Learning how to make a rap song is not something commonly taught when starting your music career (unless you’re going through artist development). It’s expected of you to know how to make a rap song if you want to be a rapper. But why should you know how to do something when no one has taught you how?
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand why it’s expected of you to know how to rap if you want to be a rapper. It’s a form of elimination or a barrier to entry. Meaning, the people who know how to rap have taken the time to study and research in their free time. They have drive and determination that rappers need to be successful.
Here’s the problem with that thought: without guidance, you’re going to copy whatever makes the most sense to you. For a lot of new rappers, they’re just going to copy whatever style is popular or whatever style their favorite artist has.
So now the magic question is, how do I teach you how to make a rap song without it sounding cheesy and generic?
I think the answer is: instead of teaching you, I’ll just guide you on the process (which is what this post is going to do). So without further ado, let’s get into it.
What Are You Going To Rap About?
One of the first things you should do before you make a rap song is brainstorm what you’re going to rap about. Without a topic for your rap song, you won’t have any direction to help you make a good song.
How to find a topic for your rap song?
When trying to come up with a topic for your rap song, think about your rap persona (or how you’d like your rap persona to be). You want the subject of your rap song to align with who you are as a rapper.
You wouldn’t want to create a song reminiscing about how your ex-girlfriend broke your heart if your rap persona is tough and heartless.
Start Writing Your Lyrics
This part of making a rap song is self-explanatory. After you know what you’re going to rap about, it’s time to start writing the lyrics.
I’ve always been a big fan of using Google Drive to write lyrics so that they’re accessible in the cloud when needed and shareable with your team in the future. Sharing files quickly and securely becomes extremely valuable as you grow.
Recording Your Rap Song
The next thing to do after writing your lyrics is to start recording your rap song.
Once you get to this stage of the process, you have two choices:
- Record your rap song at home
- Record your rap song at a music studio
There is no perfect choice. Each option has it’s pros and cons (I’ll list some below):
Recording your rap song at home
Pros of recording your rap song at home
- You can take your time recording your rap song instead of being required to work within a set number of hours.
- Recording at home is cheaper if you plan on recording a lot of music over time.
- You get to learn your voice and experiment with different tones.
Cons of recording your rap song at home
- You must have a home recording studio (or USB microphone at the bare minimum) and some other equipment.
- You have to learn how to engineer your music
- You won’t have a professional sound while you’re still learning how to engineer
Recording your rap song at a music studio
Pros of recording your rap song at a music studio
- You have someone more experienced available to help with making your recording sound good.
- You don’t need to own any equipment to make your rap song
- The cost isn’t expensive if you’re only recording one rap song
Cons of recording your rap song at a music studio
- Can be costly if you plan on recording more than one rap song
- The engineer may record your track without helping you improve it.
- You only have a set amount of hours to record your rap song. These set amount of hours can rush the process and leave you with a lackluster song.
Mix/Master Your Rap Song
Once you’ve recorded your rap song, the next thing you need to do is get it mixed/mastered.
Recording your rap songs at home?
If you’re recording your songs at home, you’ll have the tools necessary to mix your songs as well. It’s not uncommon for rappers recording at home to mix their music as they’re recording it. Mixing your songs as you’re recording them becomes quicker over time due to being able to create presets for your voice and sound. Presets give you a decent starting ground for mixing your vocals and rap song.
Recording your rap songs at a music studio?
If you’re recording your music at a music studio, getting your song mixed may be different. If you’re working with an audio engineer that cares, they may also put together a rough mix as you’re recording. If they don’t care, they may record your rap vocals, wait and see how much time you have left on the clock, and put together a rough mix that fits into the time slot. Trying to mix a song based on how much time is remaining on a time slot can lead to a low-quality mix. I’d always suggest getting the raw project files and track-outs to give you more flexibility for getting your song mixed by someone else.
Regardless of how you record and mix your record, you’ll still want to get it mastered.
Now I’m not going to lie to you. Your rap song doesn’t need to be mastered to build fans and grow your music career. However, the reason to have your song mastered is that once you release this song, it’s going to follow you forever. So I’d highly recommend getting your song mastered if it’s in the budget.
Getting your rap song mastered is usually done by sending your mixed, tracked-out files to a “mastering engineer.” However, if you’re recording your music at home, there are programs available (like Ozone) that can help you master your song.
It’ll be up to you to decide what route you’d like to take for mastering. The only important part is to make sure you get your song mastered and make sure it sounds relatively good.