Being an experienced rapper has its own hidden drawbacks. You’ve attained a vast arsenal of skills and gathered so much knowledge by now, that there might be a point where you get confused and lose your mental composure, forgetting the purpose of composing a rap song.
How would you know, whether a song is successful or not? What is the ultimate test? Read on and find out.
The ultimate test of having a successful song is whether you’ve managed to get your listener to play it back.
That’s it. If your song gets a high percentage of replays, your work is done.
Due to the high supply of rappers nowadays, most people juts skim through songs. If you’re being able to capture their attention right from the start, have them vibe to it and then play it back, the song will be successful and most likely get viral.
This however, is easier said than done, because of the number of variables influencing the creation process. We’ll talk about:
- The Vibe
- Conquering Initial Attention
- Finish stronger than you Start
When I say “vibe” I mean that your song has to have a strongly distinguished feel to it.
There should be one specific emotion, being the king of the song. This is because the feeling of the song, is the only thing being remembered by the subconscious of your listener.
Think about it. If you feel like listening to music right now and you want something which is mirroring your current emotional state, you’ll be trying to think of a song, which has that specific vibe to it. You would think of rappers, who are displaying that desired emotion.
Not only that, but having a strong vibe in your song, let’s the listener decide whether the song is for him or not. If he’s feeling that vibe throughout his daily life, he’s likely to stay.
If your song has an angry vibe to it, and the listener is subjected to feelings of anger on a regular basis, he’ll listen to your song, because of the fact that it’s mirroring his state, you get me?
Never agree to write on an instrumental, which has a weak vibe to it.
It will simply blend in with the rest of the tracks out there and your rap performance won’t even matter. Some producers try to put too many layers on their beats, which damages the actual impact of the product.
Remember, bet on a strong instrumental. One distinguished emotion.
The next thing is to match the vibe of the instrumental with flow, delivery and lyrics. All three aspects should correspond to the vibe, in order to create that complete feeling to a song, strengthening its power on the listener.
Further Reading: Lesson 11-Feel the Instrumental
Conquering Initial Attention
There are too many rappers and people have no time to waste.
You have a few seconds to win their time, or they will simply move on. Others don’t care how long you’ve taken to write something, or what did you go through. They don’t care about the hassles of creating a rap song.
They’re simply there to consume your product.
Therefore, you should think of ways, with which you could grab their attention right from the start. Think about building anticipation by a specific arrangement of instruments in your intro. Think about inserting an interesting or controversial snippet of a vocal.
The intro should have the effect drama has on us. It should grab and never let go. Confusion, anticipation and not knowing what will follow are the ingredients of a great introduction.
After your introduction, it will be your turn to rap. You have to remember that your first quatrain is the most important part of your song, even before the chorus. This is the moment, which really determines whether the person will choose to stay and listen to you, or he’ll move on. This is the moment, where he’ll decide, whether you deserve his time.
Make sure you put your hottest rhyme scheme there.
The hottest flow and lyrics. Of course, dropping the quality of your performance in the next quatrain won’t do you no good, so try to start very powerful and then keep it up.
Further Reading: Every Rapper Must Know About This
Having captured the attention of your listener is not enough.
You should be able to keep him glued to your product. This is the slogan, you should focus on. How do you keep his attention then?
The first factor is quality
Your bars have to be perfect. They have to sound good, use wordplay and great technique. If you slip on one word, people leave. If you mess up even one sound, they will register it and they’ll leave.
When people are listening to something for the first time, they don’t enjoy it as much as they’re trying to find something wrong with it and only if they can’t find any faults in your song, then they’ll play it again, but this time assured of its quality.
Keep them on their toes
The next thing is that you should always try to keep your listeners on their toes. Change your flow. First rhyme with punchlines, then rhyme fast, then use complicated rhyme schemes. Sing on your chorus, sing on the bridge. Pause the track and just rhyme acapella at one point.
Get creative and never do just one thing.
Adults get bored even faster than children. Variety is the cure for boredom. Make sure that your song provides a plentiful of variety. Don’t forget about the “vibe” though. All of your different flows should be connected in one way or another to your core emotion.
Don’t switch emotions too much. It kills the vibe and due to the fact that songs are only 3-4 minutes long, you have time to build up only one vibe. Switching from vibe to vibe will render your song powerless.
Think about some of Kanye’s songs. What about “Mercy”? Kanye is a genius, but his part just kills the vibe man. I always press fast forward when he starts. Not because he can’t rap. It’s because his part has a different vibe and the song is losing the feeling it had in the beginning.
Remember, variety is the cure for boredom. Never let your listener get bored. Switch it up.
Further Reading: Rap Techniques-How to Ride the Beat
Finish Stronger than You Start
Some people might not understand this. However, the ending of your song is as important, if not more important, than your start.
Let me draw an analogy with meeting someone for the first time.
First impression is very important. How he looks, how he talks to you and so on, but if at the end of your meeting he says something which you don’t agree with, you’re likely to leave with a bad impression, disregarding your good initial impression.
The same dynamic is present, when it comes to a song. You might have a great introduction, verses and hooks, but if your outro is out of order, you’ll leave a bad impression to your listener.
Just know that your outro is the last thing he hears from you. How will you leave? What would happen?
When I finish my songs, I’m trying to always put a twist in it. For example, it might be lyrical, conceptual or melodic twist. The last quatrain or two, I might put a twist in my story. Something unexpected happens.
If my song is angry, I might get twice as angry on the last two quatrains, just so I can cement that emotion in them, helping them associate my song with that feeling. Do you know what I mean? If my song is inspirational, I might talk about hope on my last quatrain and bring a positive turnaround to my struggle.
The ending is essential. Don’t underestimate it.
Those were the factors, which will determine whether your song gets played back or not. Think about those factors and take them into account. It was a pleasure sharing my knowledge with you guys.