How To Develop A Great Rap Voice: Your FIRST Lesson
In today’s article we’re going to provide you with your VERY first lesson on developing a great rap voice.
If you’ve just started rapping or are a relative beginner in the art of learning how to rap, this will be a great article for you to get an overview of the practices, skills, and long-term benefits of having an amazing rap voice.
Additionally, if you’re interested in getting to an advanced level in ALL of your abilities in rap, be sure to subscribe with notifications to our “How To Rap” YouTube channel where we’ll provide you with weekly tips on how to rap by clicking HERE…
…And be sure to pick up our free songwriting course, “The Top 20 Songwriting Secrets of Full-Time Rappers” if you’re considering launching a professional career in rap music by clicking HERE.
Lesson #1: Rap Voice CAN Be Improved
The first thing you need to know is that your rap voice CAN improved over time.
The most common concern I hear from new rappers on this website is that they “don’t like their rap voice” and that they’re scared they can NEVER improve it.
Most often this someone who feels like their voice isn’t STRONG enough or doesn’t interact with the beat in a “slick” manner, and so even if their rhymes or songs are good, this person feels like they’ll never be a good rapper because they don’t like their voice.
Now, there’s two sides to the concern that I’d like to discuss:
A) You CAN Improve Your Rap Voice
Whether it’s a matter of deepening the voice through repetition and focus attention or whether it’s learning “which voice to choose” for the beat, you CAN improve the ability to sound SLICK on a rap track…
…You just have to understand that it’s a skill like anything else. Think of it like going to the gym.
You might be a skinny little twig right now but your body is NATURALLY built WITH muscles, you just need to lift weights to activate the body and the muscles WILL show, because they’re on your body.
Similarly your voice DOES have deeper, slicker parts of it, you just need to help them “show” through practice and repetition.
Now, a great place to start improving INSTANTLY is checking out our “3 Instant Rap Voice Fixes” video by clicking HERE.
B) Your Voice Might Sound Better To Others
Just because you don’t like your voice doesn’t mean other people won’t. The ability to enjoy your voice is also a skill like anything else…
…And FURTHERMORE… sometimes people enjoy your voice at times when you don’t, just like when you get a compliment on a piece of clothing you’re wearing that YOU might not think is fresh but people randomly say, “That looks good on you”.
Don’t only trust your OWN opinion on your rap voice, play your music for others and see how they feel before you personally decide, “I HAVE A BAD RAP VOICE”.
Lesson #2: Delivery vs. Voice
There IS a difference between rap DELIVERY and rap VOICE or VOCAL TONE.
In lesson #1 we discussed the idea that you may not like your “rap voice” which usually revolves around not enjoying your personal tone or “timbre” of your voice.
Vocal tone has more to do with the placement of the voice overall, i.e., deep, high-pitched, raspy, etc.
Vocal DELIVERY is how you CHOOSE to use that tone to emphasize certain words and what to put attention on through the emphasis of your words.
Both of these components are important points of overall having great vocals as a rapper, but I want you to separate them in your mind so you know what to practice.
Now, in order to improve your DELIVERY specifically, let’s give you a quick tip in lesson #3…
Lesson #3: Focus On Adjusting Individual Words
The easiest way to improve your rap DELIVERY is to practice emphasizing certain words differently than others.
In English class in school, sometimes they call this “stressed syllables” vs. “unstressed syllables”.
So, for example… if I have a rap bar that goes, “Yo, my name is Drew”… I could emphasize the word, “YO” to bring attention to the beginning of the bar and make it feel like a command to the audience to listen up…
…Or more often, I would play with the emphasis on the word, “DREW” in other words the end of the bar or the rhyming word to add some musicality to the rhyming words of the rap.
That’s the real secret when it comes to rapping… because in rap (unless you’re using auto-tune), we don’t have musical NOTES throughout the rap to keep it interesting…
…We use word emphasis in a musical way in order to keep the words enjoyable for the listener.
The simplest way to do this is by playing around with the emphasis on RHYMING WORDS and WORDS AT THE END OF THE BAR.
Now, if you’re unfamiliar with words like, “bars” in the context of rap, be sure to pick up our free How To Rap dictionary where we’ll provide you hundreds of definitions for rap words by clicking HERE.
Lesson #4: Practice Writing In Your Breaths
Another extremely important trick to learn about rap voice revolves around breathing.
We hear a lot of complaints from beginning rappers that they run out of breath or they feel tired before the end of the bar when spitting out what they’ve written…
…and this has to do with the fact that they’re not taking into account times to breath when they’re WRITING their raps.
In other words, you should be practicing PRE-WRITING your breaths into your raps before you have to write them.
If you listen to your favorite rapper, most often what they’re doing is taking strategic pauses in their verse to TAKE A BREATH even by the way the rap is constructed.
Now, because the rap is perfectly in rhythm and the “flow” is on beat… it doesn’t sound out of place, but the important thing to remember is that the rapper has CONSIDERED before hand that they’re going to need to take a breath…
…And this is something else you’ll need to consider as you’re learning to write your raps with voice in mind.
Lesson #5: “Punching-In”
What about the times in which the rapper’s bars flow into each other for so long that there’s clearly no space to breath, like some parts of Eminem’s “Rap God”, etc.?
In this case, what the rapper is doing is recording THE FIRST PART of the rap in the recording software…
…And then PICKING UP WHERE THEY LEFT OFF as they record so that it seamlessly SOUNDS like they never took a breath…
…But what they really did was RECORD TWO SEPARATE vocal performances and then “spliced them together”.
In rap terminology, this is known as a “punching in”. Again, be sure to pick up the free How To Rap Dictionary for more in-depth discussion on this point.
In any case, the main idea here is that you can ALSO improve your rap voice and delivery by using recording “tricks” such as punching-in to give the appearance that you haven’t run out of breath…
…Or to do multiple versions of your rap voice until you find one you like and then “splice” them together…
…To have the best chance of having a GREAT vocal performance when it comes to rapping.
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