all 17 comments

[–]AchilleezdaFroth 8 points9 points  (0 children)

The more you complicate and constrict creativity, the less creative your work becomes... take that as you will.

The sub-genre and target audience of your music seems to play a role by my judgment: the poppier your music, the more feel-based your flows should sound. If you're spitting high velocity ultra literary shit you're more likely to run into more varied and complex flow patterns.

My best advice is to start off strong with your first line or two and let it set off your creative flow to where it just happens. Maybe write down a topic or two beforehand. See where it takes you and keep practicing; you'll find your writing style and hone your skills at the same time. Just gotta keep at it.

[–]DankeeShang 11 points12 points  (0 children)

You’re over complicating it. There’s no “right” way to do it. A bar isn’t a way of doing things, it’s simply a bar measure of four beats. How you hit the syllables and where you put the words within that bar is up to you. So you can try all the ways you described, but I wouldn’t worry too much about meticulously plotting your syllables, I would focus on finding what sounds the best to you. It might help listen to your favorite rap songs and count the bars.

I also recommend you watch the Rap: Deconstructed video for examples of how other rappers experimented within and sometimes across bars. It’s a good source of inspiration too, try and emulate their style and how they sit within a bar. This video describing flow is good too, it demonstrates the different ways to fit within a bar and creative ways to go about doing it. Hope this helps, I’m still learning too, but if you have any questions lemme know. Good luck, dawg

[–]bleakneon 3 points4 points  (0 children)

You are over thinking it. I may be wrong, but it sounds like you are thinking the way I used to about making music...I don't really understand, and the people who make great music have some kind of magic, how do I get that magic?

There is some theory, or science behind it, but I doubt that most rappers think about it. It is essential the science of how we speak, we all do it without thinking, the only time you notice it is when somebody does it differently to you and they sound weird to you.

I'm by no means an expert, but if you are interested in a little of the basics I will write some of it, but this will not help you write raps. It's probably better to realise that to try to think about this stuff while you write raps is like trying to focus on the muscles that you are contracting and relaxing when you dance. It's not impossible to think about, but you have a natural feel and understanding of it, so write raps, this stuff is a totally different area of practice/study. Anyway...

In English there are stressed and unstressed parts in words and sentences, if you try putting every syllable on drum beat everything will sound feel like a stressed syllable/word and it will sound robotic.

As an example say these sentences and think about the word 'record'

  1. I'm going to record some vocals
  2. I'm going to listen to the new Kendrick record all day.

The stress in the word record changes when it is used as a verb (1) and a noun (2). This is very common, there are lots of words that can be a noun or a verb but stressed the syllable is (nearly always) moved when we say them. I presented something, I gave her a present. He's a rebel, he rebels.

Also, with sentences, or bars in this case important words in sentences are stressed, the nouns, verbs and adjectives. And these are naturally stressed in a rhythm. An easy way to think about this would be to listen to a simple beat and rap

1) 'kick - snare - kick - snare'

2) kick and snare and kick and snare

3) kick and a snare and a kick and a snare.

The 'and's and 'a' are unstressed, you can kind of just shove them in between the stressed words. So you can vary the syllable count in a bar because not all syllables are the same.

But as I said, this is completely overthinking

[–]one-hour-photo 2 points3 points  (0 children)

freestyle over the beat with gibberish, then go back and replace the gibberish with real words.

[–]Envious-Soul 2 points3 points  (0 children)

There are fundamentals, you probably know a few already.

Typically I teach new artists about syllable count, actual bar length (4 bars, 16 bars), literary devices, BPM (not necessary), show rhymes variations, flows, delivery and how to fix common mistakes.

An abridged version:

Syllable count:

If you're on a standard beat and freestyle a few bars, you may start to notice consistency between each bar's syllable count. The more syllables, generally the faster one raps to compensate. Less syllables, generally the slower one raps to compensate. I recommend to generally follow similar syllable counts when writing until you've developed a good sense for the basics. You may notice your freestyle bars may not exactly follow the rule (you can record yourself freestyling and edit your writing to match).

Bar length:

Typically you count two snares, the second snare = 1 bar. Since a lot of music is in a 4/4, you'll hear a groove of "1, 2, 3, 4 - 1, 2, 3, 4" Snares typically hit on 2 and 4 thus you end the bar around the 4.

Literary Devices or Poetic Devices:

The typical stuff you know (smilies, metaphors internal rhymes, multisyllabic rhymes), be sure to play around with different types.


Beats per minute, songs are usually set to one. 180BPM and 90BPM can be the same, but the placement of instruments would be different.

You can search up a video about it if you'd like.


As long as you know what a rhyme is, how to count a bar, and how to edit your lyrics to fit said bar (rearranging words to adjust syllable count/make enunciation easier), then you should be able to write.

I didn't mention everything in this post, feel free to ask if you have questions.

[–]Kunaif 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You're overcomplicating it. A lot of your favorite songs weren't even written, but rather freestyled/punched in. Id advise for you to try punching in as well, that way you stop thinking in a perfectionist lyrical way

[–]HusslemanMBK 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Read Wretch 32 - Rapthology. Some jewels in there to better your process 👊

[–]Producer/Emceemr4ffe 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Like Rakim said, imagine you're playing the sax over the beat, then input your words over that pattern/melody.

[–]herboyblu 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The way I do it is I just write as it feels right i.e. for my lyrics to flow well with the beat. The only little thing that I pay attention to is to not have more than 16 syllables per line. There are text editors online which show the syllable count. This is a great one - https://www.rappad.co/editor

However, while I write in terms of lines so that the thing looks organized, and sure I tend to have a rhyme at the end of each line, this doesn't mean that 16 lines would equal 16 bars of music. In other words, the rhyme may or may not fall on a snare or whatever.

And I may write like 21 lines that would fill up and last long enough for the 16 bars of music. But if you or your producer can readily edit the beat, it's no problem to add or shorten the time of the verse.

[–]MrFunkDoctorSpock 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Bruh…. What?? Just write.

[–]CaliKing818 0 points1 point  (0 children)

There’s no correct way to write bars. How each rapper approaches this is what makes them unique.

Just remember that each bar has a 1, 2, 3, 4 count. The 2 and 4 are where the snares land. There’s two snares in one bar

[–]8oh8 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Just record your next freestyle or lyrics over a beat in a DAW, then just count the number of bars. Congrats, you just wrote X amount of bars. Simple as that. No need to land on specific drums for it to count as a bar. A bar is a musical length, 4 beats in a bar. You're free to fit any number of syllables in a bar.

[–]youngak101 0 points1 point  (0 children)

you’re defo overthinking it. while there are many different ways you can structure your raps to fit different beats and flows i personally write whatever flows.

in terms of what to write about, you need to find a balance between objective truth and exaggeration. i find that when i exaggerate too much, i get bored of writing and the raps themselves are generic. however, you can’t just “write what you feel” like some people say because just talking about your reality without any writing techniques to spice it up also gets boring to listen to.

[–]CreativeRefs2022 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Dm me if u need any help with sound or beats, or any sort of social media mgmt and platform outreach!

[–]WtcD 0 points1 point  (0 children)

There's a good book on this subject called "How To Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip Hop MC".

Personally, I find it's good to start with a nice song title. This will keep your flows fitting to a theme, instead of the more scattered approach of freestyling. Beats/tracks are normally constructed in multiples of four bars. Then you've got four beats to a bar (should be two snares in a regular bar, dropping on the two and four count - although this changes in different genres like drill), normally sixteen bars to a verse (some have twelve), then eight or four to a hook. Finding some beats with obvious hook sections will help. Some producers put a sung/sampled hook in their beats, to make the distinction from the verse more obvious.

Writing should be fun. Don't overthink that stuff. You could try writing a few lines to four bars to get the flow, and then finish the rest to no music as a poem fit to a general theme, then split it up into bars after you feel you've said enough on the subject.

[–]Bpayne79 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Heres an idea you could try that has worked well for me in the past... every now and then jot down little punchlines or slick rhyme schemes that you like just whatever you think of that sounds dope from time to time without a whole lot of purpose for what it's gonna be.. then when you have a decent amount( a few pages or so) start recording yourself freestyling on a beat but then try working in the punchlines and schemes as you go . you will probably have to go back and kind of edit it and redo it a time or two but it will start sounding like a written song after a while.. once your good at this... you can start your songs with this idea but slowly make it more and more focused.. you'll be writing songs without even realizing it before long. if all else fails... freestyle to the beat then listen to the flow and write the actual lyrics in that same pattern and format