About the Process
This was HARD!!!! I’ve always admired rap as an art form and wished I was good at it, but I now have a new found level of respect for rappers, and I want to do this again! I used a Ghostface Killah instrumental called “Tones Rap” that I found on Spotify and added words, rap, and a hook to it! If you look, you’ll see I am a few days behind in posting this song. This took me completely outside of my comfort zone. It is the first time I’ve ever created a rap and there were a few different challenges that had to be overcome to make this happen.
- Finding a rapper voice! Rapping is rhythmic talking. You have to change your diction to make the phonetics of words flow more freely. Rs or no Rs, or over accentuated Rs? Do I need to open my mouth wider than usual? Man, I have to breath a lot! monotone? Vary the pitch? What kind of attitude or mood? I found myself imitating different rappers. There are so many expectations on who can or cannot rap. I’m an overeducated middle class white guy with a big vocabulary and a rather conservative demeanor. Will that work? I listened to other rappers who might have a similar background to myself. Aesop Rock grew up right down the road from me! Checked him out for a few hours. He kind of sounds like a Long Island Soccer Mom who was previously a man. I love it. I listened to Sage Francis – somewhere between a slam poet and rapper, and then I listened to early Eminem.
- Finding the flow. Great rappers have a phrasing style that is simultaneously complicated, musically engaging, yet seemingly natural! To make it complex, engaging, and natural together is a quite the feat. Being I don’t have much of a rapper voice, I wanted to make sure that my flow was at least musical. I did about 45 takes with different rhythmic ideas for my phrases until I settled on something that felt as close to these three things combined as possible. I added and removed little words to make it work as I altered the phrasing.
Rhyming complexity. This is where I had the most fun! Making lines rhyme, and adding secondary rhymes within each line! This is where I felt the most artistic satisfaction:
Headlines attack, a fracking of the mind
Drilling Line after line, all is black in no time.
Drops of Pitter patter on the roof of my soul
soon a whole sea of mind control,
Leaks in through my peep hole
down the drain goes my daily mental pain.
Killing insiders with outsiders, (and) both insane
the same name, two sides but one game
Both die in this bout
vice versa inside out,
They bothy’ll curse ya in self doubt, they both coerce ya to be proud
They think their farmers but their cows,
Trapped below as I watch them bleed out