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How to Rap Like: 2Pac

 

Who is 2Pac
Tupac Shakur(2Pac) is one of the best selling music artists in the world. He has sold over 75 million records world wide, excelled as an actor, starring in a number of blockbuster movies and was and will always be a legend and an inspiration to the rap community.

Song Selection
I chose to analyze one of his most famous songs, out of the album called “All Eyez On Me”. The song is Only God Can Judge me. Can I get an amin? Now, the reason why I chose this song is not because it’s my personal favourite, but because you can clearly see the techniques 2pac is employing, in order to create such a powerful and impactful flow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqUjmupcAGI

Verse Extraction
Now, for the ones who have been following this rubric, they know that this step is important. The verse is the place which contains all the styles. All of his flow. Think of his verse as a resource which you could use to enrich your own rapping skills.

————————————Perhaps I was
blind to the facts, stabbed in the back I couldn’t
trust my own homies just a bunch a dirty rats Will I,
succeed paranoid from the weed
And hocus pocus try to focus but I can’t see

And in my mind I’ma blind man doin time
Look to my future cause my past, is all behind me
Is it a crime, to fight, for what is mine
Everybody’s dyin tell me what’s the use of tryin I’ve been

Trapped since birth, cautious, cause I’m cursed
And fantasies of my family in a hearse
And they say it’s the white man I should fear
But it’s my own kind doin all the killin here

I can’t lie, ain’t no love for the other side
Jealousy inside, make em wish I died
Oh my Lord, tell me what I’m livin for
Everybody’s droppin got me knockin on heaven’s door

And all my memories of seein brothers bleed
And everybody grieves, but still nobody sees
Recollect your thoughts don’t get caught up in the mix Cause the
media is full of dirty tricks Only God can
judge me

Content Analysis
Let’s see what we have here.

1st Quatrain
 ————————————Perhaps I was
blind to the facts, stabbed in the back I couldn’t
trust my own homies just a bunch a dirty rats Will I,
succeed paranoid from the weed
And hocus pocus try to focus but I can’t see


The reason why the first bar has that straight line, is because 2pac begins his verse from the ending of the previous bar. This is a simple technique. It’s common practice to place the beginning of your sentence around the 3th of 4th beat. Can you see how he uses the sound schemes? For the people who dont know alot, 2pac is rhyming facts with back/rats.

However you know better. He has a sound scheme for blind/stabbed/own. Put the beginning of the quatrain on repeat. See how he uses the sound schemes? It sounds so sick, because he makes up a different kind of compound rhyme. Sound scheme plus normal rhyme. In the next couplet, you can notice how he prolonges succeed/paranoid and weed. This kind of pronounciation has a big emotional effect. You can express emotion with words better when you prolonge them or put your own little twist. On the last bar he uses an internal rhyme with hocus pocus and focus and then finishes of with see.

Rhyme Scheme of the Quatrain
12,-12-
-1–2-,
3,—3
-4443

*
1-Blind/Stabbed/Own
2-Facts/Back/Rats
3-Succeed/Weed/See
4-Hocus/Pocus/Focus

2nd Quatrain
And in my mind I’m a blind man doin time
Look to my future cause my past, is all behind me
Is it a crime, to fight, for what is mine
Everybody’s dyin tell me what’s the use of tryin I’ve been

Throughout the whole quatrain 2pac has one main rhyme and it is mind. He rhymes it with blind/time/behind me/crime/mine/dyin/tryin. In the first couplet he manages to squeeze in 3 rhyme words. Standard structure.
You see how he uses more pauses in the beginning of the second couplet. This is used to stress the word. Put more strength on what he is saying. At the end, you have to pay attention on the way he flows over to the next quatrain. His transitions are pretty good. The quatrain finishes after trying, but he keeps on rapping without taking a break. I’ve been, and then it goes on to Trapped since Birth. Transitions are very important. Don’t underestimate them.

-1-1-1,
—,1
1,-,-1
-1–1-

*
1-mind/blind/time/behind me/crime/mine/dyin/tryin

3th Quatrain
Trapped since birth, cautious, cause I’m cursed
And fantasies of my family in a hearse
And they say it’s the white man I should fear
But it’s my own kind doin all the killin here

First Couplet is fairly straight forward. He rhymes birth and cursed on the first bar. He has two internal rhymes in the face of fantasies and family and then he finishes off with hearse. You can see the use of pauses to put more stress on words one more time.

The second couplet is a straight one liner. He rhymes fear with hear, but the hidden rhyme(the one which actually makes it sound melodic) is man and kind. Those two words act as a sound scheme, which is used to spice up the couplet and make it sound better. The meaning behind the second couplet is huge though. I think this is one of 2pac’s lines, where he thought of this in normal form and then he just translated it into rhyme form. You can learn how to do this here.

-1,-,-1,
-22-1
–3-4
–3-4

*
1-birth/curse/hearse
2-fantasies/family
3-man/kind
4-fear/here

4th Quatrain
I can’t lie, ain’t no love for the other side
Jealousy inside, make em wish I died
Oh my Lord, tell me what I’m livin for
Everybody’s droppin got me knockin on heaven’s door

This quatrain is simple. First couplet he rhymes lie with/side/inside/died. First bar spills over to the second one, takes a small break after the second beat, and finishes off. If you notice he is actually kinda singing on “no love” and “side”. Again, making it sound more melodic.

The second couplet, two simple rhymes on the first bar(lord/for), two internal rhymes one more time(droppin/knockin) and finishes off with door. He uses that technique with the internal rhymes quite often doesn’t he? It sounds sick though, maybe that’s the reason.

-1,–1
-1,–1
-2,–2
-3-3-2

*
1-lie/side/inside/died
2-lord/for/door
3-droppin/knockin

5th Quatrain
And all my memories of seein brothers bleed
And everybody grieves, but still nobody sees
Recollect your thoughts don’t get caught up in the mix Cause the
media is full of dirty tricks Only God can
judge me

First couplet, you can see the fiverhymes right? They are memories/sein/bleed/grieves/sees. First bar done with no pause, second one has a pause at the second beat.

Second Couplet starts with the internal rhymes one more time-thoughts/caught. Goes on to mix, which spills into the last bar, where it rhymes with tricks. This is the end of the quatrain, even though he says only god can judge me. The last statement spills over to the next quatrain.

So what did you learn from this? Well, you can borrow 2pac’s way of using internal rhymes and sound schemes. As you can see, they both work.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate and ask in the form of a comment. If you liked what I have written, be a cool cat and like my shit from the sidebar widget. Peace Ya’ll.

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