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How to Find Your Rap Voice

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If you’re new to rapping you may be having trouble finding your natural rap voice. Or maybe you want to improve or change the voice you’re currently using.

In this article we’ll show you how to explore your potential vocal styles and learn how to find your rap voice.

You’ll learn what areas of vocal sound you should experiment with and how to choose what’s best for you.

If you’re brand new to this, make sure you check out our guide on how to rap for beginners.

The Voice is an Instrument

The first thing you should understand is that the voice is an instrument just like any other.

You can “play” your voice in many different styles and ways. And as such you should be treating your voice like an instrument.

That means taking care of your voice, strengthening you voice and learning how to use it effectively.

How the Voice Works

Your voice is generated by air vibrating as it passes through your vocal chords and mouth.

We can actually change the way that vibration happens by “moving” the air around in different ways. It’s not something you can consciously describe, but it happens naturally when you’re in different situations.

You can definitely “talk like Mickey Mouse” if you tried. Or you could imitate some random celebrity if you wanted.

Those different voices happen via the way you’re using your mouth/jaw/vocal cords/larynx/etc to vibrate the air that’s passing through.



Explore Yourself

To really find your own rap voice you need to be willing to explore the instrument within you by consciously altering the way your body vibrates and uses air.

But here’s the thing about exploration…

You can’t be “too cool” to sound stupid – especially when you’re learning.

Below, we’ll get into several different areas you can play around with to develop a natural rap voice that suits you. So you want to experiment with different ways of using these characteristics of vocals to come up with a voice you like.

The only way to do that is to be ok with sounding weird while you’re figuring it out.

Pitch

Pitch refers to how “high” or “low” your voice is – not in terms of volume, but in terms of musical notes.

You can immediately hear what I’m talking about when I say imagine someone speaking in a “high pitched voice.”

Pitch, then, can be used to alter your rapping voice – think about the difference in how Nicki Minaj or Foxy Brown speak regularly versus how they rap their lyrics.

Their speaking voices are much higher than their rapping voices.

You’ll have a natural pitch that you normally speak in – you can rap in a higher or lower pitch, depending on what you’re going for.


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Tone

The tone of your voice refers to the overall sonic characteristic on your voice. Some people have a lot of “bassiness” to their voice, while other people have a more nasal quality to it.

Those are just two of the characteristics you can use to describe the tone of a voice.

And you are able to alter the tone through the way your vocal cords press together. Try playing around with the breathiness or nasality in your tone to find something that you like.

Energy

The amount of energy in you voice is not only a product of the sound you’re making. It also has to do with the delivery or flow of your rapping.

However, there is an “energy” aspect to the actual sound of your voice as well. 

We all know someone who speaks very quietly and others who speak very loudly. Those are two different energy levels of vocal sound.

You want to find the right amount of energy behind your voice for your style of rap. Sometimes it’s easy to be too energetic, coming off as erratic, or too weak, coming off as not confident.

Find your middle ground.


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Enhancement

There are a few different ways you can enhance your voice’s sound as well, but you run the risk of it being unsustainable.

That’s because when you “enhance” your voice, you’re doing something totally unnatural to you. That can become very taxing on your throat and vocal cords. 

And if you do it to extremes, you can damage your voice.

When I’m talking about voice enhancements I mean things like:

  • overall raspiness
  • excessive low/high pitch
  • distortion and saturation of the voice
  • exaggeration of vocal characteristics

These kinds of voices are easier to maintain if they’re natural to you. If it’s an enhancement that takes a lot of effort for you to do, don’t make it part of your natural or normal rapping voice.

You can always use them occassionaly to add some flair if you want.

Important Note!!

One major thing you have to remember when trying to find your perfect rap voice is that you hear yourself much differently than other people will hear you.

That’s because the voice’s external sound waves are mixed with internal resonance/vibration while we’re making the sound when we hear ourselves.

We hear ourselves from inside ourselves so to speak.

So to really get an idea of what your rap voice will sound like, record yourself rapping and listen back.

You’re gonna cringe, but it’s ok. Happens all the time.


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Final Thoughts

Finding a voice that you like can be difficult when you’re first starting out. This is especially true if you’ve never heard yourself speaking or rapping on a recording.

Spend a couple of weeks just trying out different things. You can rap your own lyrics or someone else’s lyrics, just to see how it sounds.

Over those couple of weeks you’ll find characteristics of your voice that you like. You can then craft a vocal style and tone that you think suits you best.

It can help to get feedback on your different rap voices too, so ask some strangers online (in a forum, on reddit, etc.) what they think sounds best.

Remember to record yourself as you’re figuring out your voice so you get a true sense of how you sound.

If you really want to step your rap game up, I highly recommend you check out the books How To Rap Part 1 and How to Rap Part 2 on Amazon. They’re fantastic resources for aspiring rappers.

If you are ready to get your music out there to the world, I highly recommend you use Tunecore – they’re an affordable way to release unlimited music to Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and more.

Thanks for reading this post on how to find your rap voice – I hope it shed some light on the topic.

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    Omar Zulfi

    Omar Zulfi is a music producer, rapper, singer, songwriter and digital entrepreneur. He is the founder and head writer at Deviant Noise. Learn more about what he's doing by clicking here.