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What to Rap About

Choosing Topics for Your Rap Lyrics

Last Updated: December 2023 | 1574 words (7 – 9 minute read)

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Sometimes it can be difficult to choose a rap topic when you’re first getting started. But you don’t have to over-complicate things.

In short, you can literally rap about whatever you feel like.

But if you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, we’ll give you things to consider when deciding what to rap about.

If you’re a complete beginner to rapping, then check out our full guide on how to rap first.

Otherwise, here are some general rap ideas that you can always turn to when you’re having trouble choosing what you should rap about.


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Rap Topics and Ideas

With any type of songwriting, there are certain subjects that you can write about that are universal and resonate with lots of people.

When choosing a subject you can go about it in a few different ways:

  • Rap about what’s happened to you in your real life
  • Rap about what’s happened to someone else
  • Create a fictional story that’s intriguing and pulls people in about ANY subject
  • Approach a topic from a conscious/political/philosophical perspective
  • Wild out and say some crazy shit for the sake of it

Either way, you can rap about the topics below in any way you want. Some people feel like should only rap about things that have actually happened to them, specifically. 

But that’s not true at all. If that’s how you want to do things, cool, but it’s not necessary. Being a storyteller is completely legitimate.

Keep in mind, though, that if you decide to play a persona (i.e. pretend to be a real gangster, etc) that shit might come back to bite you in the ass – people that are really about that life, don’t play around.

Anyways…

Below are broad categories that can be fine tuned in thousands of ways, depending on whatever inspires you in that moment.


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Love and Relationships

The most universal (and popular) topic to write about in general songwriting is love and relationships.

It’s pretty popular (though not the most popular) subject to rap about, too.

You can craft a song about anything having to do with relationships – from friendships, to love and everything in between.

You can rap about breakups, marriage, dating, hooking-up, sex, trust, betrayal, loyalty or anything related to all that.

Love is a universal emotion – and it can be approached in many different ways.

Lifestyle

Rapping about lifestyle is essentially where you brag about how amazing your life is.

But you don’t have to pretend to be rich with a Bugatti. You can just boast about living a dope life. Rap about the things you love in life. Talk about taking trips and doing fly shit.

Talk about your lifestyle, or your dream lifestyle. If you want to talk about material wealth, you can definitely do that though. Everyone else does…

Partying

Related to rapping about lifestyle is making party music. And rapping about partying is literally at the foundations of Hip-Hop.

There is a ton of party music – about dancing, having fun, drinking, doing drugs and just having a great time with friends.

There are a lot of different ways you can approach lifestyle rap, and partying is one of them.

Boasting

Boasting is also about bragging, and is related to lifestyle/partying. But you don’t only have to brag about what you have or the things you’re able to do from that perspective.

You can brag about who you are. For real, rapping about how good you are at rapping is a real thing. I’ve done it, and I love it. 

If you just so happen to be feeling yourself extra on a certain day, just write about how dope you are and how you’re killin’ it in everything you do.

Politics and Current Events

Radical political speech and conscious thought has also been a huge part of Hip-Hop since it’s beginnings. Some of the most classic Rap songs are of a political/social nature.

If you feel strongly about a certain situation in the world, you should rap about it. You don’t have to – there’s no obligation on you to. But if you feel like speaking on it, you should speak on it.

Whether it’s about war, domestic policy, culture war stuff or anything in between, there’s a lot of things to choose from.

You can also write lyrics about specific current events everyone is talking about. That’s a great way to tap into a feeling in the “culture.” 

But be careful – if you rap about politics or current events its REALLY EASY to sound corny (trust me on that one…).

Stories

Another popular style of rap is storytelling. Story is a fundamental part of humanity. We all LIVE for stories.

We tell stories about ourselves, we tell stories about others and we learn best through story. A great story can captivate us.

And if you’ve ever listened to certain rap songs that are story-based, they pull you in and mesmerize you bar-for-bar, until the end of the song.

That’s the power of a great story.

So what should your story be about? Literally anything – the real key is to make sure you write it well.

Learning about the art of storytelling can help you with this. You need a protagonist, an antagonist, a hero’s journey and more to really tell a great story. 

But it doesn’t always have to be a serious or sad story. Funny and happy stories are great too.

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Real Life Stuff

Some of the best music – including rap music – is based on real life stuff. The stuff everyday people go through on the regular.

You know what I’m talking about – the struggle… The everyday grind of real life.

Whether it’s being broke, or working a job or fighting with friends/familiy or getting fucked over by the system…

There’s a lot of angst and frustration in the world. And people cope with it through music.

You can write your rap about things you’re going through, or things other people are going through. It’s a never-ending source of songwriting inspiration.

Abstract/Conceptual Topics

This stuff can be a bit hard to wrap your head around – and I think that’s the point.

Lupe Fiasco is a rapper who does conceptual rap very well. He’ll make up entire epic worlds for his albums.

Or he’ll take a concept and flip it on it’s head and shroud it in metaphor – like in the song Day Dreamin.

Abstract topics can be about metaphysics and the cosmic aspects of the universe. These are high-level concepts that are mind-bending, but can make for great song content.

Inspirational Topics

Inspirational songs can be either really dope or really corny, so be careful. But everyone loves to be inspired and feel good about life or themselves.

If you can find a way to inspire hearts and minds through your lyrics, you’ll be well rewarded with listeners and fans.

You can talk about never giving up, or pursuing your dreams or anything that calls people to be the best version of themselves.

It can be hard to pull off well, but is amazing when done right.

Going Off

The last overall “topic” I want to mention is just going off in your raps.

This is where you just say crazy things for the sake of wilding out, or you showcase your lyrical ability and talent with words/ideas.

Usually, you’ll pick a central topic to write about and the rap about it in really far out there ways, saying insane things just to spark a reaction or by using heavy amounts of rap wordplay with the concept.

If you’re a “lyrical” rapper, this is your bread and butter.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Good Topic to Rap About?

Any topic can be great to rap about if you’re able to make it resonate with people. Some popular rap topics include boasting, lifestyle, love/relationships, interesting stories and more.

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    Final Thoughts

    Choosing topics to rap about doesn’t have to be something to get bogged down with. 

    You can literally rap about anything you want. The problem is, sometimes we hit creative/writer’s block and just can’t get anything out.

    Or we start to over-think things and that kills our creativity and inspiration.

    It happens to everyone, and the best way to deal with it is to just push through it and write something anyways – even if it’s complete garbage.

    The more you push through, the more you’ll find new inspiration that will turn into gold.

    If you keep the above 10 general categories in mind every time you sit down to write, you’ll have a treasure trove of potential ideas at your fingertips.

    It’s just a matter of making a choice and getting started on the writing process. 

    Remember, don’t over think it. Just get started.

    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 beginner’s guide to rap ideas and topics. I hope it helps you figure out what to rap about when you sit down to write.


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    About The Author:

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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.