In this article, you will learn the following:

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 “Punchline Rappers”. The actual punchline can be a number of things:

-Bold Statement
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 that’s okay. Over time, they will realize 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”.

-Timeless Laws
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 ruthlessness of your character, but it shows that you have wisdom and knowledge in you. Traits that your audience is looking for.

-Metaphors
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 punchline 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 tuna” 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

-Research
Dig into those books and start searching. There are numerous 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.

Do your research.

-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 trying to live up to. Like an ideal. Listen to your parents. The next time you come home late, high as a motherfucker, 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.

-Be Creative
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. 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.

There are thousands of ways to come up with your rap lyrics. Some of you are thinking of their bar structure along the way, while others construct a flow skeleton beforehand and then just fill it up with words.

Regardless of your method, the technique which I’m about to show you would be a great addition to your current way of working. It gives you the ability to write punchlines with complex rhyme patterns inside of them.

Let’s Make a Punchline!

I will now write a punchline and I will take you through the process of creating it, so you can see how easy it is.

Motherfucka I’mma snatch your clientele
Leave you homeless, no more buy and sell

The Process

The whole process is composed of a few steps, starting with:

1. What would the couplet be about?

On the first step, you need to decide on the meaning of your couplet. What would it be about? The underlying meaning. This needs to be a phrase.

So, for my couplet, I had “I’ll get your clientele”.

2. Put this in the bar

What I mean by this, is that you have to make it fit. This is where your flow skeleton would be useful, or if you’re a freelancer, just fill in the blank spaces with some extra words. Of course, try rephrasing the initial meaning, so it has a stronger impact. What I got was:

Motherfucka I’mma snatch your clientele.

 

3. Find the second meaning/find the rhyme

Now, the completion of this step depends on your way of thinking. Some of you, might find it easier to just think of what rhymes with “clientele” and once they find an applicable rhyme word, to just think of a meaning, that will work with the upper bar.

write better rap lyrics

Others, might find it easier to think of the second meaning first and then find a rhyme word, which matches the rhyme from bar 1, but still keeps the essence of the meaning from bar 2.

I chose to think of a rhyme word this time and then think of a complimentary meaning. So my rhyme word was “Buy and sell”, which is the compound rhyme of “clientele”. Then I just thought of a meaning, which would match “buy and sell” and “clientele”. It was:

I will leave you homeless and there won’t be no more buy and sell for you.

4. Rephrase the Second Meaning

After you think of your second meaning, you have to rephrase it, so it fits in the bar. Henceforth, I got:

Leave you homeless, no more buy and sell

That was it. That’s the method that I used to write the couplet:

Motherfucka I’mma snatch your clientele
Leave you homeless, no more buy and sell

1. What would the couplet be about?
2. Put it in a bar.
3. Find the Second Meaning/Find the Rhyme
4. Rephrase the Second Meaning

5 Simple Blueprints for Great Rap Punchlines

Punchlines are probably the most memorable aspect of any rap song. It’s much more common for people to associate a song with its punchlines, rather than the flow or the overall concept of the record.

rap punchlines1

So, knowing that punchlines are important, how do you actually come up with them? There are many ways, as we’ve discussed it in previous articles, but this time we’ll look at it from a more practical standpoint. This article will give you the blueprints for the high end punchlines.

The Set

I have gathered a few ideas on punchlines throughout the years. Whenever I feel that I’m drawing a blank, I always end up looking at the set so I could get some insights.

The set is composed of blueprints, that can be turned into anything, depending on the situation. As I’m giving you the set, I will write examples, so you could see how it works. This is the process:

  1. Choose a Blueprint
  2. Choose an Emotion
  3. Fill in and refine

Blueprint- If it happens, what do I do?

Emotion- Cool

Example-If we get hit by a tsunami, your house will disappear, while I’ll spill my drink.
*Then you turn in into a bar

Blueprint-Timeless Laws

Emotion-Ruthlessness/Discipline

Example-If you’re gonna crush your enemy, crush him totally or he’ll come back.
*Then you turn in into a bar

Blueprint-Love/Hate

Emotion-Cool

Example- They love to hate me
*Then you turn in into a bar

Blueprint-Metaphor

Emotion-Angry

Example-Beat you up so bad, I’ll separate your cable, turn you to a wi-fi.
*Then you turn in into a bar

Blueprint-Wants/habits

Emotion-Funny

Example-Gotta big book, for when I have to pee.

Other mentions:

  • Consequences
  • Question/Answer
  • Personal Experience
  • Demonstrating Knowledge

Those were some of my blueprints. It’s very easy to use them. Just pick one, pick your emotion and then fill in with something worth remembering.

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Showing 110 comments
  • Mc Tee...
    Reply

    Ai wanna Roc these Nationz lyk um Jay Z

  • eminem
    Reply

    1: I fucked Kim when Ron thought it wasn’t possible.
    2: if I was Jesus bitch I swear I wouldn’t do for ya.
    3: i’mma peel trump’s skin cause he’s orange.
    4: i’m slim shady but i’m phat.
    5: you say i’m a rapist, you can’t find proof, why? Cause he’s dead.( no offence)
    6: you’re all bark and no bite like a tree

  • king sbudah
    Reply

    they call me messi when I rap im a skilful rapper,I’m putting sugar on my bars they are so sweet……I’m a 14 year old rapper from south Africa

  • Ma2ice
    Reply

    Interesting article, but ultimately do you think the perception of dope punchlines is down to the artist having a degree of talent.
    Two people can say exactly the same thing but one makes it come alive. A little bit off topic here.

    • Zero S6X
      Zero S6X
      Reply

      Yeah. Most times it all comes down to who can say it better.

  • Tricky Trouble
    Reply

    I’m the best rapper so-far i deserve a couch.
    I’m invisible an i’m a nigga you can’t touch.
    When you pull the trigger i will always wanna duck.
    I’m like a stingy bitch man i don’t give a fuck……..those are my punches

  • Sanoske
    Reply

    You think like a plain flat board, black and white colors, I checkmate.

  • stephan mulenga
    Reply

    These are some of my punchlines:
    1.My skill is so heavy makes space catch gravity
    2.I give em black and white like its 1970 something, surrounded by haters like a landlocked country
    3.I pin these niggas without a code,
    My body on the ground but my mind flight mode
    4.I fucked my verse and I told it abort, the child will law without votes
    5.New in the game I won’t start with a backup, these niggas strong, but I’ll try hard to catch up

    • Smith
      Reply

      Nice punchlines.

  • kid Mula
    Reply

    all I know how to rap about is pussy money party and weed…..

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