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How to write bars for rap songs

Updated July 20, 2017

When a rap artist writes a song, the sentences he produces either on a piece of paper or in a word processor are called "bars" in the music industry. Bars in a rap song will determine when and where your rhyming words will appear on the music. Artists take a great deal of time working on their bars; this is how they portray themselves, or their "style," through their music. A basic guide to a bar in a rap song: Every line you write on paper will equal one four count in the music.

Write on paper or a blank word processing document one line of your rap song. This will equal one bar. An average verse in a rap song will have 16 bars.

Write on the empty line directly under your first bar a second line of the song. This will be your second bar. Bar two does not have to be the same length as the first, although it should be close. End your second bar with a word that rhymes with the last word of your first bar. For example if your first bar ends with the word "mix," your second bar should end with a similar-sounding word like "fix." Writing more complex rhyme schemes throughout each line will create a better-sounding bar.

Skip one space on your page. Repeat steps 1 and 2. Continue with the same ending rhyme throughout bars four and five. Skipping a space will allow room for you to edit the bars you have already written. Although this is not required, it will help keep your verses legible.

Repeat steps 1 through 3 until you have 16 bars. This will make one verse for your rap song. Alternate rhyming words at the end of your bars every two to four bars. This will add complexity to your rhymes.

Sing or "rap" your bars over your music. End each bar at the end of every four count on your music. This can be done by counting your snare drums on a basic drum beat. For example, "kick, snare, kick, snare," will equal a four count (kick being your bass drum). End your bars' rhyming words on the last snare of each four count. Doing this will ensure you stay with the rhythm.

Connect all 16 bars together without any breaks in between on your music to complete your first verse. Repeat as necessary depending on how many verses you have in your song. When rapping your bars over the music take time for each bar to "engineer" how it will fit on the beat.

Tip

Try adding more rhyming words throughout your bars to make your song "flow" together more. You may have to add or delete some words to make your bars fit into your music. On more complex beats or music, imagine a "kick, snare, kick, snare," to keep your bars in rhythm. Use original and visceral lyrics with witty and clever rhymes. Practice your flow on each bar; doing this will make your lyrics flow together. Listen to professional artists and how they place their rhyming words on snare drums. All music is different. Develop your own style of writing to create originality.

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About the Author

Born and Raised in southern Illinois, Chad Newberry found his love for writing in 1996 as a junior in high school. After writing for his high school paper, Newberry went on to be an adaptive script writer for a local theater group. Newberry is currently attending college and studying for a criminal justice major.