How to Establish Rhythm in a Rap

While rhythm comes natural to some, it might not be so easy for others. Establishing rhythm is crucial when you are freestyling or rapping. Although Blueface and other rappers are known for rapping out of beat, he still has a rhythm to his sound. This is why rhythm is so important, in this article we are going to explain what is rhythm and how you can achieve it.


R.A.P. or rhythm and poetry, is a good acronym for the idea of staying on beat. When you are in this pocket you are able to synchronize with the rest of the music. Many people think that this acronym actually origins the word rap. But in fact, the earliest record of the word “rap” comes from the Oxford English Dictionary. Rap meant “to say an oath sharply, vigorously, or suddenly.” This makes sense because a lot of rap music contains sharp verses that are profound.


Bars are used to measure musical time. A bar is made up of 4 smaller sections called beats. So, there are 4 beats in a bar. When you are rapping you want to hit the syllables on top of the beats. In each bar, there are usually kick drums, snares, and other sounds that always hit on these beats. If you can catch the snare you can usually find your flow and then create rhythm. Try to practice your rhythm with the same type beat track, make sure you hit your words on the sounds that snap into the beat.


Once you have finally caught the beat, you may start counting. You may start with a two-count to get things started. Simple say “two” and “four” during the first half and 2nd half of the beat. When you get used to this speed, you may start a 4 count which makes your rhythm faster. Try bobbing your head on the counts to help you stay in the pocket. These basic counts allows you to take full control on your rhythm and speed. If you can’t quite stay on beat, try landing your rap on top of the snares or kicks. Covering up the kicks and snares with your rap is actually a concept called “The Blanket Theory”. This theory is common in many rap songs. Although we talked about 2 count and 4 counts, most famous rappers use 8 counts and 16 counts.

Alternative Way to Count

All this gibberish is a little hard to understand sometimes, so I am going to tell you a fool proof way to finding the beat. This would allow you to easily find the beat and execute rhythm. Here it is: just count 1-8. one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. You will find that when you do this, the song switches the beat pattern. Fit the 8 count so it covers the bars and when you find the rhythm, you may now execute your rap without falling off beat. You can hear the change or effect using this type of counting.


Establishing a rhythm might be easy for you, but for others it is very complicated. Going over beats and bars can help you understand the structure of hip hop rhythms. Practicing counts can further assist you in building a dynamic flow that form a powerful unique song. These techniques have been used by rappers and we encourage you to practice some of these as well. Speed up your flow when you are ready!

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