, but this technique trains your tongue to be more nimble and has been shown to help people who have problems enunciating. Do it for 5 or 10 minutes a day (or more if you wish) and watch your pronunciation problems slowly fade.

    3) Another way to help your enunciation is to practice reading slowly while OVER enunciating, especially the consonants (C,P,B,S,T, etc.) Slowly build up speed while maintaining the over enunciation.

    4) Practice tongue twisters, especially those with S’s or B’s. (i.e. Sally sold seashells by the seashore)

    5) Say “abadee” (ah-baa-dee) fast and continuously, remember to have clear and clean breaks between syllables. This trains you to clearly pronounce every syllable when rhyming fast.

    6) Practice opening your mouth to an exaggerated degree when speaking, in order to articulate syllables and words better. This may look funny but it helps tremendously and the faster and more natural your speech becomes, the less likely what you are doing will even be noticeable.

    7) Trouble staying on beat or keeping a rhythm?
    Speak to very rhythmical music, “Mary had a little lamb” or “Twinkle, Twinkle little star” are simple songs that work well, but you can mix it up. Don't worry about rhyming when doing this. The goal is to get yourself used to flowing to a beat or to improve your rhythm. If the end of a bar ends up chopping your thought in half, so be it. Start the next bar with the remaining half of the thought and move along.

    Example: (in the melody of “Mary had a little lamb”)

    If the end of a bar ends
    Up chop-ping
    Your thought in
    Half so be it start the next
    Bar with the re-main-ing…

    8) Voice too quiet?
    Some people, especially new MC’s find it hard to speak loudly and clearly at the same time. To fix this, practice reading out loud…as loud as you can. It might annoy your roommates or parents but this skill is without a doubt NECESSARY for rocking a mic AND recording in a studio (or at home). This will also force you to improve your breath control. You should rhyme loudly into the mic not only when expressing strong emotion or commanding attention, but at all times for optimal sound quality.

    9) Write to a beat.
    Everyone has their own style, but having a beat to listen to can set a mood, which can help to order your thoughts and make coming up with lyrics easier.

    10) Beginners: consider using existing instrumentals.
    Unless your goal is to be a producer, don’t waste your time trying to figure out how to create beats at first. However, an advantage of being a rapper AND a skilled producer is that it makes you a more well-rounded artist, but that is not to say that you have to take on this task all at once. Choose one at a time to keep from being overwhelmed.

    11) Think fast and write fast.
    Just start writing, if you hit a wall, set the rhyme aside and start a new one, keep it moving and keep everything in a rhyme book. Later on you can link bits and pieces from your rhyme book here and there when you think that they fit in well with any songs or ideas you have.

    Don’t overanalyze a rhyme - just jot it down. If it needs adjusting later, you’ll likely figure out how to get it just right when it comes time to actually use it. Lots of rappers such as B.I.G. and Jay-Z would have so many rhymes in their heads that they would many times go into the booth and drop a verse that they have never written down…essentially freestyling.

    12) Memorize, don’t read your rhymes when recording.
    The difference is noticeable to any listener. “Readers” sound more rigid. Memorized rhymes come off smoother and more natural.

    13) Drink water, not milk before recording.
    Dairy products coat vocal chords causing more slips and stumbles and limiting the maximum speed at which you can flow.

    14) Don’t use Windows Sound Recorder.
    Since it comes free with most PC’s, sticking with it is tempting – it is not recommended. Sound Recorder has very limited options/features and may frustrate and discourage new artists.

    15) Record in the dark.
    When recording at home record in a dimly lit area away from the computer (the PC fan can interfere with sound quality). Certain lights (such as fluorescent lights) cause electrical interference in the environment that leads to a humming sound appearing in your vocals. Therefore try and turn off lights if possible.

    16) Use headphones.
    Using headphones when recording is CRUCIAL to staying on beat. Playing the beat in the background through speakers is not good enough. It not only messes up your vocals’ quality, but also when it comes time to mixing your vocals, the faint beat in the background will make it difficult. Never record a verse without hearing the beat it’s going over, the resulting sound tends to sound offbeat and amateurish.

    17) Add light reverb.
    Adding a light reverb to your audio through your sound editor software produces a fuller, more professional sound. You might also want to double your vocals and play the backing vocal no more than 35 milliseconds after the lead vocal. This gives a bigger, fuller sound.

    18) Don’t lose hunger and write every day.
    Don’t let negative feedback discourage you. Let it motivate you to get better. Remember, you also have a helping community ( dedicated to your improvement, behind you in your favor.

    Writing 16 bars a day would mean hundreds of verses a year…after time you will notice a vast improvement guaranteed. Remember, no one starts out great…what separates a successful MC and one who never made it is persistence and dedication.

    19) Take a break from hip-hop…relax and listen to other music.
    Andre3000 was inspired by The Ramones, Tonedeff is an admirer of Tori Amos, its been said that Tupac’s favorite song was the theme from Les Miserables…for you it may be Coldplay, Al Green, Latin music or the classical works of Fryderyk Chopin that’s inspiring.

    Listening to different types of music can also help when, for example, you may want to reproduce the sense of despair (or any other feel) of a certain song, in your track.

    20) Freestyle now and again.
    Whether it’s in a battle, a cypher or on your own – freestyle. Freestyling helps to keep your mind sharp and fast, two things you need when coming up with lyrics quickly. So the more you freestyle, the faster and better you will come up with “writtens”…the more stuff you have written down (and floating around in your head) the better your freestyling will get…and on and on…this is a good cycle to fall into.

    21) Become an expert in hip-hop.
    This is probably the most important tip, partly because it is so wide a category and partly because it usually takes years of experience to acquire all you need to know to be an expert.

    You should master flow, rhyme structure, the principles of poetry, know who your audience is, know the ins and outs of the music industry, hip-hop history, master rythm, develop a quick wit, etc…The more you know, the faster and more accurately you’ll know if you’re good and why; what to improve on and how...

    On the bright side - that is exactly what we're here for.


    more articles on
  2. Proper

    Proper Elite Member

    • Messages: 4,876
    • Likes Received: 0
    Hm, I don't know whether you [lyricists] would want a thread like this so I'm going to approve it and let you decide.
  3. brainlord

    brainlord Senior Member

    • Messages: 81
    • Likes Received: 0
    me either man thought id at least try it though
  4. respERATION

    respERATION Banned

    • Messages: 617
    • Likes Received: 0
    alright so heres a couple random battle or free rhymes just to get this going

    kid,the only thing you good for is a back alley abortion,
    your mothers one was unsuccesful and now your distorted,
    look like some kind of iraqi turd,kid,i'll have you deported,
    foreign shit that even social services aren't supporting,(this is a pun at that social services seem to help forgein people more than english in my area)
    kid,i'd love you to kill me and show me what your working with,
    your shit is wank,and i don't mean your jerking it,
    i spit fire,invunerable,put my hands in and start working it,
    try to spit back to me and you'll get stuffed like your turkey did.

    yo b!tch stfu and go buy a shirt with some sleeves,
    please, your poor excuse for muscles is making me heave,
    just leave, and take the shades of kid,it's winter now,
    and even the "crips" get cold, with your gangster frown,
    i'ma call you a d!ck tree,cause when i cut it,theres splinter down,
    yeah i said it,BK has a tiny weiner, and i ain't fxcking around,
    oh and the only time i'd kill myself is to do you a favour,
    cause your rhymes are like chicken,they ain't got no flavour,
    but even in death i'd ressurect,ladies call me the saviour,
    guys call me the lady with the fxcking mad behaviour,
    and yeah this is the part when i bring in my gore,
    rip off your jaw, lyrically, your spits go straight to the floor,
    i'm flawless ain't no other female that could own you before this,
    nukka get on your knees to worship, i know deplore this,
    i had this won before i even had my foot in the door b!tch.

    my personal favorite...made it up yesterday.....

    i'm a fxcking messiah,my rhymes are like an orgasm,
    when i spit my mouth is angelic, yours is a jaw spasm,
    your word play is older than relics, your flow is whack,
    you spit too slow,i spit faster than your girl get on her back,
    i write a cuss like its second nature, yours are forced,
    face it,you weren't ever gonna make it,like pre-marital divorce,
    cause when i drop to a beat kids drop to my feet,
    your rhymes stink,like milk thats been in the sun for weeks,
    beech a fxcking homo,they way you "suck on the mic",
    when your gett a$$ raped spitting is the only time your rhymes are tight.
  5. JETPACK!!

    JETPACK!! Banned

    • Messages: 1,940
    • Likes Received: 0
    theres already a "freestyle" thread.

    this is for tips, dumbass. and you obviously need a lot. so mine is... quit.
  6. respERATION

    respERATION Banned

    • Messages: 617
    • Likes Received: 0
    i put them up for crits.....

    .....i'll quit when you die...
  7. JETPACK!!

    JETPACK!! Banned

    • Messages: 1,940
    • Likes Received: 0
    i'll die when you quit.

    you suck at everything hip hop related

    P.S. my crit was to quit
  8. respERATION

    respERATION Banned

    • Messages: 617
    • Likes Received: 0
    i see....your just a post whore...

    crits actually say whats bad about a fucking dictionary
  9. weak0ner

    weak0ner Moderator

    • Messages: 1,566
    • Likes Received: 0
  10. Slushi

    Slushi Banned

    • Messages: 2,145
    • Likes Received: 0
    "Crits" isn't in the dictionary, because it isn't a real word.
  11. MarOne...

    MarOne... Elite Member

    • Messages: 826
    • Likes Received: 0
    This was actually a good thread idea... Jetpack, you could (most likely) help this thread out, yet you just start shit. Everyone just chill and go along with the thread's intent.

    Thanks for the tips brainlord.
  12. respERATION

    respERATION Banned

    • Messages: 617
    • Likes Received: 0
    crits is a clipping of criticisim

    and i like the thread idea so i don't know why i got jumped on....i didn't even claim i was all that or anything
  13. JETPACK!!

    JETPACK!! Banned

    • Messages: 1,940
    • Likes Received: 0
    freestylin, raps and rhymes should be done in cyphers. brainlord gave every tip you need in his post. do the rest yourself

    if you needs critism on your rhymes then
    A) its not your rhyme, its partially yours, partially people on the internet.
    B) you wont be able to pick out your own flaws and you wont improve without cats holdin your hand as you walk
    C)your bars are gonna be just as washed down an recycled as the next cat who thinks he's an emcee

    do the work yourself, fuck. and resp, learn to swear. cuz this wtf, stfu shit is just gonna get you clowned in a cypher

    "omg wtf b!tch, lol @ur lyrics"


    an im clownin on you cuz your just another groupie who thinks she can be accepted to the scene cuz she can spend 20 minutes writing a sub par rhyme. and 20 minutes on a lousy simple with your wack art fag cross hatchin inside the letter bullshit
  14. SBOMBS

    SBOMBS Elite Member

    • Messages: 1,162
    • Likes Received: 0
  15. brainlord

    brainlord Senior Member

    • Messages: 81
    • Likes Received: 0
    i agree with you completely jetpack that the work has to be done yourself but i wouldn't mind a critique on a couple of my raps or advice to improve my flow, fuck lets go over everything in this thread i dont know what reverb is and how the fuck does compression work?
  16. brainlord

    brainlord Senior Member

    • Messages: 81
    • Likes Received: 0
    I thought this was another good article:

    How To Write a Solid 16-Bar Verse

    This article is about developing bars as a technique in writing raps. I have received the question, "What are bars?" on many occasions and have briefly touched on the subject in a previous MC Improvement Article/visitor e-mail. In this article I will expand on the topic as well as describe an effective way of writing a solid 16 bar verse.

    First of all…what are bars, exactly?

    Well bars are simply a form of dividing a verse into segments. Each segment, or "bar", consists of one line. The following is an example of two bars by Jay-Z:

    "And all you other cats takin' shots at Jigga/
    You only get half a bar, 'F*ck ya'll *****s'"

    As you can see both "lines" or "bars" rhyme at the end. This is usually the case, but as verses are created more and more organically by artists (read: freestyled) they many times won't end so picture perfect…but don't worry about that for now. In case you're a little confused, you'll get a clearer picture through future articles.

    So Why 16 bars?

    If you're a hip hop fan, you have undoubtedly heard the term, "16 bars" at some point. Maybe something along the lines of, "Nas dropped a sick 16 bars on that mixtape."

    The reason that "16" became the standard is because the music industry strategically determines the most effective duration of a typical song. Usually the shorter the song is, the better for the record's success. The shorter the song is, the more times that it can be played on the radio, the more times that it can be played on the radio, the more popular the song will become, the more popular the song becomes…you get the picture.

    Also taken into account was the average amount of time a run-of-the-mill listener would wait between hooks before becoming tired. You have to keep in mind that not all listeners are looking out for the real substance of the song (the verses) but instead merely tune in to listen to the beat and the chorus. A verse that's too short will leave something to be desired (substance) and/or may grow old fast (since the hook/chorus will be played more frequently). A verse that's too long will lose many mainstream listener's attention.

    So in time, the typical "16 bar" format was created. About the same time, the typical 8 bar chorus came into popularity in hip hop. This was long ago…dates mean little. Don't get this confused, though…not every song sticks to the 16's and 8's formula. Ghostface Killah came out with the single, "All That I Got Is You" which was one long verse…with one long hook at the end. Therefore, a lot of songs vary from the classic 3 verse and 3 hook layout, and they even vary from the classic 3-minute-a-song set-up. Some songs are 7 minutes long. But if you pay attention, most of these "odd" songs are usually not released as singles and if they are, they are usually released by more well-known artists with a well established fan base. The fact is that most pop or "popular" songs still follow the typical format most preferred by the radio and recording industry…and that is the "16-bar verse" and the "3 verse" format. (Note: Actually, with the increased popularity of catchy "breaks" "bridges" and "hooks", artists are increasingly neglecting the 3rd verse of their songs.)

    In case you're wondering, the radio industry prefers shorter songs so that they can vary their playlist in order to reach more listeners. Reaching more listeners and keeping more listeners is important to radio stations so that the advertising spots they offer are attractive to advertisers.

    There are even radio stations that have been known to speed up the pace of their songs so as to shorten their length of play…of course these songs tend to sound nothing like they were intended to, but that's the cost they are willing to take.

    Writing 16 Bars: Part 1

    So how should you go about writing the actual 16 bars? Well, there's two broad methods; to a beat, or without a beat. I recommend you write any verse to a beat. Firstly, because a lot of beats follow very similarly timed or even exactly similar drum patterns, therefore, one of your verses may be able to adapt very smoothly to various beats. Second, and more importantly, when you write to a beat that you're listening to, you can more easily play with your bars. By that I mean you can stretch your words or adjust your flow and say something like:

    "Shopping sprees, coppin' three, deuce Beamer IS's/
    Fully loaded…ahhhhh yes! (haha)" - Jay-Z

    That was from "Can't Knock The Hustle" and when Jay-Z was at the top of his game lyrically (in my humble opinion). But, you can see how his pause during that second bar built up the punch line to that lyric. This is facilitated by listening to a beat while putting together your verse.

    You can also choose to just write. Forget the beat, just write. A lot of times we don't have the luxury of having a beat playing when creativity strikes. That's ok…you can make it work anyway. If you are intending to put together a whole verse, however, it is best to at least have a beat in your head if not in your ears. And I don't mean a popular rap beat, necessarily…just a simple drumbeat will do. The idea is to have something in mind that you can bounce to…literally…if you find yourself bopping your head while you're formulating a rhyme…that's good!

    Writing 16 Bars: Part 2

    When you write lyrics, there is a very important principle which will benefit many of you to understand. It has already been made clear that bars tend to rhyme at the end (mostly). But what about the center? Though rhymes don't necessarily need to rhyme in the middle (meaning the middle of the first bar rhymes with the middle of the second), there does many times seem to be a pattern to the emphasis throughout bars. By this I mean that there are usually two emphasis (or accents) in each bar.

    Usually, somewhere during the middle of a bar there is a break, a pause, or an emphasis in a syllable, and then there is another similar emphasis towards the end of the bar. A good example would be 50 Cent's second verse from "In Da Club":

    (Note: The "bolded" letters indicate the emphasis I spoke about)

    "And you should love it, way more then you hate it
    ***** you mad? I thought that you'd be happy I made it
    I'm that cat by the bar toastin' to the good life
    You that f*ggot-*ss ***** tryin' to pull me back right?
    When my joint get to pumpin' in the club it's on
    I wink my eye at ya b*tch, if she smiles she gone
    If the roof on fire, let the motherf*cker burn
    If you talkin' about money homie, I ain't concerned
    I'ma tell you what Banks told me "Cous' go 'head switch the style up
    If the *****s hate then let 'em hate then watch the money pile up
    Or we go upside your head with a bottle of bub'
    They know where we f*ckin' be..."

    Hopefully you have a better idea of what I mean by now. If you simply think about each individual bar as having two parts then you can attempt to pause at the beat-break (the drum beat or bass tends to pound twice per bar) present around the middle of each bar and allow your flow to synchronize with the beat. This is CRITICAL. Treat your voice/words like an instrument that like any other instrument must be in tune with the beat.

    Don't be afraid to adjust your flow by using emphasis, stretching out your words, shortening words, chopping words in mid sentence and continuing them in the next bar, accenting syllables, (by that I mean accenting certain syllables even when they normally shouldn't be) etc…just to make them fit appropriately to the end of the beat. You might even consider using synonyms to make the bar fit the beat.

    Your Lyric Content

    There are many ways to start a verse. You can tell a real story, describe an event, narrate a fictional scene, etc. Your approach will vary depending on your style. Let's say you're writing literally about what you're doing at the moment...actually writing a rhyme… (or at least that's how you choose to begin)…you can say something like:

    "It cost me more to be free than a life in the Penn/
    Makin' money off of cus words, writin' again/
    Learn how to think ahead so I fight with my pen/
    Late night down Sunset, likin' the sin" - 2pac

    Or perhaps you can say it like this…

    "F*ck a pad and a pen, I write rhymes on the IBM/
    Ebonics is dead and binary language is in" - Canibus

    Obviously, both of these approaches are distinct. The hardest part about writing a verse, though, is starting it. Once you begin, and you know your style, it's just a matter of keeping it going.

    Now, as far as ending or wrapping up a verse…you can do many things with that as well. You can follow the example from 50 Cent (above) and end your verse half-way (and allow the beginning part of your chorus or "hook" to end the last part of your final bar for you). You can also just complete the bar but on the same vibe as that of your chorus, for example:

    "What's the worst they can do to a *****, got me lost in Hell/
    To live and die in L.A., on bail…(and my angels sing)" - 2pac "2 Live and Die in LA"

    The idea is to let your verse end on a vibe that easily flows into the mood that your hook provides.

    Final Note

    Playing around with your voice or tone (intonation) is also a great way to add a bit of flare. Adding something unique to your flow seems more and more necessary in this highly competitive market we call the rap industry. It is not necessary to create a gimmick (there is a fine line between a gimmick and a unique style…but interestingly, most mass consumers of media don't notice or care what that difference is) but it is important to have something distinctive about your flow to help you stand out and be remembered.

    More on that and other tips to come in future articles. Until then, take a look at our other MC Improvement Articles as well as our Hustling Hip Hop Articles and all our other free content at
  17. TECKN

    TECKN Senior Member

    • Messages: 185
    • Likes Received: 0
  18. MontanaPainter

    MontanaPainter Elite Member

    • Messages: 2,136
    • Likes Received: 0
    shut up resp

    you SUCK DICK at rapping


    and +1 for jett
  19. ThatCommieBastard

    ThatCommieBastard Banned

    • Messages: 57
    • Likes Received: 0
    Just in terms of battling, from all the shit i've watched, Ive noticed that on line can make the difference.

    Jin fucked up and only had like 3 real punch lines but the last one won the battle for him.
    Ive seen lots of guys get demoralized and when they cant think of a line they just stop. If you can grasp for something,like Jin did, instead of cutting out, then you can get your flow back and maybe get back spittin. I described what I was trying to say reallly terribly, but thats good enogh for now.
  20. brainlord

    brainlord Senior Member

    • Messages: 81
    • Likes Received: 0