How to Rap Fast Without Mumbling, Messing Up, Or Running Out of Breath
Written by Cameron Mayo
Being able to rap quickly is essential for anyone looking to make an impact in the rap world. Even if it is not your style, sometimes it is good to mix it up to create some contrast in you music. But it’s not always easy. When trying to rap quickly many people either stumble over the rhythms, mess up the lyrics, or run out of breath. For this reason, many rappers dread the sections in their songs that require them to rap fast. Below, I list a few ways to help train your tongue to nail your fast verses.
The best way to prepare for a fast rap verse is to practice. Your tongue, brain, and the beat need to be in perfect sync. According to some of the best fast rappers in the business: Busta Rhymes, Yelawolf, and Tech N9ne, a great exercise is rapping tongue twisters to beat.
This will loosen up your tongue and allow you to rap your normal lyrics faster and improve pronunciation. Longer tongue twisters, will also help you with breath control. When you think you have mastered one, record yourself and play it for someone. They should be able hear every word clearly. If they can’t, it’s back to practicing.
If you do not see how this is supposed to help, slow it down. Set your metronome at 80 bpm and hit each syllable of the tongue twister on each beat. Once you master the twister at 80 bpm, bump it up to 85. Keep this up until you are as fast as your fast verse should be. Then do another tongue twister and repeat.
By practicing with tongue twisters, you will become a better rapper and every verse, not just the fast ones, will sound better.
Another problem with fast rap is forgetting lyrics. The only way solve this problem is repetitions. Some people like to write out lyrics on a piece of paper over and over. Others need to say (or sing) them again and again. I highly recommend both.
The goal is to have the lyrics so ingrained that you don’t need think about what comes next. For a good, fast rap verse, there should not even be time for that.
To start memorizing, write out the verse and, while reading it, rap at half speed. Reading it as you go is important because you don’t want to accidentally learn any wrong words. Repeating the verse a number of times will help you establish the order of the lines.
As you repeat, start reading less and less of the verse and do more from memory. Keeping it slow will give you enough time to remember what comes next. Once you can do it without looking, speed it up a little bit.
In no time, you will have your fast verse locked down.
WARNING: One of the worst things you can do at this point is practicing at full speed. If you make a mistake, you brain will remember you paused in that spot. If you mess up in the same spot again, you are starting to make a habit of that mistake. This is the opposite of what you are trying to do.
When rapping fast, you may end up running out of breath. This is common and there are a few solutions to this problem.
The first is making sure you know the lyrics. Being comfortable with the words will help your body relax and let you breathe easily. You may notice that when you are speaking normally that you rarely run out of breath in the middle of a sentence. Unless if you are writing some Eminem level verses, it is likely that you will be able to speak your lines without extra breaths. (Give this a try. Read this paragraph out loud. You will be surprised how far you get before needing to breathe!)
If you got through that whole paragraph on one breath, you just read 8 sentences! That’s 91 words, 123 syllables, and proof you can slay your fast verse.
To increase how much you can spit out in one breath, let’s improve breathing. If you have ever talked to a singer, you probably have heard them same things like “breathing from your diaphragm” or “taking a deep, LOW breath.” What they are trying to say is that your lungs fill with more by expanding down toward your stomach than up toward your shoulders.
To do this, stand up straight and imagine you are hanging from a string attached to the crown of your head. Your shoulders should be relaxed with you chest nice and open. Now, while keeping your shoulders down, breath in and let your stomach and ribs expand. You should feel a little stretch in your lower back and ribs. This is the correct way to breathe.
It may be a lot to think about at first, but like anything else, some practice will make this second nature. Big, “low” breaths like these will make getting through long and fast verses easy.
If you cannot seem to make it through your fast verse, consider incorporating breathing into the rap. Taking a pause for breath does not have to stop the flow or change the speed of the words. It can also allow time for the previous lyrics to sink in for audience members.
When writing a song, keep your breathing in mind, add regular pauses to allow you to get some air.
These are some great techniques to improve your rapping. They will help loosen up your tongue, learn your lyrics, and prevent you from running out of breath. It will take some practice, but you should soon find your overall speed increasing.
Now that you know how to rap fast lyrics, get out there and start writing some. Spice up your style with a fast verse. It may not be all that fun at the beginning, but as you improve, you will start to love it.
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