How To Write A Rap Diss (Step-By-Step)
In this article, we’re going to teach you how to write a rap diss, step-by-step.
Even better, we’re actually going to have you CREATING the blueprint for your own rap diss right here, right now by guiding you through each item.
The best part? To make this process even easier, each rap diss tip will come with examples from some of the “flawless victories” in rap diss history:
Nas’s “Ether”, Eminem’s “Killshot”, Pusha T’s “The Story of Adidon”, and Drake’s “Back To Back”.
So without further ado, get your notes app or notes pad out, and get ready to learn how to write a rap diss, step-by-step.
NOTE: Before we begin, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel “How To Rap” because we drop weekly step-by-step trainings how to write a rap on any topic, how to write rap songs in full, and much more by clicking HERE…
…And if you’re super serious about creating a full rap diss song for the purposes of a battle, be sure to pick our “Rap Battle Bootcamp” free bonus course by clicking the page HERE.
How To Write A Rap Diss: Introduction
As we were doing research for this article, one thing we noticed after all these years of rapping and listening to great rap disses…
…Is that pretty much EVERY single “flawless victory” classic rap diss was actually a RESPONSE to an initial insult.
Think about it:
Nas’s “Ether” was a response to Jay-Z’s “Takeover”
Pusha T’s “Story of Adidon” was a response to Drake’s “Duppy Freestyle”.
“Killshot” by Eminem was a response to “Rap Devil” by MGK…
…And even “Back To Back” was essentially a response to the tweet that Drake “doesn’t even write his own songs” by Meek Mill.
With this in mind as we begin the steps, try your best to “use your powers for good” and once you know how to write a rap diss in a fire way…
…Save your biggest punch as a response.
It will both make you look better because you’ll be able to play the “I didn’t want to have to do this card” (which we’ll talk about in tip #3), thus looking like the “bigger man” or “bigger woman”…
…And we’ve just pointed out in cold, hard fact… the masses usually respond better to a FIREY response record than to the first so-called “knockout punch”.
#1 “Let Me Explain Why You Failed At Life”
This first tip is really The Holy Grail of understanding how to write a rap diss.
Without mastering the ability to clearly state why your opponent “failed at life” in some way, shape, or form, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to annihilate them, or as we say now… ETHER them.
So, your first major goal in any rap diss is to make sure the audience has NO doubt whatsoever that the other person is a FAILURE at life…
Whether that be their career, their relationships, how they look, and more.
Now, in a minute we’ll have you constructing your own rap disses using this tip, but just to make it clearer, let’s look at some example of rap battle history:
In a somewhat ironic fashion, both Pusha T’s “The Story of Adidon” towards Drake and Drake’s “Back To Back” follow a similar “you’re a failure as a man, you’re a failure at life” structure.
In the case of “The Story of Adidon”, the entire point of the song is that Drake is a prideful, insecure LIAR who would go so far as to deny his own son’s existence, with lines like:
Let’s have a heart-to-heart about your pride…
Your music for the last few years been angry and full of lies…
A baby’s involved, it’s deeper than rap
We talkin’ character let’s keep with the facts
YOU ARE A HIDING A CHILD, let that boy come homePusha T, “The Story of Adidon”
Now there are also other “you’re a failure at life” lyrical through lines in the song, such as the idea Drake hasn’t looked out for his mother and father…
But let’s move onto how Drake himself actually used a similar “you’re not a real man” structure for Meek Mill:
“You love then, you gotta give the world to her
Is that a world tour or your girl’s tour?
I know that you gotta be a thug for her
This ain’t what she meant when she told you to open up more”Drake, “Back To Back:
I can’t lie, both Pusha T’s “hiding a child” and “open up more” lines still make make laugh until this day.
Anyway, in Drake’s case he is saying Meek failed at life by having his woman “wear the pants in the relationship” by being the headlining act rather than Meek.
Rap Diss Tip #1 Action Steps
Now it’s your turn. Let’s give you a 3-step structure to creating the lyrical framework for your rap diss.
Step #1 Get Out A Notes App or Notebook And Think Of An Opponent
Take a second to think of somebody you want to diss. It could be a real person OR to make this easy, just pick a famous rapper or influencer. Shoot, it could be me if you like.
Step #2 Write 1-5 and Career, Relationships, Money, Skills, and Looks
These are the five most common “angles” to a rap diss. Usually you’re coming at how they look, such as the “you think you getting girls now ‘cause of your looks?” Diss in Ether, or you’re dissing their skills such as the “you dress better, I rap better” line in Killshot, and so on.
So list these angles out.
Step #3 Create A “You Failed” Angle For Each of Them
After finishing this article, create a “you failed at life” angle for each of the five.
Again, for example let’s say you’re using me, as dissing me as a rap coach…
You could write something: “Career – Less Than 500K after 8 Years” and your disses could be built around the idea that we don’t even have 500K subscribers and we’ve been doing or YouTube channel for 7 years! Haha, or something like that.
In any case, the lesson here from the greatest rap disses ever is that you MUST establish in the audience’s mind that your opponent IS NOT A SUCCESS in some form.
Now, if making your concept “rhyme perfectly” is a big problem, in addition to the Rap Battle Bootcamp, our course HERE also comes with an “Infinite Rhyme Maker” free bonus course as well to help you come up with an infinite number of rhymes for anything, so check that out by clicking HERE.
#2 Question Structure – “Why Do You Act This Way?”
Another extremely common through-life between these legendary rap disses is using the framing of question to give the diss:
- Argumentative Tone
- Humorous Confusion
In other words, often building on the “you’re a failure” outlook of the rap diss… you want to ask them in an almost comical from, “Why do you act this way? WHY ARE YOU SO DUMB?”
Take a look at some of the questions Eminem asks MGK on “Killshot” about his “Rap Devil” diss and subsequent video:
“You dress better I rap better
(Was) that a death threat or… or LOVE letter?”
“Are you eating cereal or oatmeal?
What the f**k’s in the bowl, milk? Wheaties or Cheerios?
‘Cause I’m taking a s**t in them”Eminem, “Killshot”
Hilarious. Em is questioning WHY ON EARTH ARE YOU EATING FOOD IN YOUR DISS SONG?
And of course, why did you give me so many compliments in a DISS?
Again: “WHY DO YOU ACT THIS WAY?”
Nas uses a similar framing through “Ether” against Jay-Z, both mentioning that Jay-Z has “been on his d**k” and calling Hov an outright “fan” who would call Nas’s phone.
Furthermore, he directly questions why Jay-Z would have so many negatively skewed songs about chicks, probably referencing “Song Cry”, “Soon You’ll Understood” and others, asking:
“You seem to be only concerned with dissin’ women
Were you abused as a child? Scared to smile?
They called you ugly?”Nas, “Ether”
So here we another example of the “what would possess to do XYZ in your failed life?” Framing, and it all comes off quite funny when pose it as a question, as if to say “I’m genuinely confused way you act like such a lame.”
Rap Diss Tip #2 Action Steps
For this quick training, go back to your notes.
Step #1 Pick One Of The “You Failed” Angles
So look down at take one of the “you failed at this: angles.
In our example dissing me, you might have “Career – Less Than 500K”
Step #2 Think of A “Why Do You Act This Way?” Question
Think of a question you might ask your opponent – “the failure at life” about why they are doing this failing behavior.
So in my example, you might say…
“7 years in, don’t you see your name ain’t buzzing?
You ain’t scored a million yet, because the game ain’t subbing”
Or something to that effect, playing on the “substitution, buzzing in, scoring” metaphor like basketball.
Okay, so take a second to think of YOUR version of a question.
Step #3 Have At Least 3 Questions In Your Rap Diss
This last step again can be done after the video, but I highly suggest you have at least THREE questions in this form in your rap diss.
They pack a powerful punch (no pun intended) and when spread out… they will not be noticed as a “tactic”.
Re-listen to “Ether” and “Killshot”, they both have at least 3 questions in some form and it doesn’t FEEL like they are only filled with this technique.
#1 “I Didn’t Want To Have To Do This”
The last major framework for your diss essentially builds on the “I’m the bigger man” or “bigger woman” context we discussed in the beginning.
It’s the idea that YOU as the more successful person out of the two people in the diss…
Have MORE IMPORTANT things to do than diss this person. It really helps to give the feeling that your opponent is some a little annoying insecure failure who is bothering you for some dumb reason (again look at how Eminem talks about MGK or Nas talks about Jay-Z on their songs).
Even Drake does a solid job of exemplifying this when he says early in “Back To Back”:
“You gon’ make me step out of my f**kin’ frame…
You gon’ make me go out of my f**kin’ way…”
And ending the song with “We took a break from Views, now it’s back to that”Drake, “Back To Back”
As if to say, “I didn’t want to have to put you in your place I have other things to do, but since you bothered me, I have to do this…”
Drake attempted a similar angle on his “Duppy Freestyle” with the line, “Don’t push me when I’m album mode / You’re not even top 5 as far as your label talent goes…” but in the broader context of the battle that didn’t land as hard.
Nas also spends essentially the entire third verse of “Ether” talking to Jay-Z like his SON whose father is teaching him a lesson…
Going so far as to literally called Jay “his child, I watched you grow to be famous… I smile like a proud dad watching his only son that mad it…”
Rap Diss #3 Action Step
And for this last training, what we want you to do is list out some things in your life that you COULD be doing instead of battling this “failure at life” you’re talking to.
This one is rather simple: list out 3 things you COULD be doing instead of battling them.
Don’t think for a second that those things even have to be “cool” or better, either…
You could create a quite funny bar about how you “could be playing Madden / instead of listening Drew trying to coach how do the lamest rapping” or whatever, to use our example.
So, take a second to think of three things you COULD be doing instead of battling.
How To Write A Rap Diss Conclusion
So tying it all together, the most important thing for you to remember is that YOU ARE THE MORE IMPORTANT INDIVIDUAL going OUT of their IMPORTANT LIFE to death with a LOSER, haha.
- They might be a loser because their girlfriend is more of a “man” than they are (“Back To Back”)…
- They might be a loser because their ashamed of their own child and family (“The Story of Adidon”)…
- They might be a loser because they are a secret FAN bothering the GOAT (both “Ether” and “Killshot”)…
But the point is, your job is to establish in the audience’s mind WHY they’re a loser using these steps…
…And once the audience thinks your opponent’s a loser… they LOSE.