Shout out to Piano Fangaz aka PistolGripBeats for this comment, it’s given me some dope ideas for some future posts so make sure you stay tuned!
Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this shall we?
Finding Your Unique Rap Style: Find Yourself
Look, I’ll be dead honest with you, this whole topic I can’t give you the solution on a silver platter.
This will require you doing a lot of soul searching, thinking, and doing the work yourself.
With that said, it goes to show for the most successful emcees (both underground and mainstream), that owning yourself, where you come from, and the environment that raised you play a MAJOR ROLE in how the best rappers get a unique style.
Kendrick Lamar is a perfect example. This guy comes from Compton, California – THE MECCA of Gangsta Rap! On top of that his family comes from Chicago and if you listen you can hear that Midwest influence.
Notice how he manipulates his own voice (more on this in the second part below on voice inflection), if you know music you know that this is very similar to what the P-Funk artists used to do that then got picked up by the West Coast during the G-Funk era.
His WHOLE style is based on him knowing himself, where he comes from, and owning it. People can identify with him not only because he’s a dope lyricist, but because that story is shared by countless numbers of people.
I don’t care if your a hick from Nebraska who grew up on a farm, OWN THAT SHIT! Because guess what?
There are millions of country bumpkins out there just like you who love Hip Hop and will identify with you.
Don’t be afraid to make that track about muddin’ and shootin’ squirrel!
Finding Your Unique Rap Style: Voice Inflection
Continuing where we left off with Kendrick Lamar, let’s talk about vocal inflection shall we?
This is the definition you get when you type “voice inflection” into Google Search. What we are focused on is the modulation and pitch or tone of your voice.
Kendrick Lamar is one of the masters of vocal inflection. There are countless songs to choose from so let’s choose a popular one – “Swimming Pools”
The whole song is a lesson in voice inflection. Take note of how his voice goes from screwed to high pitched – this also serves a purpose of showing the ridiculousness of being drunk itself.
There is an ENTIRE THEME to this track, not just the hook or verses and bridges, but down to the subtle hint of voice inflection of the screw and high pitch to emphasize the point the’s making.
So basically he’s using these techniques as tools to compliment his style and message.
You see I could sit here and make a reverb tutorial or AutoTune but it would do you NO GOOD if you don’t have your message down pact!
That’s why finding yourself is so damned important to the point I can’t stress it enough. Without that nothing else will help you.
Finding Your Unique Rap Style: Slang
Do you have your own slang where your from? Something no one else has used before?
You do? GREAT! Then utilize that in EVERY SONG and make your delivery (aka voice inflection) catchy as hell.
This alone will set you apart from everyone else and people from across the world will start using your local slang!
For example, where I’m from whenever someone has dirt weed we call that “Huff”.
I want you to really listen to locals talk where your from, your friends and your family. See how they say words and see if there’s something common in the accent – then use it in your tracks!