How to Write a Rap Melody

By Kyra Sheahan ; Updated September 15, 2017
Listen to rap music for inspiration and ideas.

Rap is a genre and style of music that is characterized by particular beats and lyrics. If you are looking to write your own rap melody, do some research first to find out about the different types of rap. Each style has its own origin and defining qualities that impact the melody. From funk beats to crunk beats, you have many options when it comes to selecting a sound for your rap melody.

Listen to rap music to educate yourself. Listen for different types of beats and pay attention to things like tempo, scale and digital instruments used to create it. For instance, funk beats are slower than crunk, and Latin rap styles use specific instrumental sounds.

Start with a digital drum beat. Speed up or slow down the drum beat to create your main beat or rhythm line in the rap song.

Add similar rhythmic sounds that complement the melody to build on the beat line. You can have multiple types of drums or rhythmic bass beats.

Add instruments on top of the beat, such as a guitar, piano or brass instruments. Come up with a catchy tune to make them sound melodic. You might also include sound effects, which rap uses to punctuate parts of songs. Sirens, motorcycles, shattered glass and helicopters are examples of sound effects that you can throw into your rap melody.

Feel the beat and make adjustments to it until you are satisfied. Then, start to hum or freestyle your lyrics to go with the beat. Even if you are just writing a rap melody, it helps to hear how lyrics will fit with the beat you establish. If you can't find a way to insert lyrics, you might need to speed it up or slow it down to change your beat line.

Differentiate the beat of your rap melody between the verses, chorus and bridge. Make the verses, chorus and bridge sound different from one another.

Play your rap melody for friends or family and get their feedback. Play around with your rhythmic and melodic sounds to create a final rap melody with which you are happy.

Tip

Pay for and download samples of pre-engineered rap beats from rap websites to help you get started with your main beat line.

About the Author

Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.