5 Songwriting Tips For Rappers To Make Catchy Songs
Most songwriting tips for rappers articles give easy to understand but hard to follow consistently advice.
They give simplistic tips like “rappers should make something people want rap along to” or “do a call-and-response” without actually giving any practice advice.
In this article, we’re going to approach things differently and provide you with five PRACTICAL songwriting tips for rappers that artists can use right here, right now to make catchy songs consistently.
We’ll do this in countdown order, and let’s start things off right with songwriting tip for rapper #5:
#5 Follow The 75/25 Chorus Rule
The 75/25 chorus rule dictates that roughly 75% of your songs should BEGIN with the chorus.
When we say begin, we mean that the chorus should be the first vocals that the listener hears.
There are three main reasons this is a crucial songwriting tip for rappers who want to make catchy songs:
Easy To Remember = Catchy
First, if a future fan of your song can easily remember the most well-known part of your track – the chorus (also known as the hook) – they are much more likely to call it “catchy”.
Whereas us as rappers really dive into the science of rapping and bars, the fan who will will spend their entire savings on your concerts, streams, and merch often will simply define a “hit” by if they think it’s catchy a.k.a. memorable on the first listen (or not).
What better way to be seen as memorable and catchy than introducing them to the most repeated and repeatable part of the song from the very start of the track?
If Fans Can Repeat It, They Can Remember It
And that right there is the second reason. If someone has heard the most iconic part of the song from the very beginning, by the time they’ve hit the end of verse 1…
They’re actually going to be listening to your chorus a 2ND TIME because you’ve already begun the song with the first chorus.
The best part? Fans don’t even notice this simple song structure trick because they spent the beginning of the song just getting in the mood and waiting for the verse to start.
We bet you didn’t notice that of 18 musical tracks on 50 Cent’s legendarily catchy and soon-to-be diamond selling album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’…
A full 13 of them (72%) start with the chorus (including all of the singles such as “In Da Club”, “21 Questions”, and “Many Men”).
Therefore by subtly forcing the listeners ‘ears’ to repeat the chorus through hearing it a bunch… their mouths and minds are likely to repeat it as well…
The Spotify 30 Second Algorithm
Lastly, be aware that Spotify only counts streams based on if the listener stays through the song for at least 30 seconds.
So you have to lock-them in for at LEAST 30 seconds before it’s counted and as a stream and you make money.
So why not use the infinitely endless hack of starting with the catchiest most memorable part of the song in those 30 seconds with the hook…
…And then they’re unlikely to leave in the middle of verse 1 as you cross the 30 second mark.
We go more in-depth into the science of songwriting creation for you in our FREE video course “The Top 20 Songwriting Secrets of Professional Rappers” which you can pick up by clicking HERE…
But another quick way to LOCK IN listeners to the track so that they think it’s catchy is revealed in songwriting tip for rappers #4…
#4 2-For-1 Melodies
2-For-1 Melodies refers to the idea that you should practice having two separate melodies in one section of the song, as opposed to having one melodic phrase be the entire section (such as the chorus) of the track.
Most amateur rappers think that a “catchy chorus” simply means one melody repeated 4x-8x over and over again until the hook is done. That’s a 1-for-1 melody and while it works, it’s often not as catchy of the 2 melodies in 1 chorus method.
A very good example of this would be the chorus of “B%$#h Don’t Kill My Vibe” by Kendrick Lamar.
Although the entire chorus of this song INCLUDES both the “I am a sinner, who’s probably going to sin again” melody AND the melody of the actual repetition (there’s that word again) of the phrase “chick don’t kill my vibe”…
Those are two separate melodies “for the price of one” since the entire section is considered the “chorus” of the track.
Same exact 2-for-1 melody trick is used by Kendrick Lamar in his track with Rihanna “Loyalty”.
Now that you know the trick, can you identify what are the 2 melodies in 1 chorus section of “Loyalty”? Take a second and think to yourself.
Got it? Okay, let’s hope you passed.
The first melody is the “I said I’m geeked and I’m fired up…” and the second is the actual repeating of the song “loyalty, loyalty, loyalty”.
Boom! Very similar basic structure to “Don’t Kill My Vibe”.
Lastly, also note that those two colossal catchy hits by Kendrick START with the chorus as we just taught you in tip #4.
#3 Vocal Intro-and-Bridge Flex Option
Now that you’ve seen you can both start the song with a catchy part to keep your streams up AND you can stack more melodies than you even thought possible…
Don’t be afraid to go for “extra credit” by adding even a THIRD melody to start the track to serve as a vocal “intro” that can also serve as a “bridge”.
To go back to 50 Cent as an example because this is the easiest way to understand what a “vocal intro” is… take a second and think of how his biggest hit “In Da Club” starts.
We’ll give you a hint and say it starts with a melody. But our question to you is: does it actually start with the chorus?
No, it actually starts with the iconic “Go shawty it’s your birthday” section.
That is the VOCAL INTRO it’s a flexible 3rd melody that could only appear in the beginning of the song, but could also serve in the bridge as well.
J. Cole uses a similar tactic on the beginning of “G.O.M.D.” off of 2014 Forest Hills Drive where right before he raps he goes “you want to know just where I’m at, well let me tell you ‘bout it…”. It’s a melodic intro that is not used anywhere else in the song but serves as an introductory catchy phrase to get fans in the mood.
Therefore don’t be afraid use other melodies for “flex” options within your songwriting.
#2 Write Songs In “Blocks of Time”
Now, so far we’ve given you a lot of songwriting tips for rappers that have to do with how you create a songwriting structure that appeals to a broader audience…
…But what about how you actual organize your songwriting session to make the most effective use of your time?
Again as we said at the beginning, we’ve been coaching 100,000s of rappers on this channel for years now and we’ve got to say…
One of the biggest issues amateur rappers face is that they never have a system for sitting down and completing a song from start to finish that they can repeat over and over.
Therefore, we have devised this songwriting tip for rappers as a reminder that it’s much better to get into the habit of writing a song from start to finish in one sitting rather than stopping-and-starting to writing sessions.
Your goal as a rapper should be able to down to a stopwatch’s tick know how long it takes you to write a track.
Partially the reason to do this is to be able to “make hits on command” when you are in a studio with heavy hitters and they’re evaluating your songwriting ability…
…And part of the reason to do this is that you can simply have more product to pump or possibly collaborate with other rappers since once you master this you’ll have many more “loosies” for artists to jump on.
Therefore, set your songwriting goals to align with finishing songs from start to finish rather than writing a verse
#1 The Song Is The Currency Of The Music Industry
We’re going a special How To Rap mantra to give you a bird’s-eye-view of how you should be thinking about your music going forward since we’ve given you so many technical tips and examples in this training.
Look – in the same way the U.S. dollar is the currency of the United States or Bitcoin the currency most associated with crypto…
…The song is the currency of the music industry. In other words, you should first and foremost be learning, even as a rapper, to format your amazing raps into SONGS and then giving them the sick bars within that framework.
Probably the thing that has most hurt otherwise talented rappers from having a global superstar level career is their inability to focus on how to make a cohesive, catchy, and listenable song structure consistently…
…Rather than just spitting a bunch of witty bars or having a bunch of “drippy” melodies all over the place on a record.
Whether you are a fan of lyrical rap or you are a trap artist wanting to get your clout up, your ability to create solid SONGS as currency in this game will covert your music into actual MONETARY currency if you follow the tips in this article and experiment again and again into you have your unique hitmaking formula.
Additionally, it’s not like there aren’t a ton of resources to help guide you on your journey to start. As we mentioned before, we have a free songwriting course you can pick up by clicking HERE and of course you can always go down the How To Rap rabbit hole by watching the over 7 years of video content we have on the channel.