Page tree
Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Table of contents

Child pages

Have an interesting / appealing voice


  • Tupac
    • Listen to Tupac's voice in "Minnie the Moocher"...
    • ...and then listen to his voice in "Live at the House of Blues".
    • His voice is much gruffer in the second performance. It reminds me of the death-metal bands who growl out their lyrics.
    • This may not be an absolutely necessary condition for a successful rap song, because (for example) Weird Al's "White and Nerdy" was very popular despite his unappealing voice. The cleverness of the song and the appropriateness of his voice for those lyrics made up for the arguably-unappealing quality of his voice. It's like how actors can be very successful even if they aren't physically attractive, as long as they make up for it by being exceptional in other areas. And in another sense, Al's voice on the track was interesting.


  • Have forty people rapping in unison, or maybe just the same person doing forty takes, and as the rapping moves on, twenty of the voices are raising in pitch while the others are remaining where they are, and you separate them in the right channel and left channel.

Express emotion through your voice

  • People can detect others' emotions through their tone of voice, and it will impart that emotion in the listener (I think because of mirror neurons, but I'm not sure). For example, if you hear someone sad, it might make you feel sad too. Or if you hear someone angry it might make your adrenaline start pumping.


  • The Tupac example from above shows this.
  • Eminem's Kim 2 is a great example of how powerful emotion is.

Vary the pitch of your voice


  • Here's an awesome example of this:
    • My name is Marshall Mathers, I'm an alcoholic (Hi Marshall)
      I have a disease and they don't know what to call it
      Better hide your wallet 'cause I'm coming up quick to strip your cash
      Bought a ticket to your concert just to come and whip your ass
    • He just keeps raising the pitch of his voice through all of those lines, it adds to a real feeling of intensity. He also seems to add more and more fast-syllables from the first line to the third: "they don't know", "Better", "comin' up"

Plan ahead about how you're going to space out your reading of the words

- Have you ever been writing on a piece of paper and you realize you're not going to have enough space at the end to fit in all the words, so you start squeezing them together to make them fit? It doesn't look pretty. That's exactly what can happen to you when rapping. The key to avoiding this is to plan ahead about how you're going to read the line, and then rehearse it over and over so that you space out all the words properly. It's just like an artist deciding how they're going to spread out the words in a billboard to make it look as pretty as possible.

Avoid fumbling over words
- You may just need to practice to get better at this.

Record the song over and over until you get a sound you like

  • Example: The explicit version of Biggie's "Warning" sounds great, but if you watch his music video you hear the clean version, which (IMO) has a far inferior performance on it. I think that inferior performance gives a good indication of how poorly the explicit version could have come out if the performance wasn't good.

  • No labels