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Storytelling Through The Art of Rap

My First Experience Writing A Rap Song

I always wanted to write a rap song but never thought I was grainy enough to do so. I always had the impression that this genre was reserved for the ones who had lived the stories they so passionately spoke about in their songs.

Growing up, I had a lot of misconceptions and preconceived notions about rap and those who wrote it and listened to it. They were those who hung out with the tougher crowds, had a more dangerous energy around them and totally inaccessible to my soft natured soul.

I didn't like listening to it. It offended me. The language, in most of these songs were offensive to me and it always seemed as if they glorified a thuggish lifestyle. Their view of the world just didn't connect to me in any way.

But that all changed when I started writing my own music and working my way as an artist into the musical realm. Meeting musicians and songwriters of all genres and musical styles, my tastes in music began to expand and my preconceived notions started dissolving. I had a real thirst to learn more about the craft of writing in all styles and genres.

One day, a friend of mine gave me a challenge to set foot outside my confort zone and write a song in a genre I was totally uncomfortable in. So, I said "Ok. I'm going to write a rap song!" He stared up at me with a shocked look on his face and said, "but you hate rap? Why not choose something different from what you know but not something you really don't like". I told him that in order to really push myself and evolve as a songwriter, I had to have an open mind to all musical styles and to pick something so foreign to me could really help me evolve as a songwriter.

I set out to really understand "the art of rapping" and soon discovered it had incredibly complex layers of construction. The foundation, I feel, was linked to the beat of the cadence. The beat or tempo of the song will drive the cadence or what I believe rappers call "The Flow" of the lyrical story. Don't quote me on that, I am not, by far, an expert of this genre. For me, I figured that the rap song had, the beat, the flow, the musical riffs, the melodic instrument or vocals that repeated in certain parts of the chorus and of course, the entire musical arrangement. This challenge made me realize just how many pieces of the puzzle needed to be on point in order to create a great rap.

After this challenge, I developed a huge respect for this genre, especially for the rappers who got every part of the puzzle right and still managed to tell a story that was moving and inspiring. I started listening to rap artists and gravitated towards the ones that had more in them than just the offensive language and frustrated rhetoric.

To this day, my favourite rap artist is still Eminem and my favourite song is still "Lose Yourself". It encompasses all the elements...except for that female vocalist who comes in and out with a beautiful lyrical melodic riff. But I don't miss it here...although it would be interesting to see something like that here. Hint Hint Eminem!! Time for a remake version! Lol!

Rapping, to me, is storytelling set to a flow...

You have to have that flow in mind when you are writing the song because your lyrical footing will create a certain tempo which the rapper will have to follow in order to deliver the performance. When you read the lyrics, you almost hear the flow it should be spoken in.

Below is my first ever attempt at writing a rap and I hope someday to have a really talented rapper bring it to life:D

It's the story of a young man who ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time with the people he thought were his friends. He soon finds out how a one second decision can change your life forever. He ends up in prison for most of his life and when he's finally set free, he feels more like a prisoner on the outside than he ever did while on the inside.

I don't know where the story came from. I simply woke up at 3am one day and started writing it. It literally "flowed" out of me without effort or resistance. Once I finished writing, I sat back and read it out loud and I suddenly felt a teardrop go down my cheek and shivers go up my arms near the end of the song. I could feel so much for that young man, his regrets, the weight of his one thoughtless act. Made me grateful for the life I had. It also made me realize that we are all one action away from losing it all and ending up where he did.

I’m Free

© Klaude Walters

I was just a young boy

When it happened to me

I Went for a ride

With guys I wanted to be

They said I’d do fine

If I followed their rules

Forty years in lock up

And I feel like a fool

One of them nights

When the task at hand

Was robbin, a gas station

where I shot a man

I was young and foolish

I didn’t understand

That the life I just took

Wouldn't make me a man

Soon those people

That I wanted to be

Were far in the distance

Not standing by me

I faced the judge

with fear in my heart

I went in for murder

for playing my part

Those forty flew by

I'm no longer that kid

They release me outside

Guess I've done my bid

Nothing seems familiar

Or friendly to me

It's been so long

Can't tell what I see

I look for a job

But no one will hire

A man out of prison

With no skill to offer

Months pass by

And this new place

Is more and more foreign

Getting harder to face

People walk the streets

With phones in their ears

Talking out loud

So everyone hears

Too much concrete

all around me

Nature is gone

as far as I can see

No one can help me

Adjust to this scene

Don’t think I can live here

In this crazy ass dream

I was locked up on the inside

With no where to go

Now I’m locked up on the outside

In a world I don’t know

So I go into a station

And pretend I’m packin’

But the owner draws real

And I’m left standing

There’s blood on my hands

But it ain’t no strangers,

I was shot by a man

Who thought he was in danger

I wake up in a room

Familiar to me

It’s got bars on the doors

Welcome home…I’m free

Maybe someday I will meet someone that wants to record this for me and we'll release an awesome collaboration. He'll be the rapper and eloquently perform the "Flow" and I'll supply the beautiful melodic vocal riffs within the chorus.

You never know, it's on my bucket list for sure.

Never be afraid to try new things, the evolution and growth you'll get from it far outweighs the negative outcomes that live in your mind about it.


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