How to start a rap:Finding a beat first or writing the lyrics first?

I have been told to write lyrics first, but honestly I find it very hard to add the lyrics to a beat after. What are you guy’s opinions?

March 28th, 2012
Ace23's photo


Who the hell told you to write lyrics first? Find a beat first.

March 28th, 2012
glm's photo


You can do both.

March 28th, 2012

Various people have. I was just making sure I wasn’t doing rap wrong lol

March 28th, 2012

get a idea of a few openers then look for a beat u feel u could flow to an jus go off

March 28th, 2012
Rothko's photo


I always write first, and I won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.

March 28th, 2012

either or…

Either the beat gets you goin, or you start writin, get the flow and what u wanna say down then try to find the beat or hold out on it for the right one.

It isn’t a one or the other, doing it that way is just dumb imo but whatever works for you.

March 28th, 2012
Benihana's photo


It can be hard to find a beat first, because many times, I’ll just be walking down the street, when suddenly I think of a dope line I want to start off with.

March 29th, 2012

Sometimes you hear a beat and just know you want to rap on it and feel it. Other times you just have some inspiration and start writing. It doesn’t really matter as long as you come up with something solid.

March 29th, 2012
Giorgio's photo


i just do whatever comes to me first and let it all flow out naturally (no pope… i don’t know how but someones gonna say something)
I try not to hold back my creativity and spontaneous thoughts if its not good enough for public i just save it

March 29th, 2012

Beat first always. Otherwise your flow will not reliably match up.

You gotta get to know the beat, get the feel of it, take it on a date, make love to it, caress it, then kill it.

March 29th, 2012

thats not true at all…

their’s a million ways to say the same thing, you can change order of the wording, words have synonyms…

It’s more important to have something to say than how you say it. You can always change how you say it to make the beat, I agree you really gotta study the beat but u don’t have to have the beat first…

If you need the beat first I don’t think u have that gut for rappin… u know what I mean? If u don’t then u don’t either lol

March 29th, 2012

well, lyrics.

March 29th, 2012

@SecondComing, I’m coming from the perspective of a producer and composer looking for a finished product to put out on the radio. In my experience you can start with the lyrics first, make a beat to fit it and have it be fine, and I’m not saying I’ve never done it like that either. The problem is that when you are listening to the overall sound of the track, you’ll have less problems building from the ground up.

A rhythmic foundation needs to be established to do anything in hip hop, so yeah, you can write lyrics rhythmically, but the lyrics will be confined by the rhythm anyway. You also can’t just match up the lyrics with any old beat and you also have to make sure they crescendo together and whatnot.

As far as not “having the gut for rappin,” I think it’s exactly the opposite. If you can’t follow the beat, you’re just a writer. When you can successfully write rap verses according to the beat and flow in and out with it, then you’re a rapper.

March 29th, 2012

I guess what I’m trying to say (and this is more of a metaphysical perspective on what a beat is) is no matter what, the beat is always there from the moment the words begin to develop a pattern. If you try writing the lyrics and organize them in a rhythmic fashion, you’re writing to a beat that is implicit, but a beat nonetheless. The beat can then grow into something explicit like an actual audio track that you produce or whatever, but it started as that first rhythmic pattern that you organized the words in.

The biggest point I wanna make is that you should just do what feels most natural, so whatever gives you inspiration, use that, start writing, or beat making/searching and the finished product will be better than a forces set of rules of how to start a rap.

March 29th, 2012