How To Write A Rap Song Without Getting Writer’s Block
In today’s article we’re going to show you how to write a rap song, in full, without getting writer’s block.
If you’ve wanted to learn how to write a rap song without slowing down your process, getting frustrated, or even wanting to give up rap all together, this is the article for you.
Before we begin, be sure to also subscribe to our YouTube channel (by clicking HERE) where we give weekly tips on how to rap with a visual component…
…And if writer’s block is your BIGGEST issue in learning how to write a rap song, be sure to check out our Writer’s Block course by clicking HERE.
How To Write A Rap Song: Order
The first and most important lesson you’ll learn in this article is understanding that you don’t have to write the song in a linear – or straight order.
In fact, many of the greatest songs and songwriters of all time in other genres than just rap – The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and so on – would come up with a chorus or a bridge and then ADD it to other verses later on.
Another way of thinking of this is like movies. When they make a movie, they don’t shoot each scene that you see in the finished product IN order…
…They might shoot two scenes in one location that are on opposite ends of the movie to save money or to maintain a certain tone or whatever…
…Or in your case as a songwriter, you can write different sections at different times in order to cut down on the chances your mind will go blank with writer’s block.
When I was first learning how to rap, I would write songs in the order that the song would be played…
…In other words, write the first verse first, the chorus second, the second verse second, and so on.
While this is a useful method when you are JUST starting off because it forces you to create based on the set structure of the beat…
…As you begin to write more and more and want to write MORE songs… faster… you begin to realize that you might catch inspiration for a section of the song that ISN’T in the set order of the beat.
To use a common example, let’s say you hear a beat that is programmed in a way that has the first verse begin the song and the chorus come second.
As you are listening to the beat, you start humming a melody that you BELIEVE sounds like an amazing chorus.
Now, if you are following the “linear, in order” format of writing… you might think “Well that melody would be a GREAT chorus BUT I can only write the rap song in ORDER… so I will have to FORCE that chorus melody in the verse”.
So, you end up putting what would have been a GREAT chorus melody as the start of your verse, and then by the time you get to the chorus…
…You are now forced to think of ANOTHER melody to “fit in” to the chorus section of the song.
Times like these are where you end up getting writer’s block.
Write Whatever’s Easiest
What I would suggest is practice writing WHATEVER section you think of first in full, RECORDING it (or memorizing it)…
And THEN filling in the other parts after you’ve completed the section.
To explain this further, when people ask me questions like, “Which should I write first, the verse or the chorus?”
I always respond to them that they should write whatever comes first in your creative inspiration when hearing the beat, precisely BECAUSE it will lower the chances you will get writer’s block.
Write whatever comes easiest for you first.
Using Song Structure To Break Writer’s Block
Part of the reason you end up getting writer’s block is because you feel like there has to be a FIXED way that you’re supposed to write the rap.
So, if you THINK that the song is SUPPOSED to have a bridge… you might stop your songwriting creative flow to FORCE yourself to think of a bridge…
…Because you think you HAVE to.
This is NOT the case. You should feel absolutely FREE to mix and match different sections of the song based on what you think the most catchy (or even EASY to write) parts would be.
One of these easiest ways to do this is listen to the beat and determine which sections of the song you think the producer who MADE the beat wants you to perform in.
So for example, you might hear a beat for the first time and practice identifying whether it starts with a chorus or a verse.
The easiest way to know whether it’s a chorus is if all of the instruments present in the beat are playing at once… and it repeats.
This is usually an indication that the producer wants this to be the chorus because it is the most uplifting, engaging part of the song – as indicated by the large number of instruments – and so the producer has put all the parts of the beat there.
Additionally, in 75% (or more) of songs, the chorus section repeats at least twice, so if you hear a section with ALL of the instruments playing at once that repeats at least twice, it’s usually the chorus.
Furthermore, verses tend to be longer than choruses, so you can usually determine which part of the beat is the verse by determining which section of the song is the longest… and comes before the chorus.
Because most songs have a basic verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure… you can find out either the verse OR the chorus first and then fill in the gaps from there.
Now, there are other less common sections of the song you might consider such as a bridge or an intro… which we won’t discuss super in-depth in this article but if you’re interested in learning about that, consider checking out our 4-hour songwriting masterclass on this subject by clicking HERE.
Write – Record Method
The last secret trick I’d like to give you is the “write-record” method of writing your rap songs.
As we’ve already covered: you don’t need to write the song in the order that it will be heard in.
To take this a step further, you also don’t have to RECORD the song in the order that it will be heard in.
One great way to cut down on writer’s block is to write the sections that come easiest to you creatively… then RECORD them…
And listen back to them, now recorded on the track, then fill in the other sections that are left.
As example, let’s say you hear a beat and you immediately think of a dope chorus.
I would suggest that you WRITE that chorus down, in full…
…And then RECORD that chorus.
Now, you are ready to write the verse… but because you have a CHORUS already recorded (and likely repeated twice)… you only have 1/2 or 2/3 of the song left to do…
…So that when you are writing your verse, the song is no longer a full track that is a HUGE mountain to climb…
…Which adds to a feeling of overwhelm that leads to writer’s block…
…You can just tell yourself, “I already have this dope chorus, all I need to do is write a quick couple verses and then song’s done!”
On the flip side, you might have trouble thinking of a CHORUS (a common issue with rappers and writer’s block)…
…So why not just write VERSE 1… record it… then write verse 2… record it…
And THEN when you listen back to the track, ALL you have to do is write a chorus?
So, the write-record method can also help cut away at writer’s block by allowing you to “trick your mind” to believing the song is already half way done and won’t feel as overwhelming.
Let’s review some of the key concepts we learned today:
You don’t have to write the song in the order that it’s listened to
Write whatever section comes most naturally first
Use the beat’s original structure to help guide your sections
Consider recording each section the minute it’s written to feel like the song is getting done faster
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