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How to Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC
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How to Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC

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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  345 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Clipse, Cypress Hill, Nelly, Public Enemy, Remy Ma, Schoolly D, A Tribe Called Quest, will.i.am—these are just some of the acclaimed artists offering tips and advice in this compelling how-to. Delivering countless candid and exclusive first-person insights from interviews with more than one hundred of the most innovative artists, author Paul Edwards examines the dynamics o ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Chicago Review Press (first published 2009)
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Can't Stop Won't Stop by Jeff ChangBomb the Suburbs by William Upski WimsattEgo Trip's Book of Rap Lists by Sacha JenkinsDecoded by Jay-ZTyrell by Coe Booth
Hip Hop History & Currency
48th out of 103 books — 35 voters
Sentences by Percy CareyThe Tanning of America by Steve StouteBomb the Suburbs by William Upski WimsattHip-Hop and Philosophy by Derrick DarbyThat's the Joint! by Murray Forman
MFA Reading List
6th out of 100 books — 1 voter


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,192)
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Mariel
Oct 02, 2012 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: it disappoints that conjoined twins are more individuals than most
Recommended to Mariel by: I'd rather finger-paint than take a tainted pen and curse the paper
"You send the songs out there 'cause it's true that things kind of land in your backyard like meteorites. Songs can have a real effect on you- songs have been known to save lives. Some of them are little paramedics. Or maybe some will be killers. Some will die on the windshield. And some of them will never leave home. You beat them but they never leave. Others can't wait to get out of here, and will never write. They're ungrateful little bastards. There's only one reason to write more songs. It' ...more
Enrique Santos
If I had to recommend a book to serve as an introduction to hip-hop, I wouldn't hesitate to shove this into someone's face. This is definitely going to be a book I'll keep around to thumb through whenever I'm looking for some inspiration or insight as to what goes behind a good rap or when I want to dive into where specific artists are coming from.

Edwards breaks down the creative process and divides his interview answers in a smooth, logical fashion that should be valuable to anyone who does cre
...more
Jerel
This book was given to me by a friend and colleague who is an entrepreneur in the music industry. He strongly recommended it and praised it as he put it in my hand and said "Just read it." At first, I looked at the cover and when I saw "How to Rap" I kind of sighed, closed my eyes and tilted my head back. I was't that excited and enthusiastic to read the book because it sort of reminded me of one of those "Idiots Guide To..." corny instruction books. However, once I opened the book and started r ...more
Umugaba
I love rap/hip hop music, after reading this book, my love for rap/hip hop music is even greater.

I had no intention of learning how to rap but curious about what the book would say on hip hop. While the book is going through different techniques, I started to pay attention to more details while listening to rap music and realize how really beautiful this music genre is.

I thought I knew rappers but then realized I did not know 3/4 of the ones interviewed for this book. Went on and get their musi
...more
Ben Smith
Great book, best one I've read on hip-hop.

They interviewed many of the best rappers ever and they have an amazing 'flow diagram' in this book to show you how rapping works. Every aspect of rapping is covered in a lot of detail, with famous rappers discussing each and every element and giving you the pros and cons to every approach.

A must-read for any real hip-hop and music fan.
Frank Jones
Incredible book, there is so much history about hip-hop and its techniques in here...
If you're into hip-hop and rap music, then this is THE book to get, because it is all in the words of the rappers themselves and they tell you about classic tracks and all their methods and thoughts about the art form.
100% recommended, there should be more hip-hop books like this.
Mas
May 23, 2012 Mas rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of hip hop music and aspiring emcees/rappers
I have probably gone through this book from cover to cover, but it would stay on my Currently Reading shelf forever, I suppose.
This piece is a testimonial textbook. It's like the kind of reference book you'd buy for a course in college. There should be a course like that, shouldn't it? Rap 101, I'd definitely hop to class everyday, and wake up early for it, or whatever it takes.

The reason I said that it was a textbook because, it needs to be studied chapter by chapter. It's not something you can
...more
Dean Tsang
This is the definitive guide for anyone looking to learn how to become a rapper. Out of all the books I've read so far, this particular guide received a lot of attention from friends, and some people even ridiculed me for reading it. Yet, even though the advice and tips in this book seemed basic and came across as common sense, it was awesome how different MCs all offered alternative perspectives on the construction, practice and execution of the art.

The flow diagram also works wonders- the oth
...more
Ajith
I am a hardcore hiphop listener and always wanted to know about it. I always thought myself as a HipHop know-all until I read this book. It opened a different world of lyrics, it showed me how much stuff are considered before an artist pen a rhyme. It treats hiphop with a respect it deserves. It clearly explains bars, syllables, and many other literary devices that a lyricist should use. And as the name of the book says it will teach you "HOW TO RAP".
Jsanche52
This is a must read. I've been writing music since a young age, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed everything about this book. This book gives you great tips from great old school musicians and I guarantee that you won't be able to put it down once you pick it up
Vivek
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chi Chi
It's weird to have a book read like a VH1 talking head special, but there is all sorts of interesting input from a wide variety of emcees on the particulars of their skill set.
Vanilla Thunder
If you want to be a rapper read this book. A joyful experience from real advice from all successful artists from Kool G Rap all the way to Tech9ne
Moosa Fikry
Best book written about Hip Hop music
Maximilian Klein
How to rap is a minimally glued collection of quotes from B-list, and aging rappers. It attempts to be an informative guide, and at times a tutorial. In practice it is a compendium of mostly ineloquently articulated cliches. Virtually all the rappers, to all the questions - which are as broad ranging from topics as rhyme schemes, syncopation, live performance, and subject matter - answer sic. "I mix that shit it. It's go to be raw. It takes experience."

There were a few moments of intrigue when P
...more
Byron
This book might not be for everyone, but for a certain kind of brother it's essential. If you've ever found yourself on the Internets debating the finer technical points of MCing, first of all it's time for you to pause and reflect, second of all you needed this book yesterday. I already knew everything there is to know about rap music, and even I learned a few things, which means you're guaranteed to learn something. LOL

But I could also see this being a revelation for Fox News types who don't h
...more
David Hockley
This is a must-read if you're a fan of hip-hop.
I was lent the book by a friend who demanded that I read it if I wanted to know the real inside techniques... and I'm so glad I did! I got my own copy now, because seriously, this is a book that you'll want to go over again and again because it covers so much and there is so much to take in.

You also get a really good look into the history of hip-hop because it explains how people like Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, and Kool G Rap innovated and developed a l
...more
Clarence Jones
Best book on hip-hop, bar none!

This is wall-to-wall quotes from the best MCs of all time, they got hold of all the legends, all the classic guys, plus lots of new guys, including Slaughterhouse, Clipse, really lyrical guys, a great selection of underground artists too.

They all provide really insightful quotes on a huge range of subjects, I really can't recommend this book highly enough, it is packed with info that I have not seen anywhere else!

Andre
Great book on elements of the hip-hop game. It doesn't necessarily teach you how to rap, just what different MCs think about the elements.
Heini
A great book for novice rappers seeking to improve their skills or for poetry buffs, who want to understand the nuts and bolts of rapping as a craft. This book is not for people with romantic ideas of art being spontaneous and just something you feel in your heart, man. This is for reductionistic nerds, who grew up disassembling their grandfather's watch just to see what made it tick, and who would like to apply the same approach to rapping.

If you've been rapping for a few years, this book isn't
...more
Adam
"How To Rap". Without a doubt a neccesity for anyone who is serious about developing their lyrical skill and achieving mastery of the respected art of "MCing". One thing that I absolutely love about this book is Paul Edwards choice of artists to interview. This book is one hundred percent, REAL. When you read this book, you aren't getting half wit advice from a wanna-be rap knucklehead that got luky off of one single, and became irrelevant for the rest of his career when the song's hype died dow ...more
Ed Stone
This is THE guide to MCing... it's funny because books went from having pretty much zero coverage of the rapping process, then this book comes out and it has EVERYTHING you could want on the subject.

They really put a lot of work into this book and it shows on every page. I don't know how they got hold of so many of the key guys to go through their styles, but I'm glad they did, because all this history is preserved for future generations of MCs to learn from.
Even if you don't want to learn to ra
...more
Dpruess
As the 1 star suggests, this was a horrible book.Some problems:
- tons of unedited quotes rife with "ums" "likes" "kindas"
- lots of really obvious material repeated again and again, such as "people really appreciate good lyrics." Really??? Thanks!! Because before I read this book, I was strongly considering going for bad lyrics.
There were a few useful points made, and the book made reference to some good songs that I had never heard, so I benefited from checking those out (but it also made refere
...more
Alexx
I liked this book because it explains the art of HipHop building from the ground up: simple rhyming patterns, to multisyllable verses with punchlines. It's interesting to see how rap truly involved over time due to technological advancement in rhyming skills :) The numerous examples brought by, tend to use the same rappers over and over again (one of the few flaws of the book), despite that, I enjoyed it, being a rap fan myself. Having said that, it seems like rap has degenerated over the last 1 ...more
Martin Freecastle
As many other people have said since this book came out... it's the best book you can find on hip-hop music, and definitely on rapping.

Everyone you'd hope to find in a book of this sort was interviewed for it, so there is no way it can be faulted there.
The diagrams showing how flow works are absolutely essential to anyone who wants to learn easily and get to high level in a short time... they make it easy to see how to do complex rhymes schemes and rhythms.

Do yourself a favor if you're a hip-hop
...more
Nik
Nov 03, 2014 Nik rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who want to study hip hop history.
Recommended to Nik by: Amazon
As a writer and avid reader of books on different types of writing, this book wasn't really a "How to" but more of a "introduction to certain rappers" and "How those subject rappers feel about older rappers he or she admires."

This book didn't give basic steps for constructing a rap. It was mostly a history of hip hop. In many instances it was pointed out where current rappers got their style.

I was disappointed because I was looking for something more technical. Possibly a beat to word break dow
...more
Garrett Thomas
I thought the book was very informative and was a good read. I liked the various amount of artists that were interviewed and shined some light on the genre
Sukhdeep Singh
A basic introduction to rap. Good for those who want an insight into the art of rhyming to music. Also good for those who have just started rapping.
昊 陈
Not the book I was expecting. Still informative and worth reading cover to cover anyhow.
Con Robinson
Great book - chock full of info
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Goodreads Librari...: Books not linked to author... 3 15 Jan 19, 2014 08:27AM  
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How to Rap 2: Advanced Flow and Delivery Techniques The Concise Guide to Hip-Hop Music: A Fresh Look at the Art of Hip Hop, from Old-School Beats to Freestyle Rap

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