Just like singers and instrumentalists, rappers are musicians who need to practice consistently in order to get better at their crafts. Rappers are often vocal performers and songwriters who combine lyrical creativity with rhythmic accuracy, and this takes a lot of practice.
I often give consultation and reviews to independent artists who are looking to further their music careers, and tons of up-and-coming artists out there are rappers.
But the bad news (or good news for you, depending on where you land), is that many new rappers have a long way to go before being like one of the greats.
I often hear tons of young rappers who are doing it to have fun, but they also have the potential to be huge stars if that is what they want to do with their careers. Here are some of the things I've shared with them!
I say this often, and I won't hesitate to say it again, listen to your own voice! Not just when you're rapping around the house or in the car, but listen to it played back on a device!
Recording yourself is one of the quickest ways to expand on the things you like about your voice and tweak or totally get rid of the things you don't like.
It will be very weird at first; most people don't even like the sound of their own talking voice. But the more you practice this, the more you will slowly craft your voice into a sound that is truly special.
And more importantly, video recordings will show you things you may not know about your stage presence as you are performing your songs. Are you standing there awkwardly, or are you moving with the music?
There will be some things you won't be able to hear and improve without some outside ears and outside opinions. Get a friend or family member to sit in on your practice sessions every once and a while and ask them for honest, constructive feedback.
The less likely they are to sugarcoat, the better. More obviously, the higher their music skill level is, the better. The more ears, the merrier.
Here's a little warning about this tip, though. Music is a very subjective thing, so don't get too confused if you hear very conflicting feedback from different people.
Thanks to Youtube, you can watch countless hours of stars singing, teachers giving tips, and everyday hidden musical geniuses providing you with musical gems.
Looking for ways to warm up your voice better? Go to Youtube! Looking for cool ornamental runs, riffs, and adlibs you can incorporate into your singing style? Go to Youtube!
Looking for exclusive tips from the best singers in your particular genre? Chances are, you will find all of this on Youtube!
Hell, just watching reruns of shows like The Voice can be a productive form of market research if you can really soak in some of the performances and take the time to mimic what you hear.
Though they may seem like silly things that we did when we were younger, tongue twisters can be a useful tool for singers and rappers working on their ability to get through their lyrics faster.
It can help with your pronunciation, in particular when getting through a lyrical phrase where you're tempted to start slurring all the words. Some common tongue twisters you can play around with are listed below:
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
He would chuck, he would, as much as he could, and chuck as much wood
As a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood
One thing that can hinder your flow when it comes to rapping or singing through phrases is your breath support and control.
When you're practicing getting through your lyrics fast, ensure that you are supported with enough breath in between your phrases. Running out of breath too soon can cause you to lose the tempo and energy in your vocal delivery.
It is common for people to breathe in by sucking in the air in their stomach, but the proper way to breathe in involves the expansion of your midsection.
This allows getting a great amount of air that will allow you to rap or sing with less need for breathing at times that will negatively affect your phrasing and rhythmic flow.
Part of learning how to rap fast involves really getting in tune with the rhythmic flow of a song, measure for measure. A measure in music is the same thing as a bar.
Start by feeling the pulse of each measure, which is usually made up of quarter note pulses or the "1 2 3 4" feel in songs. Get your whole body involved in feeling that "1 2 3 4" in each bar.
Next, feel the subdivision, which will break down the eighth notes in each bar. That would be the "one and two and three and four and" in each bar. After that, feel the sixteenth notes in each bar.
When you get a confident feel for subdivisions, you will be able to switch up your flow by changing your rhythmic phrases almost effortlessly since you will understand how each subdivision works.
Related Post: What Is A Meter In Music?
It is important to be able to flow with a track no matter what the tempo will be while maintaining a steady beat. The best rappers have such great control of rhythm that they can spit their verses at all types of speeds while staying connected to the beat.
It's easy to practice your songs at a slower tempo without a steady beat from an instrumental or metronome keeping the pulse for you, so make sure you're taking the harder route in order to get the best results.
Youtube's playback speed setting option is one way to practice a song easily at a slower or faster consistent tempo. Play around with some of your favorite instrumentals and see how challenging it is to change the tempo.
You can practice singing your song at half the speed or even a fourth of the speed before challenging yourself to perform the lyrics at normal speed or twice the speed.
Related Post: Easy Freestyle Lyrics To Practice With
Don't stop at studying the music side of your skills. Creative writing without even thinking about the music is a crucial skill for all songwriters to have. You need to know how to have a way with words before getting to your melody sometimes.
Many songwriters write lyrics first and not melody first, focusing on the poetry and depth of a song, which can be seriously underrated in music, especially in today's music climate.
One of the most common things I hear about new rappers is that they are afraid to show different sides of the energy in their vocal inflection.
Not only do you want to switch up your rhymic flow in songs, but you also want to switch up your emotional energy depending on the song or section of the song. You don't want to be rapping in a monotone voice!
Some songs call for you to be hyped, while others call for you to be in a calm and almost whispered tone. Sometimes your energy can cause you to hit your higher range in your rap verse, while other songs may benefit from more bassy rap.
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her recent collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page. As an Amazon Associate, Yona Marie earns from qualifying purchases. Amazon and other affiliate products are recommended to genuinely help readers and keep this site up and running as well.