Rap Songwriting Beats

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Rappers use beats to give an idea of where their song is heading. Many have become iconic pieces.

OutKast released this track in 2000 to make a political statement about the Iraq War with its aggressive beats and vocal style, making a bold statement with every vocal note of their vocalist, Andre 3000.


Pre-choruses serve as a buildup or lift leading up to a song’s chorus, typically lasting four bars and with its own distinct rhythm from that of its verse section. Rappers frequently utilize pre-choruses in order to switch up the flow of their verse and let their audience know of impending changes in beat.

Eminem’s Godzilla song serves as an excellent example, with an eight-bar hook and 16 bars total in total due to repeating chorus rap verses.

This song is an incredible example of an intro song that can stand on its own and still engage an audience. With a heavy beat and vocals that are very aggressive, this track exemplifies where rap was 20 years ago and where it headed.

Verse 1

As a rapper, your first verse should set the scene for your song’s overall theme and be memorable to listeners. Make it count. A catchy hook should set an exciting mood while setting expectations about what follows in its wake.

Most rappers will utilize this opportunity to weave a tale or narrative with powerful wordplay and display their flow and diction.

Typically, rap verses consist of 16 musical bars. Pre-choruses typically run four bars before transitioning into choruses. You might consider including bar breaks as an added element for variety and to prevent monotonous singing from becoming tiresome over time; otherwise it can lead to ear fatigue.

Verse 2

The rap verse provides information leading up to the chorus (or hook), so it should be catchy and provide an overview of what the song is about. It may use melodic or rhythmic (rapping lyrics without melody), or both techniques simultaneously.

The song above includes 12 musical bars for its verse, followed by 8 more for its hook – this is typical for any rap song.

Q-Tip and Phife use drum set accented beats as the foundation for their rap music, placing rhymed syllables over accented beats for maximum impact. This technique shows how rappers can adapt their words to fit within an established rhythm in songs to produce unique sounds, as well as how fast speeds of rapping can still sound impressive without becoming unruly or disjointed.

Verse 3

Rap verses typically comprise 16 musical bars; one musical bar being counted out four times on the beat. If you want a better understanding of bars, please check this article out.

Rappers use lyrics to tell a story or shape the experience for listeners, and one effective method for doing this is through imagery. The best rappers can evoke specific visuals in their audience’s minds that bring their lyrics alive.

Eminem spits 12 musical bars before the hook or rap chorus comes in for 8 musical bars to give structure and flow to the song, followed by the transitional bridge or transition that adds emotion and helps keep listeners engaged with it all the way through to verse 4. This keeps listeners involved and engaged with it all the way to verse 4.

Verse 4

The rap verse is the core component of any rap song, often lasting 4 bars before leading into its chorus. Here, rappers provide details about what’s going on within the rap song itself and its topic; understanding this section of any rap song will provide additional knowledge about that topic for listeners.

Big Boi employs an even sixteenth-note motive in his rapping to harmonize with harmonic changes in music, choosing words and syllables that correspond with accented beats in rhythmic placements of accented beats, while adding nonsensical or inappropriate accents (as in line 4 “settle it for”) so as to accommodate his rhythmic motive. This technique is widely employed by rappers to emphasize their rhymes while creating a cohesive musical experience.

Verse 5

Rappers use rhyme to convey meaning and depth in their songs, such as when the last syllable of two lines rhyme, or more complex ones such as those found in Juice Wrld’s “Lucid Dreams.” Rhyming can range from something as simple as simple last syllable rhymes to complex ones like Juice Wrld’s “Lucid Dreams”.

Big Boi’s rapping can be seen to fall on even sixteenth notes, and his rhymed syllables match harmonic changes in the accompaniment. This is an unusual feature of rap music and suggests that Big Boi made an intentional attempt at harmonizing his lyrics with their backing music.

Lupe Fiasco is known for his propensity for creating complex images with words. On this track, his verse exemplifies this skill beautifully with clever wordplay that sends out a complex message about life and society.

Verse 6

Rappers can begin their verse by telling a story, detailing an experience, or sharing their emotions – this can help build rapport with listeners while shaping the ambiance of their song.

A typical rap verse contains 16 bars or beats; a bar can be defined as tapping your foot 4 times to the rhythm of a song.

Eminem (featured on Nicki Minaj) writes lyrics with 12 musical bars before transitioning into 8 musical bars of hook. Your chorus should set the mood for your entire song and should be catchy and melodic; here is where your writing skills should shine! You want your audience to leave buzzing when they hear your chorus!

Verse 7

The greatest rappers know how to use imagery to evoke vivid pictures in listeners’ minds and help them connect with the subject matter of the song, leading them to gain a deep comprehension of its lyrics.

Lupe Fiasco’s “Mural,” for instance, explores police violence as experienced by young Black people and how it impedes on their education and progression. His lyrics contain double meaning and poetic diction that makes this song one of the most unforgettable and impactful ever composed.

Musicality is another impressive aspect of this verse. He employs an even sixteenth-note rhythm throughout and lines so that accented syllables fall on beat with drumbeats; this creates a more cohesive tone while heightening emotional resonance in the verse – this technique is known as parallelism.

Verse 8

Rappers often utilize verses to tell their story and evoke an emotional response in listeners. Since it contains less instruments, this allows the rapper to focus more on his or her lyrics than usual.

Rap verses should be short and to the point; however, their length can depend on each rappers style and could range anywhere between 16 musical bars to 32 musical bars long.

Musical bars occur every time your foot taps four times to the beat, which most songs follow with 4/4 time signature. A rap song may follow this same rhythm with four bars that must always rhyme or dividable by four in every verse – though this rule does not always hold.

Verse 9

Rap music uses bars equalling 4 beats as its measure for counting verses. Most verses typically feature 16 bars. But there may be exceptions.

Drake’s song “In My Feelings” provides an outstanding example, wherein he references Moses parting the Red Sea and taking back Pharaoh’s children from Egypt. Additionally, he mentions biblical character Mordecai and Rastafarianism which is practiced by Bob Marley and Emperor Halie Selassie.

Em demonstrates an example of a speeded-up verse here; she speaks for 12 musical bars before her hook or rap chorus comes in for 8 more bars. If you want to learn more about song structure, Genius is an invaluable resource that breaks rap songs down into their component parts and can help explain how rap works.