Hip-hop is surely beyond good metaphors, end rhymes and delivery. The underlying message also plays a significant in giving substance to the song and a longstanding career. The audience has to be able to relate or follow what is taking place rather than a heap of boastful lines which anyone can write. The prowess I am talking about is exhibited by celebrated emcees like Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Synik (Zim), Mcpotar (yes me), Jay-Z and Lecrae. I realize many rappers get the concept of writing bars and end rhymes but lack in the area of writing something people can follow. I am not talking about conscious vibes, I am talking about a followable story.
Meaning even Lil Wayne writes sensible songs. He sticks to the theme; you don’t want to end up giving props to your home boys in a song about your girl. Pick a story and stick to it. Begin with a concept. You may want to write the lyrics to the concept then title the song, or title the song create a concept and write lyrics. Think of
it as a cover letter… perhaps it’s three a verse song. You can either do t5his in your head or on paper.
Song Title : My City
Concept: “talking about my city and the things that attach me to it”
Verse 1: (introduces the name of the city; when I started living there, The how it looks)
Verse 2: (Talks about my love for the city and what attaches me to the city: friends,memories etc)
Verse 3: (addresses what I would like to see in the city and how I will never forget it even if I lived in another)
What I have done so far is to make sure I stick to the title and concept and I do not exhaust the whole story in the first verse. As you can see with such a guideline (you can add as much detail) even the listener can follow where the song is going. I listen to Tatea The MC’s H-town and I am glad to say it was quite followable. The song took those who have not been in Harare there and it related to those who have been there, however it’s really hard to follow songs like Amilli though they do make a buzz for the punchlines within, eventually they fade because they have nothing worth following. The best emcees are good story tellers. Immortal Technique is a good example. His end rhymes follow the story and not the story following the end rhymes.
As soon as new rappers grasp the concept of planning a song; fan will take their music more seriously. Deeper concepts will be created and the art will live.