The art of telling a good story is somehow forgotten these days. Most rappers choose to rap from their perspective only, because that way, they’re able to establish their individualism and give the world their way of looking at things.

However, being able to tell stories, describe places and situations is a valuable skill to have. Rappers such as Eminem and Immortal Technique know the power of telling a great story.

Storytelling in a song format is something which shows the overall skill level of an MC. It shows everything and by the quality of the story, you can see how intelligent and skillful a rapper really is. Let’s get to it.

How to Describe-The Principles

Well, it depends on what are you trying to describe and who is describing. When describing, you have to have a vast imagination, being able to picture the whole place in your head.

1. Camera Angles

Think of it as a movie, with separate camera angles.

You have to change the point of view all the time. For example, if a guy wants to go and beat up another guy, you have to be able to constantly switch camera angles in your head. First, go inside the first person, then write as an observer, then go inside the head of the other guy and so on. So first rule is to think of it as a movie and always change the camera angles.

2. The 5 Senses

The second thing you can use as a guide is the five senses-smell, touch, eyesight, sound, taste.

The best way to use those five senses is in adjectives. Using them adds detail to your story. It helps the listener go deeper and fires up his imagination. It helps him picture it.

Also, what I do is combine two or more senses in one sentence. So, not only I say “The walls are white”, but I try to squeeze in as many senses as possible. Something like “I stared at the rugged cracks of the white wall, while strangers around me were chatting some nonsense.”

3. Feelings

Last but not least, when you’re going inside people’s heads, you have to include “the inside” to the five senses.

So, not only you’re talking about the touch, smell, taste etc, but you’re talking about the feeling too. How does the pen in your hand feels? What happens on the inside, is what you want to include. His beliefs, imagination, emotions. “The Inside”.

Further Reading: Imagery and Storytelling Techniques for Rapping

577977_570186286330721_1893618682_n

Example

Let me give you an example of the whole thing working together. I’ll write a short text describing a situation, guided by those three principles.

“It was a run down restaurant and I was sitting on one of the tables. The table was so old, I was waiting for it to break. It reminded me of the table in my old apartment. I used to do so much cocaine on it, it’s smooth surface was perfect for that.

Suddenly I heard my name and snapped back to reality in an instant. It was the waiter, giving me the menu. He leaned towards me and gently slid the menu on the table.  He had greasy hair and a really strong cologne. That disgusted me as it reminded me of my history teacher. Damn that dude was fat and ugly. Hope he’s dead.

The restaurant was empty and quite, there was nobody there except a blonde girl, dressed in a short white skirt, sitting on the table in the corner, looking at me with her big brown eyes. I noticed her, but didn’t have the time to go and talk to her. I wasn’t ready and it’s not what I was there for. Then I saw him, he came in with his crew. It was about to go down.

Bottom Line

You see how I tried to combine all the senses in one, plus the inside feelings of the actor? I did it in first person, but you could do it from a neutral observer’s point of view, going in and out of people’s heads. Really cool. So remember the 3 principles of describing something-5 senses, feelings and the movie angles.

Tell me, how do you describe your own stories? Do you use any other methods? Share it with me.

Related Posts

Showing 17 comments
  • Keyankh V.
    Reply

    (FEEDBACK?)
    You said i wasn’t enough, you thought I gave it up,
    But then I bought that new whip, to wake your neighbors up,
    And you the ones who changed, swear I haven’t changed much,
    More luck than 4 clovers, bitch your covers over what,

    If you forgot well i’m reminding you dudes,
    The two headed dragon, on the back of your wagon,
    Quit bragging fool, you never had it, snatching the flow,
    Cooling after shows, I mack the hoes,

    You better know, they getting fucked later on,
    Mr.package home, words delivered to the dome,
    I’d cripple my hands with swords, scribbling down the bones,
    Trying to put the pen to paper, the demonstrator,

    Own all of my acres, palms itching, money maker,
    Girl shake ya, ass for this cash, all my niggas flashing stacks,
    Passing blunts, side to side, back to back,
    Ha-Ha-Ha, you better learn, but first guess who’s back.

    I rap, fan-tas-tic, kicking ass since, I put the batter in the mix,

    • Zero S6X
      Zero S6X
      Reply

      I don’t quite get the story here?

  • Kid Kazarie
    Kid Kazarie
    Reply

    Storytelling is difficult to master yet, you hear so many people say they want to hear more it in the music. That is probably why a lot of rapper dont do it but, a good example on this site is

    http://rappingmanual.com/important-tips-successful-indie-rapper/

    Check out The Farrow’ s song So Long. It really put me it his situation and conveyed the emotion. Still this is something that rappers have to practice to master, narrative storytelling is a great rap tool

  • Whykay
    Reply

    Story telling is kinda part i love to listen to thats i love em n immortal technical, cause i always felt like i’m watching a movie in my mind. Its helpful thanks

    • Kid Kazarie
      Kid Kazarie
      Reply

      Hey you should check out the community there is currently an event called 2 v. 2 where we are trying to build a story with a partner(this week it is a party).You can even participant if your feeling up to it.

Leave a Comment