Rapping Mistakes To STOP Doing In 2021

Rapping Mistakes To STOP Doing In 2021

In today’s article, we’re going to go over the TOP rapping mistakes that you aren’t even aware that you’re making that are stunting your growth as a rapper. 

Now, this article isn’t going to point out the obvious mistakes…

…And the obvious mistakes are not writing often enough to get good…

…Or not practicing rapping out loud (in other words being a “textcee” and only WRITING without practicing rapping out loud)…

A lot of that stuff is already covered in our free songwriting course which you can access right now by clicking HERE… and I don’t want to repeat myself so, instead…

In today’s article we’re going to focus on the not-so-obvious mistakes that I have a feeling up-and-coming rappers are a making that NOBODY talks about…

…And that’s why this video is going to stand out from the many “rap tips” videos that you’ve seen before and by the end of it, you are definitely going to change something in your rap for this year and next year.

Our Newest YouTube training, “Rapping Mistakes In 2021”!

NOTE: Before we begin, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, “How To Rap” because we drop weekly videos on everything related to learning how to start and starting a full-time professional career…

Rapping Mistake #1: Chorus-Second For 50% of Your Songs

The first rapping mistake I see too many new artists making is to not have half or MORE of their song output begin with the chorus FIRST. 

Now of course, this is more of a suggestion than a RULE but you have to understand that rap listeners ears have matured a LOT in the last 2-5 years. 

Streaming services and (when we’re not locked down) festival performances have helped moved the listener to be uniquely attuned to hearing a “catchy” part of the song to start off. 

It should already go without saying that the first 30 seconds of the song are the most prime “REAL ESTATE” of your track…

…Partially because you are likely a NEW artist who needs to grab the audience’s attention QUICKLY to turn them into “insta-fans”…

…AND because the first 30 seconds of listening is how streaming services even GAUGE if they will count that play as a “stream” or if fans click away in the first 30 seconds, it will not even count as a stream.

So putting your “best flow forward” is absolutely crucial these days when it comes to the start of the song.

Chorus-First For Lyrical Rappers

Now, a lot of you might be a little bit more into the “lyrical variety” of rap and be influenced by more “bar-heavy” or storytelling-heavy rappers and that’s GREAT, we support that. 

However, even the more “lyrical” popular artists such as Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole often have a chorus-first mentality in their tracks. 

From a storytelling track like “Neighbors” to a lead-off intro like “KOD”, Cole is not afraid to drop the hook to jump off a track, regardless of how lyrical he decides to get…

…And almost instantly iconic songs like “DNA” and “Loyalty” from Kendrick start the track off with an epic chorus before getting into the lyricism of the verse. 

Do NOT let your penchant for lyricism deter you from becoming an expert songwriter. 

We BELIEVE here at How To Rap that you can “walk and chew gum at the same time”… 

…And the idea that “catchiness” and “lyricism” are two separate entities that can’t coexist is ridiculous. 

Don’t fall into the trap that you can only be a “lyrical” or “catchy” rapper and not both.

Chorus-First For Mainstream Rappers

On the other hand, it should go without saying that if you’re trying to go more mainstream, as in chart success, the chorus needs to be the preeminent piece of your music’s offering. 

Of the more popular songs of 2020 that have actually BLOWN a newer rapper up… 

…Most of them have a chorus first that hooks in new listeners to the artist, with the most major examples being “Mood” by 24kGoldn and “What’s Poppin” by Jack Harlow – both of which start with a chorus. 

Additionally, it should be needless to say that more established mainstream artists like Drake with his recent hit “Laugh Now, Cry Later” also begin their tracks with choruses often. 

In short, whether you’re going for storytelling, bars, or more pop mainstream success, your ability to have numerous chorus-heavy songs will only help to improve your chances of gaining notoriety.

We go more in-depth into proper song structure in our free songwriting course (which you can get by clicking HERE), so check that out.

Rapping Mistake #2: Overly Aggressive Studio Delivery 

This is a subtle point but rock with me. 

Essentially, back in the day in the early days of rap, high quality mic and recording quality wasn’t easily available to your average young person growing up learning how to rap…

…And the mics themselves even when you got on weren’t nearly as good. They couldn’t pick up some of the nuances of modern rap. 

With this in mind, rappers back in the day definitely both LEARNED how to rap and delivered their raps with a lot more AGGRESSION…

…Which sounded great at the time and delivered us some of the best rap music ever with aggression such as DMX, 2Pac, and so on.

It makes total sense – if you grew up rapping on the block, in the cyber, or at a block party…

…Your rap voice tone is going to evolve to fit that setting that you first started in. So, 1990’s style rap was more attuned to the setting that the rappers who grew up in the 1980’s would gain clout from. 

Technology Has Adjusted The “Vibe” 

However, these days, much like point #1… the rap listener’s ear has shifted and now due to the advances in technology…

…Microphones are much better and can pick up your voice much better, and many new rappers are learning how to rap directly in a studio and not on a block where they need to yell and scream. 

With this is mind, a rapping mistake that I see a lot of inexperienced new rappers making is being OVER-THE-TOP with their delivery which sounds really dated and try-hard to many listeners these days. 

This is NOT to say that you shouldn’t have aggressive songs and voices in your arsenal (you really SHOULD)…

…But if you are unable to deliver a smooth, relaxed vocal tone in a lot of your songs, you’re going to run into trouble. 

Now, there are some notable exceptions to this such as the late Pop Smoke, Meek Mill, a lot of the late XXXTentacion’s music, etc. but if you look at the VAST majority of well-known new artists of today… 

…Their delivery is much more RELAXED…

…And RELAXED is this word… because the technology is able to interact with relaxed vocal tones a lot better than it used to be. 

I’d even go so far as to say that this is one of the reasons why “vibe” is such a buzzword in rap nowadays.

When you have a good “vibe” or a song has “vibes” it usually connotes that the delivery interacts with the instrumentation with a much smoother “vibration” (ahem, “vibe”) than back in the day when rappers were essentially devouring the track with presence only. 

Rapping Mistake #3: “Underpromoting” 

Now this one isn’t a purely “musical” or “rap skills” based point but it’s an important one in relation to your success in rap.

There are WAY too many talented artists still to this day “underpromoting” themselves as I’d call it. 

“Underpromoting” is essentially making all of the right moves on the music front…

…Improving your songwriting skills, getting your bars up, lyrical agility, etc…

…And then only promoting a song a LITTLE bit or even not using social media UNLESS you have a song…

…Essentially you are cutting your chances for musical success at the kneecap. 

I’ve coached literally 1,000s of rappers at this point and it’s frankly HORRIFYING how many artists will actually have DOPE songs but when I look at their activity online… 

…It’s literally worse than my own mother who uses Facebook to talk politics with her friends.

Like, my own mother uses social media more than somebody who says they want to be megastar rapper…

…That’s terrifying. 

So if you are one of these rappers who is talking a big game and SWEARING they want to be BIG or even just FULL-TIME in this thing…

…There’s NO REASON why you should be more silent online than a BOOMER… 

Underpromoting Is The Death of Talent

Listen carefully: Making amazing music and then underpromoting it is like spending all of finals week studying for a test and then not showing up to the exam. 

It doesn’t matter how much you studied or how much you know about the subject, you’re still going to get a failing grade because you didn’t take the TEST.

It really is on some “if a tree falls in the forest, does anyone hear it?” type of time. 

In the next decade, if you are trying to be a musician and are not in the act of CONSTANT marketing, you will be basically irrelevant from the start like a student who doesn’t show up for the exam, so start promoting NOW. 

We have a free playlist about how to promote your music online which you can check out HERE so be sure to look into that for more info. 

So, in short, if you want to make sure that you’re tee’d up to be a success over the next year…

…Make sure that you’re putting the SONG first through excellent chorus work…

…Make sure that you’re delivering your bars in a way that helps ELEVATE the instrumentation instead of DENIGRATES it…

…And make sure it’s easy for your newest fans to LINK with you! 



COMMENT: Have you made any of these mistakes recently? Which one(s)?

Drew Morisey, @drewmorisey on Instagram and Twitter

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