RAP RHYME SCHEMES -{Checklist For Beginners}

How To Utilize Rap Rhyme Schemes In A Rap Song ? {Checklist}

by Dan Hartnett // September 22 //

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In this article, I’ll be teaching you guys about what you can do to use rhyme schemes well if you’ve never used them before, what kind of rhymes you can use well, and what you should avoid so that you don’t end up stumbling over your own words when you use too many rhymes.

What is a rhyme scheme in a rap song and how can I incorporate it into my lyrics?

A rap rhyme scheme is the order or pattern of rhymes that you can find in a rap verse or hip hop lyrics. People usually refer to this by using letters to indicate which lines rhyme and which have no rhyme at all. In this case, lines with the same letter all rhyme with each other.

There are instances where rappers don’t use rhyme schemes, but it’s all up to you as a writer. There are some that can easily use rhyme schemes and there are some that don’t even bother with the subject altogether.

But to use the rhyme scheme, you’ll need to know what kind of rhymes you should be using, right? There are numerous rhymes that you can use, but I’ll be giving you guys a few so that you don’t get drowned in rhymes.

Common Rhyme Types In Most Rap Songs

  • Perfect Rhymes

These rhymes are categorized by how many syllables are included in the rhyming words, which is determined by the position of the final stressed syllable. The categories are, Single, Double, and Triple.

Single: These rhymes are the easiest and the most common out of the three. This type of rhyme has the stress on the final syllable such as: this, miss, kiss, diss, hiss.

Double: These are a little more difficult than single rhymes since it has stress on two syllables, usually the second to last to the final syllable of words like:borrow, sorrow, morrow.

Triple: The hardest of the three, these words has the stress on the third to last syllable of the words. Examples of these kinds of rhymes are: procrastination, explanation, destination

  • General Rhymes

These rhymes are much more lenient with how your rhyming rap words are structured. There are a handful of categories that fall under general rhymes so let’s look at some of them.

Syllabic: These rhymes sound the same but they don’t have any stressed vowels in them. Examples are: ranger, danger, dodger

Imperfect: A rhyme between a stressed syllable and an unstressed one. Like: bling, staring or four, contour

Weak: This is just like the imperfect rhyme. The only difference is that this kind of rhyme is between two sets of one or more unstressed syllables. For example:Encore, underscore and station, interrogation

Semi-rhyme: This rhyme is basically a rhyme with an extra syllable in the other word. Examples are: flow, snowball and door, boredom

Forced: These sort of rhymes can be easily looked over but are helpful when making rap songs. These words rhyme with an imperfect match in sound like:streak, leap and mean and bring

  • Slant Rhymes

This is a subcategory to General rhymes. These rhymes are made by having your rhymes matching in their vowels or consonants.

Assonance: These are more commonly used when you think about slant rhymes. These rhymes have matching vowel sounds. For example: hale, shake and feud, you.

Consonance: These are the counterparts to assonance. Instead of rhyming with the vowels, the consonants are the ones to match. Examples for this are: passive, plastic and rabies, robbers.

  • Identical Rhymes

Identical rhymes are classified when not only the vowels but also the onsets of the rhyming syllables are identical. For example: scribe, prescribe and fair, affair.

Punning Rhymes: They are a type of identical rhyme where the words sound exactly the same but do not have the same spelling and meaning. For example: bare, bear and stare and stair.

  • Multisyllabic Rhymes

They’re also known as compound, polysyllable rhymes, and colloquially known in the hip-hop community as multies, are rhymes that contain two or more words that rhyme when put together. They’re used a lot in rap songs and in freestyles, and is considered a hallmark of complex and advanced rapping.

An example I’ll be giving is from MF DOOM in FigaroThe rest is empty with no brain but the clever nerd
The best emcee with no chain ya ever heard

With that out of the way, we can know talk about rhyme schemes. As I’ve told you already, rhyme schemes are classified by the format and structure of where you place your rhymes in a verse. It makes your lyrics easier to remember and follow while keeping your audience entertained.

For simplicity and to easily understand the verses, most writers label their rhyme schemes with letters like ABC or numbers like 123. For complexity, some people go with A1A1 or 1a1a, which means that there is more than one rhyme in the line.

But how will you use your rhyme scheme? For how long will you use this scheme in the same song? How many can you use? And where should you put them? Do you have all these questions in your head?

Without further ado, let’s get going with learning about rhyme schemes.

Example Of Rappers that use Rhyme Schemes
  • Tail Rhyme

They’re also known as end rhymes. These are the most basic of rhymes schemes and there are two ways that you can use this scheme.

You can either go with the AABB rhyme scheme, which means that the first and second lines rhyme while the third and fourth lines rhyme, or you can go with the ABAB rhyme scheme, which means that the first and third lines rhyme, while the second and fourth lines rhyme.

Another variation in this type of rhyme scheme is the ABBA scheme where you can have the first and last lines rhyme and the second and third lines rhyme.

As an example, I’ll be using Jay Z’ song What We Talkin’ About, where he uses the AABB scheme in one of his verses.

I'm talking about real s***, dem people playin',
What is you talking bout, I dunno what y'all sayin',
People keep talking about "Hov take it
I'm doing better than before why would I do
  • Inner Rhymes

Internal rhymes occur within a single line of verse, or between internal phrases across multiple lines. They’re a very different contrast from end rhymes, a.k.a. tail rhymes. They’re a little harder to master but is an amazing technique to use if you want to stay away from the usual AABB rhyme scheme.

The example I’ll be giving you guys is a snippet from Black Thought’s Respond/React.

The attractive assassinblastin the devil trespassin
Master gettin cash in an orderly fashion
Message to the fake n**** 
Slow up Ock, before you get dropped and closed like a 

  • Off-centered Rhyme

This is rarely used and very uncommon, but is very effective if used correctly. This rhyme scheme is characterized by placing a part of the rhyme scheme in a place of the verse that doesn’t line up with the other part of the rhyme.

I’ll be giving you guys Lil Wayne’s Pop Bottles for an example.

Okay start with straight shots and then pop bottles
Pour it on the models, shut up bitch, swallow

  • Holorime

This is the hardest of rhymes to achieve. It’s more commonly used in French and more so in poetry than in English and in rap songs. To create a holorime, you’ll need to able to rhyme whole lines with each other.

Not many rap artists can use holorimes in their songs, but the most notable one would be MF DOOM. The example I’ll be using is from his song Meat Grinder.

Tripping off the beat kinda, dripping off the meat grinder
Heat niner, pimping, stripping, soft sweet minor
China was a neat signer, trouble with the script
Digits double dipped, bubble lipped, subtle lisp midget
  • Broken Rhyme

These rhyme scheme can be easily done if you have extensive knowledge of the English vocabulary and then some. Also known as Split Rhymes, this kind of rhyme is produced by dividing a word at the end of a line to make a rhyme with the end of another word.

Still, it is also rarely used but can be a nice change from the typical end rhyme so that your lyrics would not become predictable and boring.

You now know the basic rhyme schemes and the kind of rhymes that you can use to create the best bars with the time and practice needed. But there are still some things that you need to remember when writing your rap lyrics.

10 Point List for Using Rhymes and Rhyme Schemes In Rap Songs

  1. Research about everything

Naturally, this is the one of the most important parts before writing down your verses. You’ll need to know what to write about and what sort of words you can use. The use of a dictionary can be very helpful here. If possible, write down what you want to input into your song so that you can have a quick look at what sort of subject you’d want to rap about.

You’ll also need to know about the other kinds of rhyme schemes you can use. There are limitless possibilities as to what rhyme scheme you can use so it’s always good to look things up every now and then to refresh yourself. Or just come here and read everything I mentioned above!

  1. Write down your ideas

There are many things that you can write down as part of your hip hop lyrics, but you’ll have to be wary of the current events around the world and the kind of audience that will be listening to you. You wouldn’t want to offend your fans or anything.

Now you have all your ideas and thoughts, you can begin writing down your bars. If you don’t know how to do that, just go over to the article I wrote on how you can write down bars and the structure that you can use so that the song you’ll write will be unique and have your touch. I also have an article on how you can create amazing hooks, so be sure to read up on that one.

  1. Read out loud

Since a typical line consists of 4 beats, try reading out your lyrics to a simple four beat. If you can do so easily without stumbling over your words, then you can go ahead and start rapping to the beat of the instrumental you’ve chosen.

If not, you’ll need to either rap a little faster or do the most dreaded thing any writer faces in his/her career: rewriting. This is an important part of writing lyrics for yourself or for someone else. If the rapper themselves can’t deliver the lyrics well and clearly, then it’s going to be impossible for the audience to understand a single thing.

  1. Rewrite when needed

Maybe your lyrics can’t fit into the hip hop instrumental you chose. Maybe you suddenly mumble over yourself when you think you can deliver the lines perfectly and eloquently. Or maybe you just thought of another amazing line that you can use instead of what you have on your paper. Then, it’s time to rewrite!

Rewrite your lyrics if you know you can’t deliver the words perfectly and with the flow and cadence you want. You’ll also need to rewrite it when you, yourself, can’t understand the words while you rap to a simple beat. It’s going to make listening to your music much easier for you and your fans.

  1. Remove unnecessary lines

Did you write too many lyrics? Maybe you wrote down something extremely offensive. Or maybe you’re just embarrassed you added a line that you eventually realized was one of the most terrible lines you’ve ever written. Why not remove it? It’s not permanent until you produce your music.

Remove the lyrics that you think are going to create huge controversy within your fans or social media. You’ll need to squeeze down your 24 bar verses if you created a hook with 8 bars. You wouldn’t want to bore your fans if you create a song that’s 5 minutes long and is nothing but repetitive nonsense.

  1. Polish your bars

If you’ve written down your lyrics with perfect English and amazing grammar, then that’s fine. But you wouldn’t want to rap without throwing in a few slang words here and there, right? It’s very rare that you hear rap songs without a few slang words and profanity thrown in every once in a while.

Once you’ve removed the unnecessary lines out of your lyrics, then it’s time to add in a little spice in with all of the sugar that you’ve written. Even the most basic of slang and profanity is fine, it just doesn’t have to be so clean cut, because people are more accustomed to hearing profanity.

  1. freestyle rap to your rap instrumental

Hopefully, you’ve polished, edited, and removed the bars that you know have left in your paper. Now you can finally practice rapping along your instrumental. If you’ve already chosen one then go ahead and rap over it, making sure to know where the hook is so that you don’t get confused when you’ll finally record and produce the song.

If you haven’t chosen an instrumental yet, rap over any sort of beat that you can find online. It serves as good practice and lets you rap over different sorts of beats that are available.

  1. Make sure you have variation

This is essential when you’re just starting out and no one knows about your rapping style. You’ll have to make sure that you have variation between your verses and your hook so that your audience knows where the hook ends and the verses begin.

A little variation is also essential when it comes to the rhyme scheme of the hook and the verses. You can play around with the kinds of schemes so that you have a distinct difference between what the hook sounds like and what the verses sound like.

  1. No copyright infringement

This is a no brainer. Make sure that the rhymes in your rhyme scheme aren’t a clear copy of the exact rhyme scheme and rhyming words of another artist. You’ll be facing problems not only in the legal community, but also in the hip-hop community, as well as losing respect from fans and peers.

Make sure that everything you’ve written down is original, written in your name and not a clear copy of someone else’s work. It’s not a good idea to have your work be compared to another just because the lyrics are exactly the same, right?

  1. Don’t use every rhyme scheme in a single song

Naturally, this is something you should avoid. Having multiple rap rhyme schemes is not only going to give yourself a headache, it will confuse your audience and the critics that will eventually listen to your music. Limit yourself to only one or two rhyme schemes in your songs.

This is essentially common sense, but if you have the ability to create complex yet still amazing rhyme schemes, then this shouldn’t be a problem for you.

!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 Getchorus.com 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.

I hope you enjoy the Blog from Dan - The Getchorus.com Admin