New book released: "The Concise Guide to Hip-Hop Music"

My new book has just been released: “The Concise Guide to Hip-Hop Music“. It’s out now in bookstores and on Amazon and features quotes from hundreds of hip-hop legends. The book challenges many popular notions about hip-hop and is a…

Welcome to the HOW TO RAP book series website

Welcome to the HOW TO RAP book series website… Here you’ll find information about HOW TO RAP and HOW TO RAP 2, as well as excerpts from the books and from the extensive interviews done while researching the books. Over 100 hip-hop legends were…

MC Shan: "I lay a reference track and listen to the reference track all week long"

In this excerpt from the How to Rap interviews, MC Shan explains how he makes a reference track while recording, so that he can memorize the lyrics and the flow. MC Shan I usually read it off the paper, lay a reference…

DJ Quik: "I've been listening to a bunch of Beatles records"

In this excerpt from the How to Rap interviews, DJ Quik explains how he looks to the Beatles for inspiration. DJ Quik Honestly, I’m a late bloomer to these guys, but I’ve been listening to a bunch of Beatles records lately and…

Mr. Lif: "I really have a high appreciation of editing"

In this excerpt from the How to Rap interviews, Mr. Lif explains his approach to editing. Mr. Lif I really have a high appreciation of editing, I think that’s the process through which all work shines. It’s rare that I just leave…

Thes One of People Under the Stairs: "I don’t know if content is necessary ever"

In this excerpt from How to Rap 2, Thes One of People Under the Stairs and Crooked I explain how good content isn’t always necessary in order to create good hip-hop. Often the flow and delivery are enough to make a…

Devin the Dude: "It’s a different kind of humor, it’s a hard humor now."

In this excerpt from How to Rap, Devin the Dude and Shock G explain how the humor used in today’s hip-hop differs from the kind of humor that was used in the past. Devin the Dude It’s a different kind…

Speech of Arrested Development: "I had just started to discover rhyming and putting it into more of a melodic style"

In this excerpt from How to Rap, Speech of Arrested Development talks about the melodic style of rapping that he uses. Speech, Arrested Development [For the hit single “Tennessee,”] I just wanted to come up with something unique, and I had just…

Pharoahe Monch: "There’s a lot of good music, but there’s not a lot of great music"

In this excerpt from the How to Rap interviews, Pharoahe Monch talks about choosing a role model for inspiration. Pharoahe Monch Pick a role model, pick an inspiration and go back and find out more about that person… and listen to as much…

Gift of Gab: "It’s gotta be a lot more than the money"

In this excerpt from How to Rap 2, Gift of Gab of Blackalicious and Papoose explain that you have to love the craft of hip-hop in order to be good at it and that you can’t just be in it for…

R.A. the Rugged Man: "I’ll always write to the real beat that I’m rhyming to"

In this excerpt from How to Rap 2, R.A. the Rugged Man and Rampage of Flipmode Squad explain how writing raps while listening to the beat that you’ll be rapping over can help a lot with the flow. R.A. the…

Imani of The Pharcyde: "I don’t like trying to be precise all the time, I like to have some fun"

In this excerpt from How to Rap 2, Imani of The Pharcyde explains the importance of having fun while you’re recording and making music. Sometimes MCs concentrate so much on being technically brilliant that they forget to have fun—this often…

How to Rap Books Used As Main Texts For Linguistics Course

The books How to Rap and How to Rap 2 are being used as primary texts on University of Calgary’s linguistics course entitled “Rap Linguistics”. The course is taught by Darin Flynn, an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics, Languages and Cultures….

Royce Da 5'9": "Flow Is More Important Than Content"

In this excerpt from How to Rap, Royce Da 5’9″ explains why he thinks the flow in rapping is more important than the content (audio of the interview is at the bottom of this post). Royce Da 5’9″ I’d say the flow…

How To Rap Like Eminem

How To Rap Like Eminem Eminem’s style is a combination of various techniques, all of which are explained in the books: HOW TO RAP and HOW TO RAP 2. The following is a run-down of all his major techniques, with quotes from…