10 Things You Should Know Before You Start Rapping

10 Things You Should Know Before You Start Rapping

In today’s article we’re going to do something a little different and provide you with 10 things I wish I knew when I started rapping…

…So that if you’re a beginning rapper or have interest in learning how to rap you know what to look out for and how to prepare. 

Now if you are interested in taking the leap to learn how to rap, be sure to subscribe with notifications to our YouTube channel, “How To Rap” by clicking HERE for free how to rap lessons twice weekly…

…And consider picking up our free full-length book: “Self-Made Classic: How To Drop A Great Project on A Tight Budget” to learn how to release your first music as a rapper from start to finish on an affordable budget. Get that by clicking HERE.

Our “10 Things You Should Know Before You Start Rapping” YouTube Tutorial!

1. Start Freestyling Immediately

I put this first because I did NOT start freestyle rapping… or in other words, spontaneously create rap on the spot… 

…For the first two or three years that I was rapping. 

The reason I think this was a bad idea was that I not only WANTED to be good at it since it’s such an impressive art to people, even folks who aren’t normally fans of Hip-Hop…

…But also in highly increased the speed with which I was able to think of rhymes and create new flow patterns on the spot.

I’ve been rapping for more than 15 years now so at this point I know how to freestyle rap, BUT… I wish I had learned it sooner, for sure.

(If you’re interested in learning how to freestyle rap in under 2 weeks, check out our course on that topic by clicking HERE)

2. Write In Song Form From The Very Beginning

Another thing that I didn’t do for the first year or so of rapping was format my raps into “song” form. 

Meaning that I didn’t practice adding choruses to my raps or having a clear subject matter as much as I should have. 

While this was again something that I implemented later on, I definitely struggled with creating good choruses and catchy song sections for longer than I needed to because I was writing verse after verse without any focused topic or clear chorus.

(If you’d like to learn more about song structure for professional rapping, click HERE to get a free course on that topic)

Rapping Recording
Record in full songs immediately

3. Start Rapping To Other People Immediately

It took me quite a while to get up the nerves to rap in front of other people, and the sooner I started the better I would have been for it.

At the end of the day, the first 10-15 times you rap in front of people it’s going to be a little nerve-wracking, there’s no way around that.

Much like going to the gym the first few times if you feel like you’re too skinny or too fat to be there. 

…But over time you become more comfortable in the environment and you build up reference experiences that you’re not “gonna die” when you go to the gym or in this case when you rap in front of other people.

With this in mind, I wish from day one I rapped in public as opposed to after like a year of doing it.

4. “Writers Are People Who Write. Rappers Are People Who Rap.”

This is a mentality that I gained after I felt like I was GOOD enough to call myself a “rapper”, but at first I felt like in order to be called a “rapper” you needed to sell millions of records and every person on the street, even homeless ones, had to have heard of you.

This is NOT the case. If you practice the art of rapping you can consider yourself a rapper. When someone says, “I’m a guitarist” you assume that means they can play the guitar and are usually in a band…

…But you don’t automatically assume they are Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin. Why should rap be any different?

5. You Don’t Have To Look A Certain Way To Start Rapping

Look, rap/Hip-Hop has many different styles and forms especially these days. When I was first starting I thought I had to be hard or menacing or swagged out or whatever in order to “become a rapper”

…When truth you can be any type of person you want to be as a rapper as long as you’re good.

I wish when I started rapping I had kept that in mind and not wasting years of my development trying to rap or look a certain way in order to get good. There are tons of nerdy rappers, educated rappers, hard rappers, street rappers, female rappers, white rappers, black rappers, and everything in between.

Don’t conform.

Rapping Meek
If you rap, you’re a rapper

6. Hip-Hop Has A Lot of Elitists, Don’t Get Discouraged

This doesn’t get talked about a lot but there are a lot of people, especially guys, who sit in their basement in Avirex hoodies and argue about Wu-Tang B-sides all day and hate anything that’s new or popular.

When I was first starting I felt like I had to please those people and so I made a lot of so-called “real rap” even if I didn’t feel like that was me at the time.

I definitely enjoy getting lyrical quite a bit but that’s not the ONLY type of music worth enjoying and I didn’t need to feel like I was only a GOOD MC because THOSE people enjoyed it…

7. There’s NOTHING Wrong With Making A Party or Pop Style Rap

This is another version of #6 but I wanted to make it separate because whereas #6 had more to do with a certain TYPE of rap fan’s judgment of me when I started…

…This has to do with how people PERCEIVE you when you make a mainstream style song.

You can be as lyrical as you want from a Nas level type MC to a Black Thought political rapper, or whatever…

…And you STILL may (and probably should) want to make the occasional party, club, or pop song…

…And you shouldn’t feel like that TAKES away from your lyrical cache. Certain types of music serves different purposes and just like I wouldn’t want to listen to a PARTY song when I’m feeling reflective…

…I wouldn’t want to listen to a HYPER LYRICAL song when I’m drunk trying to hook up with a girl.

Make a variety of songs for a variety of circumstances. 

8. Many Rappers Are Just Good Salesman As Opposed To Good Rappers

Another thing that happened when I was younger and just started rapping was I would get nervous about my own skills around rappers who were more successful financially or at the very least were more “BOISTEROUS” about their music…

…Whether or not I felt like their music was objectively BETTER.

This would often lead me to not “sell” my music as hard as I should or even perform as well as I could at events. 

This is a bad position to be in because then even if I’m BETTER than someone else, it doesn’t mean the people will know it if another rapper is playing psychological games.

I wish I had been more aware of the tricks rappers use to seem more confident and pushed harder to sell my music well. 

Rapper Yeezy
Don’t get intimidated by other rappers

9. Just Because Your Friends Like Your Rap Doesn’t Mean You’re Good

I still to this day put a LOT into what my FRIENDS think of my music, which can be good because my friends are super Hip-Hop heads, but also can LIMIT my range as an artist…

…Because I may end up only doing ONE kind of music or doubting a song because friends don’t like it. 

You need to get a WIDE ranging sample size of opinions in order to know just how good your tracks are… 

…That means people who you assume DON’T like your music, and if they like a song, that is probably a great sign. 

10. Make Music YOU Want To Hear Before Anyone Else

I’ll end with this because after 15+ years of rapping and a lot of accolades, I STILL tend to make songs I THINK people would like as opposed to music that I WANT to hear at times…

…So I’ll end with this because I personally want to remind myself and YOU reading this that at the end of the day when you’re too old or too tired to make anymore music…

…You want to be able to play it all back and be PROUD of what you’ve done.

Conclusion

Let’s review the 10 bullet points that we just discussed: 

1. Start Freestyling Immediately

2. Write In Song Form From The Very Beginning

3. Start Rapping To Other People Immediately

4. “Writers Are People Who Write. Rappers Are People Who Rap.”

5. You Don’t Have To Look A Certain Way To Start Rapping

6. Hip-Hop Has A Lot of Elitists, Don’t Get Discouraged

7. There’s NOTHING Wrong With Making A Party or Pop Style Rap

8. Many Rappers Are Just Good Salesman As Opposed To Good Rappers

9. Just Because Your Friends Like Your Rap Doesn’t Mean You’re Good

10. Make Music YOU Want To Hear Before Anyone Else



COMMENT: Which of the 10 things do you most relate to? Why?

Drew Morisey, @drewmorisey on Instagram and Twitter

4 thoughts on “10 Things You Should Know Before You Start Rapping

  1. Hey! I love your videos and how u teach for beginners. Do u think someone with asperger can rap? I have lots of ideas but when it comes to wrrite them down i dont know how to do it.

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