Take Rap Lessons

If you want lessons on how to improve your flow, email me at [email protected]. I don’t necessarily “teach people to rap”, but I will make you a better rapper. You will learn such things as how to count beats/bars, how to make your flow more continuous, the most important rap flow songs, and more. A sample lesson can be found at the end of this post.

I would teach you how to maximize your own talents, and
how to get the most out of what it is you do. In the tradition of many
great musical pedagogues, I believe it’s impossible to teach a
music-maker (composer, producer, rapper, singer/song-writer, whoever)
their own voice. What I can and will do, however, is describe to you
exactly what it is you are doing in your own music in a methodological
way that allows you to consciously manipulate the compositional choices
you make. For instance, you will realize why you place a rhyme in one
place in the bar, and not another; or why you repeat a certain phrase at
one point and not another; and, eventually, how to avoid monotony or
un-interesting raps by being cognizant of all the different musical
tools at your disposal that you can use to create raps that maintains a
constant line of tension and interest in the listener’s ear. (For
instance, these “tools” in the toolbox will be the different ways to
create accent, the manipulation of phrases, metric displacement, and so
on, all of which will be explained to you in great detail if you decide
to do this.) It’s like this: Nas, Eminem, and Mos Def, for our purposes
here 3 of the greatest rappers of all time, are complete masters of
their craft. They cannot, however, in a methodical and consistent way
communicate to you or anyone else  exactly what it is they are doing.
They cannot notate their music and give it to someone else so that
anyone can understand it. That is what I can do for you.

So, let me know if you’re interested! They are of course free, the only thing I ask is that you spread links to my blog around a little, you know, facebook, reddit, twitter, wherever. Thanks!


Sample lesson:
1. Go to my website. Take a look at 2 songs: Biggie’s “Hypnotize”, and Drake/Lil Wayne’s “Successful” sheet music. You can find them under the “rap transcriptions” tab at the top.
2. Save them or print them out, or put them into that noteflight website we were using.
Write in the slurs underneath the notes that indicate where the words
of the rap are broken up grammatically, such as by conjunctions like
“and”, “or”, “but”, etc., or periods, commas, question marks, and so on.
If in doubt, listen to the song, and ask yourself where you yourself
hear one idea ends and where the next one starts.

4. Make a frequency chart of the different note durations in
each song. For instance, make a chart for each with an eighth note, a
sixteenth note, a dotted eighth note, etc., at the top, and put a single
tally under each column for each time that note appears. NOTE: Always
count the note duration of a note coming at the end of a grammatical
phrase as a 16th note.
The question I want you to think about:
Why does Biggie’s song have such a more spread-out frequency of notes, with more and different durations, than Drake’s?
Hint to answer the question:

Calculate how many of those grammatical
phrases per bar there are in each song, for each’s first 3 verses, and
note in general where they start and end in each respective song.

Martin Connor is a music teacher & writer from Philadelphia, PA, with a music degree of high distinction from Duke University who is currently studying for a master’s degree at Brandeis University in Boston, MA, while focusing his research on the vocal melodies of the rap genre. He has contributed freelance articles to HipHopDX, Complex, and Pigeons and Planes, and had multiple articles from his website, www.RapAnalysis.com go viral on BET, The Source, XXL, and MTV. He teaches rap lessons online through the music school LessonFace, and has a book, The Artistry Of Rap Music, forthcoming from the McFarland Publishing House, scheduled for release in late 2017, as a follow-up to his 2014 contribution to their anthology "Eminem & Rap, Poetry, Race." He welcomes all comments, compliments, insults, and restaurant suggestions at [email protected].


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