How To Become A Rapper
So you want to know how to become a rapper huh?
Who doesn’t nowadays! 🙂
A lot of rappers need this information and that’s why I am squeezing tons of what you need to know into one article.
I’m going to give you 16 eye opening things on how to become a rapper.
This article on how to become a rapper is for beginner to mid level rappers. Even if you’re pretty established as a rapper you will still find some valuable information for your career though.
In case you didn’t know, I myself have built quite the career for myself as a rapper. Everything from attaining record label deals to having iTunes Top 100 charting albums and 10’s of thousands of hip hop music fans.
More importantly, as a rapper, I have done 99.9% of everything myself in my career. So I have made the mistakes and personally experienced what I should have done better when on the rise as a rap artist.
What I’m saying is, you can trust me, I’ve been in your shoes my friend and I can definitely help you become a rapper 🙂
What you will learn on how to become a rapper
I’ll try to tell you how to become a rapper in order of what you should really focus on first to last.
It is all vital stuff so you can be learning and applying things to your rap career in random order if you’d like to.
Just realize that there is a lot more involved in becoming a rapper than most rappers realize.
I’m assuming that you probably need the information from the very beginning of what it takes to start out as a rapper and so that is where I will begin.
If you already have some basics down, then move on to the further steps on how to become a rapper.
Let’s do it!
Learn how to count bars if you want to become a rapper.
Let’s start with the basics on how to become a rapper really quick.
If you don’t know how to count bars… it is the first thing you need to learn.
I know you already know how to rhyme so I’m not going to treat you like you’re stupid lol
If you are at the level where you need to learn how to count bars, I would have to write a whole lot here and even make a video showing you how to count bars and that’s not really what this article is for.
This article is to tell you how to become a rapper, now show you 😛
Spend 5 minutes watching some YouTube videos on how to count rap bars.
Learn how to write different types of lyrics.
A lot of people starting out and learning how to become a rapper don’t really consider all of the kinds of lyrics there are that you can be writing.
For one there is the content aspect of writing rap lyrics.
That being what you are talking about when you are rapping. (The content)
Is it real talk, personal emotions you are going through or things you have experienced?
Is it directed at a female talking about how you feel about her, how she feels or even sexually driven lyrics?
Is it materialistic lyrics that talks about cars, cash and clothes?
Is it just witty lines that are entertaining that use metaphors and punchlines to pull the listener in?
Which brings us to this…
Then there is the type of lyric writing.
Such as writing metaphors and punchlines or rhyme schemes, internal rhyming, multi syllable rhyming and forms of word play.
These are your technical skills that you are using as you write your rap lyric content.
Learn song structure to become a better rapper.
If you truly want to know how to be a rapper you are going to need to learn song structure.
A lot of upcoming rappers don’t realize how important this is for a while.
But once you understand the importance of song structure, everything you write will seem to come together better.
Here is an outline of different parts of songs that you can be focusing on learning that is also the basic structure for most rap songs.
16 Bar Verse 1
8-16 Bar Chorus
16 Bar Verse 2
8-16 Bar Chorus
4-8 Bar Bridge
8-16 Bar Chorus
Now this varies in many many many ways. Sometimes there is a pre chorus, sometimes the song starts with the chorus, sometimes there are 3 verses etc.
Learn how to write choruses as a rapper or just quit now because you’ll never become a rapper without chorus ability.
I cannot possibly stress enough how massively important, vital, critical, essential and paramount knowing how to write rap choruses is to your career.
A chorus is THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF A SONG.
If you have a good chorus, you have a good song. (As long as the rest of the song carries every other part)
The chorus is what sticks in the listeners head. That is why it is often referred to as the ‘Hook’ since it hooks people into liking it and it being stuck in their head.
You want the chorus to be as catchy as it can possibly be.
Then you just have to write verses that carry the 12-16 bars between the choruses and you have a great song.
This is why one of my biggest and most sold products on Smart Rapper is my ‘How To Write Choruses Package‘. I show you step by step exactly what to do from start to finish using what I have learned about writing music the last 10+ years as well as having written for numerous major name artists aside from my own music.
I even have a 20 minute demo of the how to write choruses course on that page if you wanna check it out after this article.
You get what you pay for 🙂
Choose what kind of music you will make be making as a upcoming rapper.
A lot of people just write randomly and make songs to be making songs when they first start rapping.
You can be great at rapping and writing songs but what you need to start thinking about and developing specifically is ‘What Kind’ of songs and music you are making.
What do you stand for? How do you want to be seen as a rap artist?
It was important to bring this up now because when you are becoming a rapper you need to know what you stand for and start focusing on one specific sound and type of music that people can associate with you.
We will discuss this more in the branding section below.
Practice so you actually get good as you are becoming a rapper
Now that you have learned some of all of those things on how to become a rapper, you need to practice so that you can start getting closer to mastery in your craft.
You HAVE TO PRACTICE OR YOU WILL NOT GET GOOD!
I literally wrote lyrics for 1 hour this morning.
Because I try to put in as much practice as I possibly can to not only stay a great writer but become a better rapper and songwriter.
Think about your writing skills as a muscle. Your mind is a muscle just like your biceps and triceps are muscles.
What happens if you don’t workout for a month after you have been going to the gym for a while?
That’s right… you start to shrink and lose strength.
But what happens if you keep training that muscle and working out a few times a week?
Yea.. it gets bigger, and bigger and bigger and stronger and better over time!
Any skill set such as becoming a rapper is going to require the same amount of work.
In most articles that I write on Smart Rapper I always mention how important practice is and how I do it daily even at my level and how every time you practice you are getting .1% better.
That means over the course of 10 practice sessions you are now 1% better than all of your peers and competition in becoming a rapper.
It adds up like pennies and suddenly you have enough money to fill your gas tank up. 🙂
There’s a little fuel for you.
Okay, so now you can write lyrics and songs and you are getting really good.
One thing I didn’t realize for a very long time is how important culture is in music. Yes… I knew that it was important because it was embedded in me from my surroundings in south side Chicago and the music I was making but I didn’t look outwards at it’s importance and start studying it until a few years later.
You will realize that when you want to become a rapper, understanding how and why things are important to society and culture is going to give you a HUGE advantage over other rappers when you are learning how to become a rapper.
I never really understood the importance of this until I was already rapping like 7-8 years.
The thing here is just like you have heard Jay Z Say
“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business…. man.”
What he is saying is that he as a person is an actual business. A brand that is worth half a billion dollars (and more).
Your business is everything that makes you who you are. It’s what people think about when they think of your name.
It’s how you make them feel, the reasons that they like you, the reasons that they share your music with other people and everything that goes along with success as a rapper.
Your rapper image.
Your clothing style.
Your values and what you stand for that people associate with and relate to.
Your story that makes people connect to you.
Your consistency that people come to love and expect from you.
All of these things matter and add up so that people see you, like you, connect with you and then connect their friends with you so you gain fans.
Branding is a massive part learning how to become a rapper.
Learn it as early as you can so that you can start now only growing a fan base, but keeping that fan base for life.
A few books I’ll recommend on branding that I enjoyed and learned from would be:
I’m personally a big fan of both of these guys who are extremely intelligent and huge inspirations to millions of people.
Gary Vaynerchuk’s team has actually has sent me one of his books before it even released because they knew I was a fan and that I’d promote it on my social media for him.
Choose your rapper name before someone else does.
I purposefully said to learn branding first when becoming a rapper before I said to choose your rapper name for the simple fact that, once you understand branding, you will understand the massive importance of your rapper name.
It resembles you more than anything.
It’s what people say when they talk about and mention you.
There are entire documentaries on rappers names and where they come from.
So make sure that it is the right name that you are going to want to have 10 years down the road in any music industry circumstance.
Start your social media profiles with your rap name as soon as possible.
Now that you know a bit more about branding and you have chosen a smart rapper name for yourself, you need to create your online presence.
Lock down all of the social media URLs so that no one else comes in and swipes them from you.
Locking them down also detours anyone who may try to come in and take your rapper name before you really got to build you name on it.
I recommend that you go and lock down every single social media site possible with the same rapper screen name you chose. This way no one can impersonate you.
After that, it is best to focus your efforts towards learning the top 3 social media platforms you will be using to promote your music.
This way you aren’t watered down trying to learn 15 social media sites and marketing tricks.
Focusing on 3 sites allows you to become AMAZING at those 3 sites and marketing your music instead of just being good across 15.
Be smart 🙂
The sites you will need to lock down as a rapper are going to include but are not limited to:
If you really wanna become a rapper… you need to learn how to record yourself at home
If you want to be able to release songs anytime you want, be able to constantly make music and get better through practice, make friends who want to come over to your house and rap and a slew of other benefits, than you need a home recording studio in your journey on becoming a rapper.
You need to get your hands on a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) such as Pro Tools and also get the equipment you need (microphone and preamp) to start recording your music from home.
Every day that you don’t have a home studio you are getting behind in the race to become a famous rapper.
In the menu section at the top of this page you will see the ‘Home Recording’ tab and in the drop down it has a list of the best rap microphones, pre amps and USB microphones for you.
I also have this article that shows you everything you will need all wrapped up into one article that branches out to the other specific articles I just mentioned. Everything you will need is right here.
I wrote an article on why it’s better to record at home rather than paying for studio time that is extremely insightful and will make you want to start building your home studio today
Learn how to mix or get your music mixed and mastered
Here is where it gets a bit tricky.
Engineering, mixing and mastering music is a whole other ball game in music.
That is why people dedicate their lives to learning how to engineer, mix and master music.
You are over here trying to learn how to build yourself into a brand, learn to write songs, learn how to record yourself, market yourself and all other aspects of the music industry that are really a requirement nowadays.
Thing is, without a high quality sounding mix, you don’t have a finished product that you can even release to promote your music, your brand, your business or your social media.
While I say you need to learn how to mix, I’m going to recommend that you just learn the basics of engineering and that you find a professional to mix and master your music who has been doing it for years.
Because mixing is something that will take a very long time for you to master.
In that time you could be mastering how to become a rapper instead of how to become a mix engineer.
Don’t spread yourself too thin. Focus on what matters like the songwriting.
Then let someone else handle the mixing and mastering for you.
Here is an example of the loudness difference in an unmastered song and a mastered song.
The left side is clearly unmastered. Yes… that is how drastic of a difference it is to your rap songs.
Learn the music business to succeed as a rapper
Now that you area well on your way to learning how to become a rapper with the songwriting, branding and everything else, you need to start learning the business.
The entertainment industry (movies and music) are the toughest industries on the planet to succeed in.
You need to learn as much as you possibly can about every single aspect so that you are
1) Not getting screwed out of your credits, money, networks and more
2) Able to make as much money as possible to eat and also throw more money into the fuel your rap career needs to thrive and succeed.
3) Being taken seriously when words come out of your mouth in front of industry people.
Everything is built around business. It is essential that you learn how business works.
And not only business but also business etiquette and what is actually acceptable in certain circumstances and conditions.
When I was starting out I wasn’t very good at people/social skills because of my childhood. I made a bunch of stupid mistakes that in turn made me look stupid.
I learned the hard way but now I understand how to act, speak and do things in business situations.
You sooner you learn these things, the sooner you will become a more successful rapper and music artist.
Learn how to train your mind – mind matters first and foremost to keep going as a rapper
There is a reason I try to mention books in a lot of my Smart Rapper articles.
For one, books changed my life.
I used to think reading was stupid and lame. Now I think you’re stupid af if you aren’t reading books on a regular basis.
There is so much knowledge out there that you can be applying to your career and life that will make you a super human.
If you are able to apply all of this knowledge to your career, you will sky rocket in success compared to people who aren’t learning and applying skills.
This is why I read/listen (audio books) to 2 books a week AT LEAST. That’s over 100 books a year. Imagine all of the knowledge and principles for succeeding in my music career and life I have built up!
Now, I mention learn how to train your mind not only because I have personally learned how important it is in becoming a rapper and successful music artist but also because a book I started reading today reminded me why it is so essential to train your mind.
The book I started today is called ‘Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable‘
The guy who wrote the book is the guy who has trained people like:
1) Michael Jordan
2) Kobe Bryant
3) Lebron James
4) Dwyane Wade
His entire approach is MENTAL TOUGHNESS!
Imagine the massive amount of mental toughness it takes to be a top performing player in any sport or industry. To be a LEGEND because you are so perfectly tuned at being the best at what you do.
This guy trains these guys to get find their zone, stay in their zone and become what he calls ‘Cleaners’. Relentless unstoppable animals that are the best at what they do.
I mention this book because when It comes to wanting to become great at anything, especially how to become a rapper, you need to understand that your mind set and mental toughness is more important than anything.
You can’t work hard if you haven’t trained your mind to understand why to work hard at rapping and to overcome boundaries.
I have known this for a long time, hence why when I started Smart Rapper a few months back, one of the main sections of the site is called Mind Set.
Mind set is everything. Your ability to focus and not worry about anything but being great. Avoiding drama, avoiding problems and issues, avoiding negative people and negative thoughts. These things are so critical to your success.
Do you think that Michael Jordan could have become Michael Jordan without having the mental strength and drive he had? You can’t have the drive without the mind state to have the drive or ambition or courage or energy or work ethic.
Learn how to market your music in order to get heard as a rapper
This is so important. I mean, I don’t even know how to express in words how important this is.
What happens is that we as artists and rappers want to just create music.
We don’t want to have to learn all of this other stuff that comes along with learning how to become a rapper.
We just want to do what we love! The thing is though is that if you do what you love and create the music and then you just release it without a plan… no one hears it.
So no one else can love it.
If marketing isn’t applied to your rap career, you won’t even have a music career. People need to hear your music in order to become a fan so you need to learn how to get people to hear you music.
Marketing is almost more important than the actual music.
This is why you will see super wack rappers actually blowing up. Their stuff got marketing or spread in a way that made them famous and because they were gaining attention, everyone else looked and suddenly became amused and then they shared it with their friends.
It’s like seeing a car accident, you slow down and look at it, even though it’s terrible. If it’s REALLY terrible, you SnapChat it or Instagram it and your friends see it and talk about it.
There are a lot of aspects to marketing but I won’t really go TOO deep. Just know that you need to be marketing your music in your journey of how to become a rapper.
There is everything from automated music marketing softwares
To hiring Music PR Firms to promote your music.
To generating buzz with creative ideas and strategies.
When you are learning how to become a rapper, marketing is mandatory.
There is an entire section on Smart Rapper for music marketing for a reason.
Keep your fan base happy by entertaining them.
You need to constantly be releasing great content for your fans.
Not just music but content that represents you as a brand and helps people love you more.
Social media game is just as important as the product nowadays because you need to stand out in peoples news feeds.
You have to be able to break through the noise with things that really make people like you.
People can like you for who you are and then realize you do music and be impressed and become an even bigger fan.
That happens to be every single day.
I could have added a lot more to this list on how to become a rapper but I kept it to the basics.
These are all things you are going to need to learn and apply in order to become a rapper.
There are tons more articles on Smart Rapper that you can go check out that will teach you a ton more!
There is also nearly 100 videos on the YouTube.com/SmartRapperTV channel
If you really want the FULL GUIDE, sign up below for the Ultimate How To Become A Successful Rapper guide that takes you from the lowest levels all the way up to the very highest levels of the music industry all in perfect order.
The fact that you read this far into the article lets me know that you are smart enough to grab that guide for free and check it out.
The information in it is priceless and will help you become a better rapper in no time.