What is Wordplay in Rap?

Wordplay is very simple. The main idea is to play with literal and figurative meaning. The magic comes from the context.

So, you first think of a common saying, such as “a penny for your thoughts“.

What we mean by that is “Tell me what you’re thinking“. However, wordplay comes when you use the literal meaning. In our case, it could be:

I shot you in the head, then I left you a coin. Now that’s a penny for your thoughts.

This is the easiest way you could utilize wordplay. I have talked about that technique in depth in the manual, so be my guest to check it out.

The steps are simple to follow.

1 – You find a common saying

2 – Think of context that could work with the literal meaning

3 – Combine the two in a regular form

4 – Then you switch words around so you make the sentences rhyme and flow together.

Another example:

common saying: keep something at bay
context: have a yacht
combination: Cars are not enough I keep something at bay.
rhyme form:

Times have been good my riches here to stay
Cars are not enough I keep something at bay

Wordplay is not reserved just for common sayings. You can use wordplay on any figure of speech, as long as you can convey an unorthodox meaning to it via creative context. For example, the word “goal-keeper“.

The literal word is a sports term, used to describe the football player assigned to guard the goal post. However, using creative context, you could use the other meaning of the word. For example:

My friend keeps my vision in check, he’s my goal keeper.

How to Practice Wordplay?

This technique is only hard in the beginning. Once you know how to imagine creative context, then it’s a piece of cake. The best way to practice it, is to:

1 – Google “common sayings”,

2 – Choose one and write it down

3 – Uncover the literal meaning of the saying

4 – Think of a situation, where that literal meaning could be used. Imagine if the common saying didn’t have a figurative meaning. In which situation would you use it? For example, a piece of cake means easy, but what if it really meant a piece of cake.

5 – Combine the context with the common saying. In our case, it could be “I took what I wanted. It was a piece of cake,”

6 – Repeat the process until you feel you could do it automatically.

Now this is the basic form of wordplay. If you are an advanced user, you could try thinking of phrases, that have 2-3 meanings at the same time. For example, Rick Ross had a bar that went: “Go to Hell, Any nigga wanna buy my soul“. So it could mean you can fuck off if you want to buy his soul, or you gotta go to hell if you want to buy it off, because he already sold it.

Don’t rush it though, just focus on learning how to use literal meanings and build creative context to support it and over time, your lyrics can go cryptic as well. Good luck.

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Showing 166 comments
  • X-Cessive

    They say actions speak louder than words, I’m lookin’ down at you,
    That’s why it’s much louder when I shoot at you, than shout at you.


  • Anonymous

    Imma expose it like Ed Snowden and show my true colors
    Across the canvas you layed out for ’em
    So eat the cactus with bitter words and bite some

  • KRzeeG

    I Cosy,Spill the beans and tell the black truth like the coffee do.
    Love got me Blind Flying,I come full circle and Niggas come half a moon.

  • eminem

    I was ashamed when my daddy gave me a dollar. You think i’mma be proud cause ascar gave me penny!!!!????

  • Yung OAK

    You far behind time, i press rewind to see your future

  • Demi'blaze

    Action speaks louder than voice so I started acting but with a microphone

    is this wordplay?..

  • sentra

    I pass the ball to c’ronaldo,u know what,bcos he gonna stress d keeper

    Worldplay right?

  • armani owuna

    have read all evrytin bt till confused on hw 2start.

  • David

    You ate all the chips but still got a chip on your shoulder
    Is this good wordplay?

    • Tre proctor

      So difficult talking to a girl/caught beating around the bush when I saw that fat tush.
      Is this wordplay?

  • elite

    Guyz plz I will like to know more abut rapping can you guyz pls do sometin abut?

    • iLegion

      Yes, we can! Keep track of our articles about aspiring rappers who share their knowledge with us! Also feel free to look up our Rap Courses .

  • Anonymous

    i tried to kill myself under water
    but i couldn’t die cos I’m like a water tank is tht word play??

    • EpicComedy

      I tried to kill my self under water
      Until I realized I was a scuba diver

  • Wengix

    You said ur born again…. But d last time I checked u made ur girlfriend born again..

    • Anonymous

      thix shit sucks i was coming here for help iand its just sum blog

      • Kid Kazarie

        Didn’t used to be like this in the past other rappers in the community would have helped you out but, the site admin had some personal issues so that has been disbanded. Post some lyrics and I’ll help you all I can if you want.

  • david

    check out this 1 bar punchline.
    I’m so nuts, but 4 candy I’m like snicker.

    • prince

      Please write raps for me

  • Muxe mathwasa.YOUNG-RICH

    Yah long tym wanted to be a real rapper an nw i see am improving my skills even if i dnt hv enough money to buy what i need at that moment an i know god(JEHOVAH) WILL MAKE THE WAY TO BECAME OR MAKE MY DREAM BECAME WHAT ACXATLY I WANT…BY YOUNG-RICH

  • Leilani Cassano

    I tried to make it right, but the pen ran out of ink….

    Is that wordplay?

    • The O.P.

      yes that is word play great job.

    • Anonymous


    • Lil Snytyga

      Nah… It ain’t gat rhyme in it

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