Following on from our article from a couple of week’s back on how to make music that stands out I thought we could explore what it takes to make a good rap song today. I’ve been thinking about it for a while because I get a LOT of rap songs in my email. Like I’ve mentioned here before, rap is the music that most young males want to make. It’s what most of their current musical idols do; and it’s (comparatively) easy to make.
Rapping well though is not as easy as some would think. Here are five things to think about next time you step into the booth. How to rap well:
1. Be yourself. This, for some odd reason, is something young artists really struggle with. No one wants to hear a “Ugandan Drake” or (Lord help us) a “Ugandan Lil’ Wayne”.
2. Develop a unique style. This takes time and patience and requires friends who tell you the truth, not what they think you want to hear.
3. Don’t take yourself too seriously. This doesn’t mean you should become a joke rapper, but a having good sense of humor and a little self-deprecation will take you far.
4. Stop with the beef. No one cares. Trust me.
5. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. In the 90s everyone was in awe of Biggie because it was rumored that he never wrote anything down, he just entered the booth and rapped. Every rapper from Jay-Z to Lil Wayne followed suit and now everyone does it, or at least pretends they do. The practice of re-writing (which, if you think about it, is really just refining) has almost disappeared. We are stuck with rapper’s first ideas which, let’s be honest, are often not their best. If you want to become a better rapper, the next time you work on a song, write down your original idea and then set it aside. Allow yourself to forget it. If it feels stale when you pick it up after a few days, it is highly likely that we your eventual audience will tire of it just as quickly.