How You Can Write Compelling Rap Lyrics: Everything You Need To Know

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So, you’re wondering how to write rap lyrics like the pros? For the average person, it’s daunting to try and emulate the bravado of the charting Drake or Kanye West songs we all hear on the radio, follow this step-by-step guide, and soon, you’ll be well on your way to writing bars that are bound to impress any audience!

How To Write Rap Lyrics

Step One: Find a Beat

While most budding lyricists would assume you just write whatever words come to mind, half of the magic lies in nailing the flow and rhyme scheme to achieve the confident flare that defines the rap genre. For this, you will need a beat to guide you as the starting point for your rap’s rhythmic structure.

You can think of this as the foundation of a house without a good beat, it is nearly impossible to keep the song from sounding amateurish and uncool. For beginners, you can find free beats to practice with on YouTube, which will help get you attuned to listening for patterns that sound “good” to your ear.

Start by making simple, percussive sounds with your mouth, hands, or feet in time with the music to see what sounds best.

Expert Tip: Almost all top-40 songs these days, in any genre, have lyrics that are syncopated with the beat. To give your lyrics the groove that makes the audience want to dance along, put the stronger, emphasized syllables of your writing on the downbeat, or softer second and fourth beats of the track you practice with.


Let’s say that I want to write a rap, and I find this beat that I like on YouTube:

Next, I would listen to it a few times and try to make percussive noises to get a feel for the beat. In this case, my ear is naturally drawn to the following pattern of hard and soft beats:
DA da da da DA da da da DA da

Now that we have this simple rhythm that can be repeated for a four-bar chorus, we can start working towards the actual lyrics!

Step Two: Decide the Theme of Your Rap

Theme of Your Rap
Theme of Your Rap

Like any other genre of music, rap is diverse in lyrical content. You’ll have to decide what type of theme you want your lyrics to portray, do you want a more emotional, anthemic song? A party bop? A battle rap with scorching insults? Or something off-kilter, unique, and a little quirky?

Any of these ideas are valid, but the key takeaway is to stick to your theme so that all of your lyrics stay consistent in tone and message. If you’re writing for a club crowd, rap about money, substances, rivalries, and hookups. For a deeper cut write about your childhood, trauma, and personal struggles that you’ve overcome.

This way, listeners won’t be jarred out of the story you’re trying to tell.

Pro Tip: The internet has a ton of free and easily-accessible rhyming dictionaries, thesauruses, and word association tools. Once you decide on a theme for your rap, search for words that fit this message: for example, if you are writing a song about partying, simply google “words associated with partying.”

While it seems obvious, this may be enough to get your creative juices flowing when you’re stuck in a bout of writer’s block.


Earlier, I decided to write my rap to the beat linked above. After listening to it a few times and getting a feel for the rhythm. I can tell that this beat would be better suited to a fun: confident rap playing in a club, as opposed to an inspirational, storytelling song. I decide, then, that I’ll write rap lyrics on-theme with the party groove of the beat I picked.

With a sense of rhythm and theme, it’s finally time to start writing some actual lyrics.

Step Three: Write the Lyrics for Your Hook

Now comes the hook, one of the most important parts of making a rap song stand out. This is the equivalent of the chorus- the part where the audience will scream along- so make it memorable! Remember, try to write the lyrics with syllables that match the hard and soft beats of the rhythm you just came up with.

Stick to the theme you outlined earlier for yourself, and keep the vocabulary here clever, but simple. You might think that line incorporating “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” is pure genius, but your audience will not. Save your more intellectual bars for the verses, and stick to something catchy for the hook.

Pro tip: Remember those online thesauruses and rhyming dictionaries? Those are about to become your best friends! You can use near rhymes, along with straight rhymes, for a wider array of vocabulary to choose from. If you can make it sound like it rhymes, it rhymes.)


I’ve selected a rhythm from my hook:
DA da da da DA da da da DA da

I also know that I want to write a song for a party or club atmosphere. Now, it’s time to write a four-bar hook that stays consistent with the pattern outlined above. For our purposes. I’ve capitalized the words and syllables that will be said with more emphasis, based on our rhythm.

FLEX on them all, THAT’S how I ball, KObe
HATErs get sunk, DON’T test your luck, DEAD sea
CASH all my checks. CAME to collect. TRUSTee
HANDS in the air, OUT of your chair, GROOVy

This four-bar hook will become the anchor for the rest of my rap, the place I return to intermittently between verses to keep the listener engaged.

Step Four: Write Your Verses

Write Your Verses
Write Your Verses

For a beginner, the best structure for your rap song will be a simple, alternating Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Verse pattern. Depending upon the length of the beat you chose, you can write verses in four-bar increments until you’ve said everything you want!

You can follow the same instructions of Step One to find other rhythmic patterns to work with for your new bars that sound fresh against your hook. Here, you can also crack open some of your more obscure references and wordplay to impress that well-versed in the genre. Quality one-liners are the fastest way to write quality lyrics!

Expert Tip: Verses for raps are often put together in eight-line or sixteen-line structures. If you’re unsure of how long to make each verse, follow this guideline and switch up the flow of the rhythm every four bars to keep the listener’s ear engaged.


At this point, I’ve already become quite familiar with the beat listed above. We have a hook, but we need some verses with a different rhythm.

First, I listen to the beat once more to get a new rhyme scheme in my ear. I’ll use these two structures in an eight-line verse, alternating flows halfway through: da da da da da da da da da da da da DA da da da DA da da (pause) da da da da DA da da

Now I just have to write 8 bars of lyrics to these two patterns, like the following verse. Again, words and syllables are capitalized to highlight how to place emphasis within the listed rhyme scheme.

Play with me and you will feel the heat just like the TROpics,
Mad at me but in the end, I’m still the trending TOPic.
Craters in my wake, but your impact is microSCOpic.
Any song I drop flies up the charts just like a ROCKet,

Dripping LUXury, that’s how it’s suPOSed to be.
Better PAY the fee, or you’ll taste my MAchete.
Say I’m YOUR problem: let’s agree to Disagree,
Your proBLEM, lightweight? It’s your corny RAP, not me!

With that, I have a full-length rap verse! From there, you can repeat the process as many times as you need to complete the structure and your full first draft.

Step Five: Edit Your Lyrics

Edit Your Lyrics
Edit Your Lyrics

As much as every would-be rapper hopes to get amazing lyrics on their first try, it will take some editing to make them sound less awkward and more polished. Sit on what you wrote for a day and come back to it with fresh ears to discern whether your one-liners are as cool as you originally thought they were.

Also, be sure to actually rap your whole song in its entirety, if you can’t do it without feeling winded or overwhelmed, you’ll have to edit your lyrics into a rhyme scheme that gives you gaps to breathe, while still fitting into the structure of the overall song.

You may want to play around with your pronunciation of the lyrics here especially if you utilized near-rhymes, to make sure the whole thing works as a unit. Any parts that sound bizarre can be rewritten and smoothed over.

Pro tip: You may think that you need to imitate the cadence or pronunciation of other big-name rappers to be a success, but it is actually better to keep as close to your normal pattern of speaking as you can!

An affected accent will sound more cringey than how you talk regularly, so do your best to make the rap sound natural, instead of trying to fit a specific sound.


Now that I have my hook and verse. I’ll go back over them a bit later and see if any of the phrasing, pronunciation, or rhythm sticks out as awkward. After running through the entire thing. I notice these two highlighted phrases that sound strange to my ear:

HANDS in the air, OUT of your chair, GROOVy
Play with me and you will feel the heat just like the TROpics,

To make these lines sound more “natural” and colloquial. I re-write them in this way:
HANDS in the air, MOVE out your chair, GROOVy
Play with me and you might feel the heat just like the TROpics,
Now I am more comfortable with the way my rap sounds when I practice it out loud.

Of course, this portion is all up to personal taste, be as weird and wild as you want, if you think it suits you and your song. The best way to come across as confident is to feel confident, after all.

Step Six: Add Polish

With a completed second draft now is the time to peruse your lyrics and look for spots to perfect! Don’t like a word you used in your hook? Look up a synonym to replace it with that fits better! Feeling unsure about your obscure reference in your verse? Consider whether it truly fits the theme of your rap. and edit accordingly.

Now is also the time to add some basic melodies to your flow, if you so choose. Many of today’s household names employ the technique of introducing a short, simple melody along with their rap cadence to make it smoother for the listener. Although this is not crucial to writing rap lyrics, per se. it can help elevate those lyrics from “good” to “great.”

Expert Tip: With how common rap songs are on the radio, these days. It may be helpful to ask an outside, amateur ear for their opinion. Are you trying to write a club banger? Perform your rap for a trusted friend and ask them if they can picture your song playing on a night out.


Linked below is a popular track by Lil Nas X, titled “Industry Baby.” Listen to how in the verses, Lil Nas X incorporates a simple melody to make the overall flow of the lyrics smoother for the listener.

The common words that rappers use and their meaning

1. Money-Related Terms

  • Mill – A million dollars.
  • Course note – Anything larger than a $2 note.
  • High rollin’ – Making some good money.
  • Dough – Money more than 4 stacks (multiple).
  • Funny money – Counterfeit Money.
  • Bag of sands – $1000.
  • Scrilla – Cash.

2. Violence-Related Terms

  • 187 – It’s homicide.
  • Strap up – Get ready to fight.
  • Mark – A targeted victim.
  • Chopper – It is an automatic rifle like an AK47.
  • Tommy – Al Capone’s favorite gun that was made popular.
  • Cap – A bullet.
  • Glock – A handgun.

3. Drug-Related Terms

  • Gas – Highly potent Marijuana
  • Cookie – Marijuana
  • Bubbly – Champagne
  • Yayo – Cocaine
  • Lean – Codeine
  • Square – Grit
  • Molly – Mdma

4. Location-Related Terms

  • Stu – Studio
  • Yard – Prison
  • 4 walls – A room
  • Sweatbox – A van used to transport people in and out of prison
  • Crib – A house
  • Pad – An apartment
  • Trap – A location or building where illegal drugs are distributed

5. Other Famous Terms

  • Boujee – Badass
  • Hoe – The term used for prostitutes
  • THOT – That Hoe Over There
  • Getty – Friends get together
  • Homies – Very close friends
  • Whip – A car
  • Nuttin’ – Ejaculating

How do Beginners start rapping?

Rapping is very unique and most people are being famous because of it, and it really a great talent where you can express your feelings.

Here are some steps that you need to consider when learning to rap

Steps that you need to consider when learning to rap
Steps that you need to consider when learning to rap

1. Listen to the notorious rappers

Pay attention to rappers who tested accepted practices and their conditions for their version of music.

2. Rap as you compose

Similarly, as you compose attempt to do it in a rapping way so anyone might hear. This won’t simply set you up a long way ahead yet, in addition, assist you with diminishing any violation of social norms at a live occasion.

3. Try to acquire from bungles

It is generally expected that at various events, the rhyming will not come out just how you would have favored it anyway it had worked with the group.

4. Record your rap practice

When you are ready with your sections, have a go at rapping and recording them. Right, when you record your focus on yourself and moreover recognize two things-your voice on record and your rapping style.

5. Practice rapping step by step

To genius in the show and before a live group, you must practice step by step with the objective that you can be impromptu later on the off chance that you wish.

6. Freestyle flawlessly

However it may appear an excessive amount to request at first, but with training and exhibitions, it would be very simple.


Congrats! You found a suitable beat and theme for your rap, wrote a killer hook and verses to match, and edited your lyrics to perfection. Now that you have a foolproof formula for how to write rap lyrics, you can start working on your absolutely fire mixtape! We hope to hear your music on the radio, alongside Drake and Kanye West sometime soon!

Got any questions about the process of writing rap lyrics? Comment below and ask about what wasn’t covered.

About Rencel Leyran