How to Rap Fast
Techniques to rhyme quickly
Last Updated: December 2023 | 2165 words (10 – 12 minute read)
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Seeing emcees like TechN9ne or Eminem rap fast for the first time is something else – it can be awe inspiring.
It can make you, as a rapper, want to develop that ability in yourself – especially if you’re a lyrical emcee. There’s always been something enticing about faster rap flows throughout the history of the genre.
In this guide on how to rap faster, we’ll show you how you can effectively hone your voice to increase your delivery speed.
If you haven’t already, be sure to read our complete beginner’s guide on how to rap first.
Let’s get right into it…
Article Table of Contents
Audio Version of Article
Your Sense of Rhythm
Rapping is literally all about rhythm – the flow and spacing of your words across time. If you don’t know about rhythm in music, we have a basic music theory guide you can refer to.
But it’s important to improve your entire sense of rhythm if you want to be able to rap fast.
That means knowing how to count beats (and sub-beats) in music, knowing what a bar is and having a general idea of how time in music works.
If you’re listening to your favorite rapper rapping fast, count out the bars (i.e. “1, 2, 3, 4”) as you listen. Pay attention to how the beats your counting relate to the words that the rapper is saying.
How many words is he saying in this one bar? What kind of words are they – short or long? How do the words bend around the beats you’re counting?
Just study the flow and word use of your favorites while you count along.
Breathing When Rapping Fast
Obviously if you want to learn how to rap fast you know you’ll need great breath control. Whether you’re singing or rapping, the way you breathe is fundamental to how well you can do either.
Doing breath-work (things like box breathing or conscious deep nasal breathing) can help train the strength of your lungs.
The more effectively you’re able to use air, the better you’ll be able to use (and control) your voice.
You should also become familiar with diaphragm breathing. This is a technique professional singers use to improve their breath support.
Normally when you breathe, you’re breathing from your chest. But you want to practice using your diaphragm instead.
This is also known as belly breathing because when you inhale breath, your belly starts to protrude outwards. When you exhale, the belly starts to move back inwards.
We have a full guide on breathing from your diaphragm in our Singing section.
Another thing you need to get better at recognizing is your breath spacing. It’s very important WHERE you breathe during your rap if you want to be able to spit your lyrics quickly.
This might take some experimentation to get right, but try spacing your breaths in the “right” places. If you get the breath spacing right, you should be able to speed rap through a bunch of lines before needing another breath.
You’ll often find that taking quick, sharp inhales on an up-beat between long sets of lines works well.
Try out different spacing with your breaths to see what works best for you.
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Enunciation refers to how fully you pronounce a word as you speak it. Do you say every single syllable precisely? Or do you cut the edges off a word?
When you’re rapping fast you need to strike a balance between good enunciation and speed, without over-doing either one.
A lot of times if you enunciate too much it doesn’t allow you to get in enough words quickly. It takes up valuable time to really enunciate a word. But if you don’t enunciate enough then you sound like you’re mumbling and no one can understand what you’re saying.
Syllables & Vowels
You can adjust the amount of enunciation you’ll need by focusing on syllables in words and the vowel sounds of words.
Words are mostly vowel sounds – “ah,” “uh,” “ee,” “ih,” etc. And when you’re trying to rap fast your emphasis should be on those vowel sounds within the word.
You should still focus on saying the consonants that wrap up the vowel sound to give the word context, but you don’t have to be as precise.
When it comes to syllables, choosing the right words with the right amount of syllables for the line you’re trying to spit/write is important. If you’re having trouble getting a line out quickly, try changing up some of the words with different words with more/less syllables.
If you’re good with your sense of rhythm you’ll be able to wrap those syllables around the beats effectively enough to rap extremely quickly.
Limericks and Tongue Twisters
To practice your enunciation and ability to speak quickly, you should use limerick and tongue twisters.
A limerick is a rhyming poem and a tongue twister is something that’s purposely difficult to say quickly.
An example of a tongue twister is “sally sells sea shells by the sea shore.” It’s a really hard line to say. Even harder to say it with any about of speed.
But the more you practice these the better you’ll be able to rap normal lines fast without mumbling or stumbling over your words.
Choosing Words and Phrasing
This has a lot to do with our previous point about syllables – the words you choose matter, and the way you phrase your words matter.
When you’re rapping you’re wrapping words around beats of music (i.e. wrapping words around time/rhythm). So if you choose very long complicated words, they will need to wrap around the beats differently than shorter, less complex words.
You word choice is paramount. There are many different ways to say the same thing. Knowing synonyms of words can help you increase your vocabulary, so grab a thesaurus (affiliate link) and study it a bit.
Then, when you’ve written a line or chosen a word, try and say the syllables of the word in different ways.
Your goal is to increase the speed at which you can say the words properly, by wrapping it around the beats in the most optimal way.
To practice this, say each of the words of your rap line on one beat. If your line is “I just woke up,” then start by using quarter notes (i.e. one word per beat).
So you’d say “I” on the 1 count, “just” on the 2 count, etc.
Next, double the speed and use 8th notes (you count 8th notes as “1-&-2-&-3-&-4-&”). So the “I” is on the 1 count, and the “just” is on the & count, etc.
After that, double it up again and use 16th notes (counted as “1-e-&-a, 2-e-&-a, 3-e-&-a, 4-e-&-a”).
Now you can try using space in between the beats – the “I” falls on the 1, but the “just woke” fall on the & and “a” counts.
Experiment with how you place each of those words across the beats and sub-beats to get a grasp of phrasing and wrapping your words around the rhythm..
Tips for Improving Your Rap Speed
Describing exactly how to rap fast step-by-step is a difficult task.
There’s not a set way to do it every time. It’s more about how you approach your writing. The mindset you have, and your ability to tap into the concept of rhythm.
Speed is secondary to rhythm. If your rhythm is good (and you’re good at enunciation) then you can build speed much easier.
Here are some tips, though, to help you get better at all those things.
Read Out Loud
Reading may not be difficult for you, but oftentimes reading out loud can be more difficult than simply reading in your mind.
So grab a book or an article and read it out loud. And do this often.
Practicing reading out loud will actually help your diction, tongue control (more on this in a second), enunciation and ability to recite words quickly.
Take 5 or 10 minutes daiiy to read something out loud, even if it’s just to yourself.
Once you get good at this, try reading it out loud quickly. And keep speeding up as you get better and better.
Imitating Fast Rappers
Listen to the greats – a lot. Rappers like Eminem, Tech N9ne, Logic, Bone Thugz, Twista have huge catalogs of music where they are rapping like speed demons.
You want to study this stuff – pay attention to the beats of time and how they wrap words around them. Pay attention to the words they use and how they phrase them. And, of course, pay attention to their enunciation – are they saying the whole word or just parts of the word? How are they pronouncing things outside of their regional accent?
Once you’ve studied some of your favorite songs from these types of artists, start memorizing and spitting their lyrics. Just go ahead and rap along to their songs.
Finally, when it comes to your own writing do a practice round where you write like you’re trying to imitate their flows with your own lyrics.
All of this stuff will help you increase your speed of rapping and make you a better “fast rap” writer.
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Control Your Tongue
Your entire mouth and jaw area is extremely important to any type of vocal performance – including rapping.
Your tongue, specifically, has a lot to do with your ability to speak, sing and rap. If when you’re talking your tongue moves around a lot it can make it difficult to speak quickly.
So you want to try and control the movement of your tongue as much as possible. Try to keep your tongue steady as you rap, only making slight movements to help you shape words and sounds effectively.
You also want to relax your jaw and face muscles. Don’t tense up too much to try and increase your rapping speed – that will actually hinder your performance. You want to be loose and relaxed.
Start Slow and Clear
The best way to improve your ability to be fast with your rap is to start slow and pronounce things clearly.
You want to ratchet up your speed as the lyrics you’re rapping become more comfortable to you.
Once you’re good at a slow speed, speed up little by little. Make sure you’re able to say each word fully and clearly before moving up in speed.
Eventually keep speeding up until you get to the speed you’re hoping for.
Practice With a Metronome
This is not a conventional tip you’ll find about rapping, but remember rapping is all about rhythm. And a metronome can help you with that.
Normally used for people playing instruments, a metronome is basically just a device that clicks in regular intervals to help keep time for you.
You can set a metronome at 70bpm and rap your lyrics slowly and gradually increase the speed as you become more and more comfortable.
Having the click going on in the background will also help you improve your phrasing since you’re offloading the “time keeping” from your brain to a device.
You don’t need to buy one – there are plenty of apps available for your phone. Find one that you like and practice your rhymes to it.
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Frequently Asked Questions
No, rapping does not have to be fast. There are many different types of rap flows, including ones that are very slow.
To rap fast you should hone your internal sense of rhythm, while also focusing on your diction speed and mouth movement.
Learning to control your speed when rapping can be something that’s a bit hard to comprehend.
Really, the best way to do it is to start slow and just keep trying. You have to crawl before you walk, but if you put in the practice you’ll be walking (and running) in no time.
Focus on your rhythm, word choice, phrasing and breathing. Those are the most important aspects of learning to become a faster rapper.
I wish I could give you a step-by-step checklist for this, but it’s just not possible. It’s an approach, a mindset. Not a set of instructions or rules.
And you’ll only get better at it with practice. So start putting in those reps.
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 guide on how to rap fast. I hope it was helpful.
Resources and Tools (affiliate links)
- Release Unlimited Music to Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music and More
- Make Your Own Beats Easily With Beat Building Blocks
- Uncover the Secrets of the Biggest Hit Songs in the World
- Get the Best Deals on Studio Gear for Rappers!
- How to Rap Vol. 1 – The Best Book for Aspiring Rappers
- How to Rap Vol. 2 – The Followup Book
- Learn How to Sing Better in 30 Days!
- The Legendary Nas Teaches Hip-Hop Songwriting
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