Eminem Teaches How To Start Rapping In 5 Steps
“Why did I become who I was? First I was a fan of the music, before I even thought about rapping.
LL cool J was the one who made me first start writing rhymes. I was like 12, 13 maybe.
And it sucked, I wasn’t good, but I had to keep practicing, practicing, and practicing.
I gave it up for a little while then I started up again when I was like 15. Started be able to kind of put songs together, and then I was like, I’m starting… I was never really good at much else.
Once I found out I was decent at something, I just kind of focused and went for it.”Eminem, Hotboxing Podcast, 2020
In this clip, Eminem has unknowingly (and humbly) provided us with a priceless gem of knowledge into what to expect if you’re somebody wonders how to start rapping:
#1 Nobody Starts Off Good
Certainly, if the highest selling rapper of all time, clocking in at a whopping 227 million units sold, is telling you HE wasn’t good at first and and that HE needed to keep practicing…
…Why should anyone else think they won’t need to practice as well?
Why would anyone think they need to be “born with it”?
As we’ll see in a minute, Eminem doesn’t just stop here in explaining how to rap.
He is about to give timeless insights into the art of how to start rapping…
But for step #1, it’s crucial to understand this:
When you hear somebody in person or in a comment box say something like, “You’re either born with it or you’re not…” or “You can’t teach talent…”
Understand now that even some of the greatest rappers of all time don’t agree with that.
Artists like Shady humbly understand that rapping at an elite world-class level is DIFFICULT and not something easily come by.
Additionally, you might have missed another secret window into the life of a beginning rapper embedded in the quote that started this article.
Let’s run back the tape:
#2 You Can Always Start Back Up
“I had to keep practicing, practicing, and practicing.
I gave it up for a little while then I started up again when I was like 15.
I was afraid to put out there, I was afraid to say my raps because I felt like I wasn’t good enough. So I had to get to a certain spot.
Once I found out I was decent at something, I just kind of focused and went for it. I was all-in.”Eminem, Hotboxing Podcast, 2020
Similarly to step #2, Eminem sneaks in another gem here that many people seem to go by: he actually GAVE UP for a little way but then came back to it.
What was the difference maker between Eminem and just another “bedroom rapper” as we like to call them?
He actually came back to what he started.
How many people do you know (or maybe that person is yourself) who have “dabbled” in writing rhymes or making a song or two, and then went back to their normal life?
Probably a lot. The hardest part of that is usually not starting…
But actually COMING BACK once you’ve begun.
There’s no problem with being nervous in the beginning.
In fact, Shady said that he was scared to put anything out until he PERSONALLY felt confident about what he was kicking…
…But he DID eventually put something out.
But Shady in this clip has unknowingly described the secret sauce to had to deal with this hurdle:
You must, must, must come back.
And don’t just come back, once you start again… keep practicing, practicing, and practicing.
#3 Practice Writing Full Songs
“Started be able to kind of put songs together… I was never really good at much else.
When I started being able to put songs together… you know, figuring out…
Well, I might be ALMOST as good as that rapper… so I’ma keep going and then I start… I learned so much…”Eminem, Hotboxing Podcast, 2020
There are even successful mainstream artists that can’t “write a song to save his or her life” as we like to say.
Clearly the highest selling rapper of all-time is not in that came. The art of songwriting is an integral part of becoming a professional-level rapper as opposed to someone who can just impress their friends at a house party.
If you need to learn how to convert your random verses into actual songs, an excellent jumping off point is learning “The Top 20 Songwriting Secrets of Professional Rappers” in our free video course by clicking HERE, which is based on almost a decade of coaching rappers from around the world on how to go from amateur to making a full-time income from rap…
But as a window what you’ll learn both in that free course and from Shady, check out what he has to say about starting off your “rap as songwriting” journey:
“When I write my songs, the formula for writing my songs is pretty simple I write the verses, and then I just sum up the verses with a hook… but my delivery and the way things across the mic is perfect, I make sure my stuff is perfect so I can listen to it a million times and not find a flow in it”Eminem Interview
Now, for the newer readers, a “hook” is just another phrase for the chorus. If you want to learn all of the industry standard terms, we’ve also compiled a How To Rap dictionary with every essential term a rapper needs to know which you can pick up by clicking HERE…
However, the important thing to understand is how the chorus is like the “campaign slogan” for a politician… but for the song.
When you think of Obama, you think of “hope” or “yes we can”… when you think of Trump, you think of “Make America Great Again”, and so on…
…The chorus is sort of like that, but in this case… the song is the politician, and the chorus is the slogan.
Focus on crafting songs and not just verses… and you’ll improve your ability to learn how to start rapping.
#4 Search For Mentors
“One day I got a call from my boy Proof and he was like, ‘Yo you need to come up to the Hip-Hop shop’ he was like, writing something, and come up here… now Proof… he ran sh*t in Detroit… he started making connections and he met J. Dillla… he was like ‘I’ll clear everybody out, I’ll have like 10 people… you rap in front of them, and if they don’t like you, they’re gonna tell you they don’t like you… so I went there, I said the rap, I got some people jumping around and that when I was like, okay… maybe I can do this”Eminem, Hotboxing Podcast, 2020
This is another great insight for people who want to learn how to start rapping.
You HAVE to grow to be comfortable with performing in front of others.
Now, in the case of Shady, it isn’t like he starting going public the minute he wrote his first or even third verse. In fact, as we’ve already seen it took him some time to get comfortable…
But he was eventually able to gain the confidence to perform and more importantly, he wasn’t afraid of having a “mentor” like Proof to guide him along the way.
How many rappers do you know (again, this might be you) who seem to egotistical to be told to perform when the opportunity presents itself?
I know I’ve been that way for sure. I remember one time I refused to perform at a live show with a “friend” of mine at the time who ended up becoming Diddy’s personal DJ.
But that’s a story for another article. Be sure to hit the like button on our YouTube training above if you’d like to hear that. But look, I missed opportunity and Shady didn’t. Take this clip as a remind to be humble enough to search for mentors, and when they show up…
#5 Learn Your Way Around A Battle
We’ve called step #5 “learn your way” around a battle because we’re not sitting here saying that in order to start rapping you NEED to diss people or become a battle rapper.
However, much like we have to accept that Eminem got his start in rapping by not being good and practicing, we have to accept the fact that for EMINEM SPECIFICALLY, learning how to battle was a BIG difference maker:
“We started having battles at the Hip-Hop shop… but every Saturday, I would make sure that I didn’t have to work to 4PM, so every Saturday for me, and this was my early 20s… that’s what happened, I started battling and then the Hip-Hop shop, the first battle that we had there, I won it”Eminem, Hotboxing Podcast, 2020
So look, what you should really take away from this is you NEVER know what is going to happen when you aren’t afraid to step up, start back up again if you took a break, and if you search out connections with the right people.
I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of videos that say these basic pieces of advice like “never give up” or “keep practicing”, but when you really sit down and look at the evidence from the greatest rappers of all time…
…Rather than just reading an article, you understand that these pieces of advice come from a specific place that is meant to help you. If you want more step-by-step training tailored to your skill level, again check out the free courses HERE and HERE…
But now we want to see you in the comments below.