How to Become a Better Lyrical Rapper

By Ty Wright
Rap is all about lyrics.

Rap music has transcended its humble origins on the streets of urban America. It has become one of the world’s most popular forms of music. Learning to rap requires a good sense of rhythm, a good memory and the ability to rhyme. Some rappers are more lyrical with their raps than others. Some are naturally blessed with the talent, but others can learn to be more lyrical. Creativity is essential in developing lyrical rhymes. Some of the best lyrical rappers, such as Jay-Z, Eminem and Lil' Wayne are known to “Freestyle” their rhymes off the tops of their heads.

Rap slow at first. Develop your flow. It doesn’t matter what you rap about, or even if your raps rhyme. You want to build up a cadence that you are comfortable with.

Maintain your flow. Keep rapping, even if you can’t think of anything to say. By staying fluid, you eventually will get back on track. The more you stay in rhythm, the sooner words will come to mind.

Think of rhymes in advance. Once your flow has developed, you want to be able to develop actual rhymes. Don’t just think of one line, but think of the following line. By putting sequences together in your head, you will become more lyrical.

Write your rhymes down. The connection between saying words and seeing words is powerful. To be a lyrical rapper, you need to make connections between words and their meanings. Metaphors and similes are good to know.

Rap about subjects you are familiar with. Fiction writers and screenwriters are advised to write about subjects they know about. The same should apply to a rapper. The everyday goings-on of your environment and current events are great topics. Popular culture also is a good reference.

Tip

Listen to other lyrical rappers to see how they put their words together. Don’t listen to them too much, but just enough to get a sense of lyrical styles.

Read or listen to poetry. This is the basis of all rhyming.

Read books written by authors who are great at description. You will pick up lots of devices for using the English language by doing this.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Ty Wright has written professionally since 1993, working primarily in film and television. His articles have appeared online at MadeMan. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in film and electronic arts from California State University, Long Beach.