3 Rap Songwriting Tricks To Sound Professional

3 Rap Songwriting Tricks To Sound Professional

Today, we’re going to switch things up a little bit and give you some rap songwriting tricks in the form of a checklist that you can always return to that way you can make sure you’re using all of the songwriting techniques that will help guarantee your new rap song is a banger.

The reason we’re doing in this in a checklist format is so that you can always come back to this article and make sure that your track is solid before even releasing it…

And that the fans will LOVE what they’re hearing the minute you start playing it…

Rather than wasting money throwing dollars at promotion when the songwriting techniques are off in your track!

Our “3 Rap Songwriting Tricks To Sound More Professional” YouTube Video!

Rap Songwriting Trick #1 – Voice Tone Change Every 4-8 Bars

You probably already know that the modern attention span of your potential fans is getting smaller and smaller.

Some studies have even said that the average person’s attention span these days is as low as a EIGHT seconds.

Now, if you want to avoid the chance of your fan clicking over to another song, one of the best ways to increase listener retention is to have a noticeable voice change every 4-8 bars.

(Retention is a 5 dollar word which means continued possession or hold of something. In this case, you are continuing to possess [or hold] the audience’s attention) 

Now, the two keys to this trick are as follows: 

A) You can keep the same words or even melody and just CHANGE your voice 

If you look at a track like Joey Badass’ “Devastated”. The chorus is technically just a 4-bar “scheme” repeated twice… totaling in 8 bars: 

I used to feel so devastated

At times I thought we’d never make it

But now we on our way to greatness

And all that ever took was patience

I-I-I-I used to feel so devastated

At times I thought we’d never make it, yeah

But now we on our way to greatness

And all that ever took was patience

The major key difference that makes this chorus feel “bigger” or “longer” is that he does a distinctly strong vocal change when the beat drops for bars 5-8. This is an expert example of great advanced songwriting techniques.

One simple way to accomplish this is…

B) Look for strong changes in the beat to indicate it’s time to change your voice

In the case of Joey Badass, when the beat drops, the music has increased intensity, so his VOICE has increased in intensity as well… 

This is an EXTREMELY crucial skill to develop if you want to make the jump from average rapper to advanced artist.

Literally EVER major artist uses this trick on almost every song…

They don’t let beat changes go by without some sort of vocal change to mirror the music.

Rap Songwriting Tricks Joey
Joey Badass – “Devastated”

Rap Songwriting Trick #2: Record two ad-lib tracks all the way through and then edit them

This is a How To Rap Exclusive only trick we’re giving you here right now.

Many of you at this point know that one of my closest friends is Purps of 808 Mafia who most recently was at the helm of Juice Wrld’s “Death Race for Love” album. 

Purps himself also co-produced my last album which we recorded in Berlin, Germany and London, U.K.

In any case, when we first started recording together, after we had completed our first song, I was about to take my headphones off when he said…

“Alright time for your ad-libs tracks”

“Ad-lib TRACKS?” I said.

“Yeah… do one ad-lib track all the way through just saying whatever… and then do ANOTHER one more melodic all the way through and then we’ll just cut up what we like.”

Now I have been doing ad-libs for over 15 years and it’s basically an essential part of rap skills at this point…

But I had never heard of doing two tracks all the way through and then actually CHOOSING which ones sound the best. Songwriting techniques like these are what I live for.

The advantages for this method are first, you know that not every single ad-lib has to be PERFECT…

Which can stop a lot of artists in their tracks or even make artist say things like, “I HATE doing ad-libs” which I’ve definitely heard in the past…

AND it allows you the creative freedom to experiment with your ad-libs a bit more since you know you’ll have two full songs worth of ad-libs to work with. 

Ad-libs are absolutely crucial for filling out the “dead-space” within your song, especially if your beat is rather simple… 

Which production these days tend to be. 

NOTE: Now we before roll into our last tip, I want to let you know if you want a more in-depth song structure and beat selection tutorial, the best place is to check out this link by clicking HERE. Once you enter your email address, you’ll get a free full length BOOK just for looking at the tutorial information, and my personal travel around the world mobile studio that I used to record while on tour! 

Songwriting Techniques Purps
One of my main homies Purps

Rap Songwriting Trick #3: Make Songs For Targeted Demographics

This is more of a conceptual point as far as songwriting techniques but it’s so crucial I couldn’t let it go by.

What I mean by this is most beginner to intermediate rappers make the mistake of trying to be “all things to all people on all songs”.

So, their “single” for their album sounds like a super rappity-rap masterclass in “BARS” and their storytelling “MC track” has a chorus that sounds like it belongs on a single.

Their track for the ladies is too over-rapped, and their track for the streets has an understated jazz beat, etc. These are NOT what I would consider advanced songwriting techniques…

The point here is that you should be hyper-targeting your audience more with your songwriting. 

If you are doing a “single” that is meant to increase exposure for your project to a LARGE audience, then you need to make it much simpler than your “bars bars bars” track. 

A LARGE audience includes young people, females, causal fans, etc. a.k.a. a host of people that aren’t trying to listen to an L.A. leakers freestyle that just happens to have a hook.

On the other hand, if the fourth or fifth song on your project is specifically designed to get the streets involved, or fans of straight bars…

Choose the most disgustingly scrunch-faced beat you can find and get medieval with the lyrics, as Ving Rhames in Pulp Fiction would say.

Rap Songwriting Tricks Ving
“I’m About To Get Medieval!”


Let’s review the main ideas here: 

Rap Songwriting Trick #1 – Voice Tone Change Every 4-8 Bars

Increase audience retention by changing your voice tone early and often. Let the beat guide you for where you need to switch. 

Rap Songwriting Trick #2: Record two ad-lib tracks all the way through and then edit them.

Give yourself more creative freedom by doing full length ad-lib tracks and choosing the best sections from them for the final track. Fill out the track with ad-libs.

Rap Songwriting Trick #3: Make Songs For Targeted Demographics

Stop making songs that are trying to appeal to everyone at once. Make your street bangers grungy and your pop songs catchy.

Which rap songwriting trick will you use first (now that you know it)?

Comment Below: 

Drew Morisey, @drewmorisey on Instagram and Twitter

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