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Explore the Craft of Writing
American Poetry

Rap is verse set to a beat and is usually written in musical bars even though the verse is spoken or chanted rather than sung to a melody. Some believe the term "rap" refers to "rapid rhyme" and Rap competitions encourage off the cuff, spontaneous composition. The rapid fire of words is a distinct element of the genre. Rap in the dictionary means "to hit" and that is exactly what Rap does, it hits the beat. Originating in the African American community, associated with hip-hop and a "gangsta" life style, it is the fastest growing, most popular verse of today.

In researching the form, I found a video on line on How to Write Rap and was blown away watching a tatted rapper using street language to explain the nuances of rhyme as well if not better than any college professor. He explained the need to use compound words, complex rhyme schemes and slant rhyme to capture the audience. He set rap apart from simple verse. Rap isn't simple and it isn't just off the cuff. It is taken very seriously by those who write the lyrics and clearly someone has studied the basics of good composition and adapted it to what is happening in the streets now.

The elements of Rap are:

  1. usually written in 12 to 16 bars which could be equated with "lines"
  2. podic with approximately 4 strong beats or stressed syllables and any number of unstressed or lesser stressed syllables. Rap usually is 4 strong beats to the bar and it is imperative the lyrics stay on the beat with the background music.Rhythm and flow are emphasized
  3. rhymed, rhyme is an intregal element of rap and compound rhyme, complex rhyme schemes, internal rhyme and slant rhyme are all encouraged.
  4. written in 3 verses or strophes of approximately 12 to 16 lines. These strophes are often different vignettes.
    • an opener that grabs the audience, pulls them in and sets the stage,
    • the subject explained and expanded upon.
    • the conclusion, pulling it all together and ending with something to remember.
  5. sometimes written with a chorus of 6 to 8 bars or lines which is repeated between each strophe and acts like a bridge to the next verse.
  6. "pulled from emotion".


P. Diddy (Puff Daddy)  Neptunes
Album: The Saga Continues...
Song: Diddy

Yeah.. it's Bad Boy baby
(Yeah, c'mon) Neptunes (mm, mm, mm, mm, c'mon)
And we won't stop (I like this right here)
Cause we can't stop (yeah)
Yeah, let me tell you somethin
Yeah, check this out

[Verse One]
Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick
I was on 1-2-5 and Saint Nick
Chillin with this chick named Tondalea
Was a hot girl and everybody wanted to slay her
But she wasn't fond of players, only wanted ballers to spoil her
with six figures and camcorders
So what you tryin to tell me dear?
I got Bently, Benson and Mr. Belverdere
And I just want to blow your mind
I'm talkin literally blow your mind
My repetoire is menage-a-trois and exotic cars
Chillin with the hottest stars
And it ain't no stoppin this
I can't help it I'm a optomist
And I'ma make ya head bop to this
And at the end you gon' rock to this
Now say my name, c'mon
[Chorus: Neptunes]
D the I the D the D the Y, the D the I the D
It's Diddy (Hold up!) It's Diddy (That shit's crazy!)
The D the I the D the D the Y, the D the I the D
It's Diddy (Hold up!) It's Diddy (Say whaaat?!)
[Verse Two]
Aiyyo, I came in the door, I said it before
I never the ladies hypnotize me no more
But.. but back to the manuscript
Cause I don't think you can handle this
From New York to Los Angeles
I think the whole world scandalous
I'm just tryin to keep the candles lit
Let the party people dance to this
Get out your seats and clap your hands to this
Because I came too far for me to be bourgeoise
It's a Bentley to you, to me it's a blue car
So Branson pass me a jar
Cause these cats done went too far
Yeah one phone call send two cars
And I still get searched by security guards (that's right)
I guess that's what I have to do
Take the game international, now what you call me?
(La La La La La La La La La La La La)
C'mon work it out girl
I'm tryin to see you work it out girl
(La La La La La La La La La La La La)
C'mon work it out girl
I wanna see you work it out girl
[Verse Three]
Now hold up, stop (stop) now wait a minute
We don't stop we rock cause ain't a limit
My aim is winnin, got Asian women that'll change my linen
after I done blazed and hit 'em, but
I just wanna rock wit you (that's right)
And take it straight to the top with you
And do what I gots to do, if it's possible
Cause I ain't trying to stop you boo
I, got an agenda, got on a Ninja
One wheelin and killin it not to offend ya
That's when I met this chick named Brenda
Tender, her whole body bend like fender
So let me see you shake it girl (c'mon)
I just wanna see you shake it girl (c'mon)
For the return of the Don, the world in my palm
My moms calls me Sean but y'all call me
(La La La La La La La La La La La)
C'mon work it out girl
I'm tryin to see you work it out girl
(La La La La La La La La La La La)
C'mon work it out girl
I wanna see you work it out girl

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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