How to Construct Better Punchlines
In this article, you will learn the following:
- What is a Punchline
- Sources of Punchline Creation
- How to form the Punchline
1. What is a Punchline
A punchline is a one liner or a couplet, which has a bigger impact than the rest of your lyrics. It carries more weight, it shows your style and its damn hard to think of one. Some rappers base their whole lyrical content around punchlines. Rappers like Ludacris and Jadakiss are one of the most distinguished “Puchline Rappers”. The actual punchline can be a number of things:
This is the kind of statement which says the truth and nothing else. No filters and no political correctness. Just the truth, tell it like it is. Many people might get offended, but thats okay. Over time, they will realise that you were right. For example, when Jadakiss said “Bush knocked down the towers”. The punchline was so good that Immortal Technique took it and he used it as his chorus to the song “Bin Laden”.
The punchline can also be from one of those laws of wisdom, that never gets old. Timeless Laws like “I keep my friends close and my enemies closer” is a slick example for a punchline of that type. Not only it shows the ruthlesness of your character, but it shows that you have wisdom and knowledge in you. Traits that your auidence is looking for.
You could also use a metaphor as your punchline, however the metaphor has to be pretty deep and unique if you want to get the reaction you wish for. Anything mediocre wouldn’t cut it. In most cases, the metaphor punchine is direct to self glorification, making the character of the rapper seem bigger than it is. Metaphors like “You pups can’t keep up with the pedigree” or “This is my ocean, ya niggaz is tunna” are example of metaphors which are used as punchlines.
Here are some other example, just so you know what I’m talking about:
“I’m out for presidents to represent me.” (Nas-Bold Statement)
“I’m a star bitch, when you see me make a wish.” (Lil Wayne-Metaphor)
“They say whenever someone dies with his eyes open, he deserved it” (Jadakiss-Timeless Law)
2. Sources of Punchline Creation
Dig into those books and start searching. There are numerious collections of wise words throughout the internet. All you need to do is find one that you like and “borrow it”. Find a list of interesting metaphors. Try twisting some of them in a way, which would be useful for you and your needs. You have to know that punchlines are everywhere. You just have to look for them.
-Look around your own environment
The place where you live plays a large part in shaping your character and using a saying,common for that area, as a punchline, would only add to the “realness” of your words.
Look around you. Maybe its something your friends at school constantly repeat or trynna live up to. Like an ideal. Listen to your parents.The next time you come home late, high as a motherfucka, the moment they figure out whats going on, the speech gonna come next.
Instead of thinking about which movie are you gonna watch next, listen to them and pay attention..They might say something clever or they might give you an idea, which you can later transform to a punchline. Imagine.
The most important factor in creating a punchline is how original are you. Think about your personal ideal. What is your personal philosophy. What was the slickest shit you ever said. In order to think of good punchlines you have to be confident in yourself. Respect your opinion.
3. How to form the punchline
Once you figure out what you want to say, you have to be able to fit it into the beat. You can learn this technique from Translating Speech into Bars. In order for your punchline to have the biggest impact possible, you have to think about the structure. Its always better to restrict yourself from the use of too many rhymes. The truth is that when you try to squeeze in too many rhymes, the content gets watered and the effect is diminished.
Better to use one of the simpler bar structures. Something along the lines of -4-4 or a 2-4-2-4. If you don’t know what the bar structure looks like, I advise you to look at Lesson 2 and 3. You will get the hang of it.
Once you have the punchline written, the next thing you have to do, is thing about the way you’re gonna say it-the delivery. You have to make sure that you portray the right type of emotion connected to the words, otherwise you wont achieve the desired effect. Look at the punchline, figure out what type of emotion does it portray and then relate to it, feel it and experiment. Whatever sounds best, use it.