How To Rap To A Beat ? Tips On How To Stay On Beat

How To Rap To A Beat? ᐉ【7 Tips How To Rap On Beat】Videos And Examples

by Dan Hartnett // July 18 //

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Just before we get into the meat of the today’s subject matter of learning how to rap to a beat.  I created these amazing videos and articles here about counting bars. It’s important that you understand this before you read this article. 

This is where I speak about how to count bars in rap music. I won’t be covering this section again here. So if you find some phrases or words that I use here in this article confusing, please refer to that article above.

Like I mentioned before if you are learning how to rap, it’s best to start off using slower rap beats as it is easier for you to catch the beat and understand where the snare and kicks hit in the song.

Old school boom bap type beats are great for learning how to ride the beat for the first time as the tempo of most old school beats is between 80 – 90 BPM.


I believe that it’s a good idea when you are a rookie to start on the beat. This keeps it easier for you to know when to come in on the beat and where each bar starts and ends.

Later on, when you become more confident in your rap skills you can try out leading into the opening kick drum or slightly after the kick drum. 

Many new artist’s struggle with the fact that they have great sounding rap lyrics and have written some great songs but can’t seem to place it over a beat.

"So what’s the magic formula to keep rapping on the beat ?"

QUIT Rapping And Become A Ghost Writer.
Ghostwriting Is Hot Right Now !  
rap ghostwriter

"RELAX I’m Just Kidding."

No, seriously I spoke to Pat Para from freestyle raps for all a while back on my podcast and I am firm believer in his 2 golden rules for freestyle rapping.


Rule Number: 1 Learn To Enunciate Your Words

Enunciation is critical to keep you rapping on the beat. Nothing sounds more unprofessional than a rapper that cannot enunciate his or her words.  

So when you make lyrics to your rap song the best thing can do at first is practice those words.

Make sure that you can say them clearly. Ask your friends for feedback. Record yourself practicing and listen to the way you pronounce your words. Practice the flow of your favorite rappers. 

I wrote extensively about rap flow in this article. Click here if you want to learn about rap flow.


Rule 2 Don’t Stop Rapping If You Mess Up When Practicing.


Don’t worry if you mess up when you are practicing your raps.

You will never learn how to rap to a beat if you keep stopping when you are practicing.You don’t have to show people your practice rap’s if you don’t want too. So nobody will know you messed up.

You have to give yourself time to develop your rap rhythm. It’s the rhythm that will help you to focus on keeping in time with the beat.

Your rhythm will also help you choose the right words within your raps. If you notice that certain words are killing your flow or you timing to the rap instrumental, changed them up.  


Don’t Pick Fast Rap Beats When You Start Off.

One common problem I see with up and coming rappers is that they pick fast trap beats.

These beats are at a very high tempo and think that they have to match the rap beat. Then the wonder why they can learn how to rap to a beat.

But you don’t you can also rap at half time. Even if the tempo of the rap beat is at 140bpm , you can still rap at half time at 70bpm.

Or vice versa. A lot of the beats that Future raps over are fast trap beats produced by Metro Boomin.

Future never raps fast, his rap flow is always slow. Beats like that of 9th wonder are a good place to start off.

Download Slow Rap Beats 1

The same goes for Rick Ross whose flow is slow but he raps on the beat with faster instrumentals. 

When you are starting out it’s best to practice over slow rap beats. The old school hip hop beats are the best.

This way you give yourself time to learn how to rap on beat and stay on time with the beat


Use The Snare Drum To Help Keep The Rhythm Of The Rap Beat

Using the snare drum to guide you in beat will help you keep your timing right on the beat. This goes back to my earlier article about counting bars in a rap beat.

Please refer back to that article if you are unsure how to count bars in a rap song.  The snare drum in most rap beats hits on the 2 and the 4. You need to keep you focus on the snare drum that hits the 4.

If you keep your attention on that snare drum that hits on the 4 you will be able to keep yourself rapping on a beat.  

So when you are writing rap lyrics for over rap beat , you need to acknowledge that you only have a certain amount of space to your lyrics. Don’t put too many words into a certain bar.

When you first write some lyrics it’s ok to add words that help you develop the story behind the rap song. You have to develop that concept.

But gradually as you become more confident at rapping to this beat, you have to chop and change some lyrics to that it will be easy for you to stay on beat with the instrumental.

Keep a mental note that you will actually have to perform this rap song live. Don’t just stick with the first draft the lyrics that you wrote. Learn to define the lyrics so that certain words won’t kill your flow.


Start Counting The Time You Have In A Specific Bar  

Depending on the BPM {Tempo} of a beat you have only a certain amount of time within each bar.  Each beat that has a different bpm so your time for certain words on the beat that 90 BPM is going to be a different to you time with a beat that at 140 BPM.

Over time knowing these skills will help you, keep a mental note for certain instrumentals. This a skill set that you will have for life and will become second nature to you after practicing to different beats at different BPMs.

Make sure you practice using simple beat or metronome to help you with the rhythm of your song. Not understanding rhythm or not learning how to develop rap rhythm, will kill your ability to keep in time with the beat.



Finding Pockets To Help You Rap In Time With The Beat.

Every rap beat has certain pockets for you attached words too. Some people might refer to this as catching the beat or riding the beat.


Like some rappers use the 1st bar as an opening statement and use the other bars for alliteration and delivering punch lines.



Sometimes it’s hard ←

to wake up in the morning Mind full of demons,

I don’t wanna hear them anymore

Got me heartbroken, fine,  ←

so many babies screaming

Cause they seeing destruction before they a see human being

So they start smoking weed,

we’ll never get our day

Link To Full Lyrics

I know I am again using 2 Pac’s One Day At A Time to accentuate my point , but it’s a good example to use.

You can hear that first line is a statement and the second line has more space for more words. Listen to the words in the second line that stick to certain areas of the beat.




I’m not Mr. N’Sync,

I’m not what your friends think

I’m not Mr. Friendly,

I can be a prick

If you tick me my tank is on empty (is on empty)…


Link To Full Lyrics

These 2 examples above are good example to help you practice staying on beat. Both examples show you words that play of the instrumental.  

Eminem’s example shows you how certain words and alliteration help place emphasis on the second snare hit of each bar. 

In the 2 Pac example, he doesn’t use alliteration, instead, he uses a short opening statement to set the up the next 2 lines of that are in each bar.

 These are two songs that I practice too, and they aren’t even my favorite rap songs. But I find that when I practice these songs, I understand how a rap artist can keep time to a rap beat.


Should I Write Lyrics To The Beat Or Without The Beat ?

This all depends on your skill level. When you start off rapping I would always suggest that rap to a beat. 

This gives you discipline and a structure to guide your rap lyrics. Without the instrumental when you starting off, will hinder your learning experience and your development of key trait you keep to learn how to rap.


This includes rhythm , your rap flow , delivery and keeping time with the beat. Now there is no harm in experimenting without a beat.

To learn new skills you have to break the rules sometimes. But I would wait until you have more confidence in you rap abilities.



Wrapping It Up 


Practice – Use The Examples I Gave Above or Find Similar Songs That You Love.

Know The Basics of How To Rap To A Beat –  

Learn About Counting Bars , Measures

Follow The Snare – Allow The Snare that hits on 2 and the 4 to guide your lyrics

Learn to edit your lyrics – 

Don’t overwrite your lyrics learn to cut out lyrics that are keeping you from raping in time with the beat.

Freestyle Regularly To Different Tempo’s – Freestyling will give you more confidence of your flow and rhythm.

!WAIT! Check Out

"The Rap Lyricists Handbook

Click to play

"The Rap Lyricists Handbookis not just another book to skim through. It's a powerful resource designed to be your go-to companion on your journey to rap mastery. 

With 250 colourful pages of curated advice, practical exercises, and proven strategies, you'll have everything you need to create hit songs that resonate with your audience.

This Over-The-Top Offer Expires Completely In:


You missed out!

Daniel Hartnett Admin
About the Author Dan Hartnett

My aim is to create a songwriters hub of information, my plans will also include information from other songwriters and rap artists on how they create their work and the skills they have acquired over the years in the music industry.

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