The quality of your lyrics is one of the elements that is going to make you stand out from the crowd as an emcee. No rap beat is complete without a set of beautiful rhymes over it.
So in this article you will find a list of ten writing technique secrets used by professional writers that you should definitely be using when getting your verses down in the rhyme book.
- The Theme
Writing is a means of expressing yourself. For this reason your best lyrics will generally be about an idea or a topic that is close to you, something that you care about or affects you in some way. Write about your own experiences: an incident, an emotional moment, a fear, a dream or nightmare, a problem within your family, your neighborhood, your country. Write about current issues that you feel strongly about, you can make your song a protest, a tribute, a social commentary. Don’t just try to come up with something you think will be cool. If it has no relevancy to you, your lyrics will probably not be very convincing.
- Stick to Theme
When you have decided what the theme of your lyrics will be, stick to it. If you lose focus your lyrics might end up drifting from one topic to another, losing power and meaning.
- Write, Write, Write
Write as much as you can. Even when you are not inspired, or when you think you have nothing to say, write down some lyrics. This gets ideas flowing on a regular basis, and soon you might feel inspired more often than you used to. Writing something, however bad, is better than writing nothing. This is because even though your verses might be poor, you might find a couple of ideas or rhymes in it that suddenly trigger your imagination and inspire some great lyrics. Have a pen and notebook always handy. Leave them next to your bed, or carry them with you when you leave the house – you never know when inspiration might strike!
- The Mood
Decide on the mood of your lyrics. Once you’ve understood what exactly you want to talk about and have started jotting down some lyrics, focus on creating and maintaining the desired tone and mood. Look at the words you have in mind and think of synonyms of metaphors that can convey better the emotion you have in mind.
- The Chorus
The chorus must contain the basic theme and mood of your song, while being at the same time brief and to the point. Whenever you think about a song, it is usually the chorus that immediately comes to mind make sure yours is catchy and coherent with the rest of the lyrics.
- The World Around You
Pay attention to the world around you. Observe what people do, how they behave, what they say. Listen to people’s stories. Read newspapers. This will help you come up with ideas for lyrics that are real and people can relate to.
- The Third Person Option
If you would like to write about a subject which you feel might be too personal, write in the third person. Talk about the issue as if it’s happening to someone else. This way you can talk about a subject that is important to you without letting people understand that you are talking about yourself.
- Your Dreams
Pay attention to your dreams. When you wake up and remember a dream or nightmare, describe it on paper in as much detail as possible. Skim through a thesaurus to find the right words to make the emotion you felt come across as closely as possible.
- Get Into The Flow
Try the following exercise: write for 10 minutes in a row, without ever stopping. Forget quality for this period, and just write whatever you have in mind. Do this several times a week. After a few days, go back with a fresh mind and check what you have written, underlining anything interesting. Now write again for 10 minutes, using the ideas you underlined as the starting point of your next exercise.
- Learn for the best, but be original
Look carefully at the work of the most established rappers. As in any other field, the best way to learn is to learn from the masters. Analyze their lyrics; try to understand what makes these rappers special, what sets them apart from everyone else. Pay special attention to wordplay, alliteration, metaphors, and metrics. However, it’s crucial not to copy anyone. Take the ideas that you like the most, and interpret them with your own style.
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