Using Metaphors In Your Lyrics

So I finally had a little time to myself this week to answer a few emails.  I have to indulge through my emails daily in order to stay ahead of the curve.  If not my inbox would be over flowing with emails from those looking to learn how to rap or interested in improving rap skill.

Which brings us to this article – I’ve gotten a lot of questions about rap metaphors.  That said I decided to write a article about how to incorporate metaphors into your rhymes.

What Are They?

So what are metaphors and what do they do?  A lot of rappers incorporate metaphors into their lyrics.  It’s not a easy thing to do.  You can easily sound corny if you make the wrong metaphoric comparison in your rhymes.

A metaphor is a comparison that shows how two things that are not alike in most ways but are similar in one important way.  You use metaphors in your rhymes to describe something.

You should incorporate metaphors in your rhymes to make your songs more interesting or entertaining.  I’ve seen rappers shut down a whole battle with one metaphor.  I’m talking about the whole building going berserk.

In order to give yourself an advantage it’s good to know the types of metaphors.  Types of metaphors – yep I bet you didn’t even know there were different types huh.  Well yea there is and most people outside of poetry or English majors wouldn’t have a clue.

There are 5 common types of metaphors and they are:

Dead Metaphors – these types of metaphors don’t really show the complete image.  Examples are “She lost here marbles” or “his eyes were open in a round about way.”

Extended Metaphor – is an on going occurrence of a metaphor.  An example would be “She is like a flower” followed later by “She is like a flower that blossoms.”

Mixed Metaphor – Mixed metaphors are when you use two mixed subjects that are not at all alike.  “My peops flew full steam ahead.”  Flew refers to plane but full steam ahead refers to train.  A better one would be “My peops flew at jet speed”

Root Metaphor is defined as a underlying world view that shapes an individuals understanding of a situation.  An example is “Time is money.”

Therapeutic Metaphor is basically a story presented in a whole new out look.  Usually the goal is to highlight a story to a person who might not be seeing it the same way.

If used correctly metaphors can be an effective tool in your writing.  Metaphors can show a picture and a meaning quickly and in only a few words.  Check a article I wrote on ways to add imagery to your lyrics.  As I stated above if used incorrectly you’ll be like a comedian telling a bad joke in a room full of people…crickets.

So here is a way you can practice making rap metaphors.  Pretend each numbered line is one bar in your rhymes.  Write half a bar but make sure to mix up your lines. (Leave blank spaces in front of your rhymes as well as behind them) Do some in the beginning of your bars and at the end.

  1. I’m speeding through Life _________________________________
  2. We sippen hen like _______________________________________
  3. ________________________ as if the world was watching
  4. 4. Rollin with one I open _______________________________

Try this exercise a few times to see what you can come up with.  You don’t have to record it you can just do it for practice.  You may be able to make a whole verse just using this method.  Remember each line represents your bar.

Try it over a beat and see what happens.  Hope this helps.

Want to learn how to rap better or Looking to get rapping tips.  Check out The Official How To Rap Manual or The How2rap Bundle Pack.

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