How To Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC by Paul Edwards

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

“How to Rap is classic in an art that is just coming into a definition of itself. Everyone who wants to go to the next level needs this book, it’s the inside and outside of the trade.” Nikki Giovanni: one of the most widely-read poets in America and one of Oprah Winfrey’s twenty-five ‘Living Legends’

The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC
by Paul Edwards
Foreword by Kool G Rap

With a foreword by Kool G Rap and interviews with over 100 major MCs, HOW TO RAP: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC guides the reader through the artform of Rap in the words of the artists, giving an inside look behind their creative processes and techniques.

Artists interviewed exclusively for the book include classic MCs and groups such as Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, Mobb Deep, AZ, Jurassic 5, Cypress Hill, Pharoahe Monch, Boot Camp Clik, Masta Ace, and A Tribe Called Quest, as well as more recent artists such as Clipse, Styles P, The Black Eyed Peas, Crooked I, Immortal Technique, Royce Da 5’9″, Papoose and Nelly.

HOW TO RAP breaks MC’ing down into content, flow, writing, and delivery with topics such as writing in your head, punching-in vocals, and interacting with the crowd all tackled from different angles by numerous pros.

The book also features the first complete breakdown of “flow”, allowing readers to create tongue-twisting compound rhyme styles like Kool G Rap and Eminem, complex conversational flows like Nas, Jay-Z, and OC, the classic true school patterns of Melle Mel, and everything in between.

Available at all fine bookstores and from Amazon

For more info on the book, visit

About Paul Edwards
Paul Edwards holds a master’s degree in postmodernism, literature, and contemporary culture from University of London and has done extensive research on Hip-Hop lyrics, interviewing 104 MCs for HOW TO RAP.

About Chicago Review Press
Chicago Review Press is also known for releasing classic work on African-American culture by H. Rap Brown and Assata Shakur.

“A complete guide to the art and craft of the MC, anyone who’s serious about becoming a rapper should read this first. Proof positive that rap is more than just talking over music – a vital and vibrant expose of a much misunderstood art form.” – Hip Hop Connection

HOW TO RAP: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC

by Paul Edwards
Foreword by Kool G Rap

Part I: Content

Content Topics: Real-Life, Fictional, Controversial, Conscious, Club/Party

Content Forms: Braggadocio/Battling, Conceptual, Story, Abstract, Humorous

Content Tools: Imagery, Similes, Metaphors, & Analogies, Slang, Vocabulary, Wordplay, Punch Lines

Part II: Flow

How Flow Works
: The Flow Diagram, Beats and Bars, Syllables & Stressed Syllables, Fitting the Lyrics to the Beat, Rests, Overlapping Bars, How Is the Flow Diagram Useful?, More Examples

Rhyme: Perfect Rhyme, Assonance, Alliteration & Consonance, Compound Rhymes, Coming Up with Rhymes

Rhyme Schemes: Types of Rhyme Scheme, Extra Rhymes, Number of Rhymes in a Bar, Rhyme Placement

Rhythm: Coming Up with Rhythms, The Pattern Diagram, Patterns of Rhythms, Rests

Part III: Writing

The Writing Process
: Research, Ways of Writing Lyrics, Places to Write, Times to Write, How Long Does It Take?, Writing in One Go or in Pieces, Keeping or Changing the Process

Beats and Freestyling: Writing with or without the Beat, Picking Beats, Rapping & Producing, Freestyling

Structuring, Editing, & Selecting Lyrics: Song Structure, Editing Lyrics, Selecting Which Lyrics to Use, Archives, Selecting Singles

Writing with Other People: Writing in a Group, Guest Verses & Other Short-Term Collaborations, Ghostwriting, Producer Writing Input

Part IV: Delivery

Vocal Techniques
: Breath Control, Enunciation, Vocal Style, Taking Care of Your Voice

In the Studio: Reading or Memorizing the Lyrics, Practicing the Vocals, Deciding Where to Breathe, Guide Vocals, Recording over Several Takes or in One Take, Number of Takes, Doubling Up & Ad-Libs, Further Editing the Lyrics, Producer Vocal Direction

Performing Live: Confidence & Showmanship, Using the Mic & PA System, Rocking the Crowd, Being Spontaneous, Improvising & Freestyling, Adding Something Extra, Working with a Hype Man, DJ, or Group, Learning from Other Artists’ Performances, Rehearsing

Final Words
Interviewed Artists

“How to Rap marks a cultural coming-of-age for Hip-Hop the first comprehensive poetics of this new literary form.” – Dana Gioia, US poet & former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

Available online at

Also available at fine bookstores everywhere!

MCs Interviewed

Public Enemy
Black Eyed Peas
Kool G Rap
Big Daddy Kane
Mobb Deep
Cypress Hill
A Tribe Called Quest
D-Block/The LOX
David Banner
Pharoahe Monch
Jurassic 5
The Pharcyde
Black Moon
Masta Ace
Del The Funky Homosapien
DJ Quik
Immortal Technique
Royce Da 5’9″
Schoolly D
Remy Ma
Shock G
Slum Village
Dilated Peoples
Aesop Rock
Brand Nubian
Lady Of Rage
Arrested Development
Souls Of Mischief
Devin The Dude
MC Shan
Killah Priest
Rah Digga
Tha Alkaholiks
Heltah Skeltah
Poor Righteous Teachers
Smif N Wessun
Little Brother
Crooked I
Gorilla Zoe
Joell Ortiz
MC Serch
Freestyle Fellowship
Ill Bill
R.A. The Rugged Man
Tech N9ne
Cannibal Ox
Jedi Mind Tricks
Zion I
People Under The Stairs
Bishop Lamont
Brother Ali
El Da Sensei
7L & Esoteric
Mr Lif
Guerilla Black
40 Cal
Big Noyd
Glasses Malone
Hell Rell
Planet Asia
Spider Loc
The Federation
Stat Quo
Bobby Creekwater
One Be Lo
Pigeon John
Omar Cruz
Ugly Duckling
Mighty Casey

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.