Suggested Reading: How To Rap (1&2)

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September 27, 2013 by HipHopGoldenAge

How To Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC (2009; 340 pages)

51B9H00VViLBig Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Clipse, Public Enemy, Papoose, Schoolly D, A Tribe Called Quest, Immortal Technique, Masta Ace —these are just some of the acclaimed artists offering tips and advice in this compelling how-to.

Delivering countless candid and exclusive first-person insights from interviews with more than one hundred of the most innovative artists, author Paul Edwards examines the dynamics of rap from every region and in every form–mainstream and underground, current and classic—and covers everything from content and flow to rhythm and delivery.

A first-of-its-kind guide, How to Rap provides a wealth of insight and rapping lore that will benefit beginners and pros alike. (Source: Amazon)

US readers get it here

EU readers get it here

Editorial Reviews

“Filled with real tools and overflowing with inspiration… a good read even for nonartists interested in learning more about hip-hop creativity, personalities, and history, this offers insights into music and poetry… highly recommended” – Library Journal

“The most incredible feature of How to Rap are bar notational charts that can be used to form your rhyme, flow, and more” – On Wax Magazine

“Wanna learn how to be a super MC? In How to Rap over 100 rappers have offered their insight on the artform for aspiring wordsmiths” – XXL Magazine

“How useful, amid the rain-forest-worrying deluge of books written on hip-hop theory and culture, that Paul Edwards has taken a straightforward, reasoned and informed approach to discussing the actual mechanics of rapping. How To Rap looks at that art form by unknotting its components–content, style, delivery and, most intriguingly, its spatial alliance with music and beats–and uses practical examples for context and analysis. Aspiring MCs will benefit most, but there are insights and observations that will appeal to anyone with an interest in hip-hop’s development.”  – Alex Ogg, author, The Hip Hop Years, The Men Behind Def Jam, Rap Lyrics

“A clever breakdown of the art form of hip-hop rhymes, for anyone who is into the art of incredible raps. It’s about time someone actually recognized this powerful music for its artistic ingenuity.”  – Speech, Arrested Development

“A complete guide to the art and craft of the MC, anyone who’s serious about becoming a rapper should read this first. Proof positive that rap is more than just talking over music – a vital and vibrant expose of a much misunderstood art form.”  – Hip-Hop Connection

“Paul Edwards’s new book How to Rap brings a fresh approach to hip-hop lyricism that’s remarkable for its depth of practical detail.  What’s in a namecheck? What are the pros and cons of certain metrical or rhetorical forms?  What are the most common structures in hip-hop’s history? With numerous examples and analyses of the hip-hop greats of the past, Edwards offers both an immensely practical introduction for would-be rappers, as well as the first detailed poetics of ‘the pulse of the rhyme flow’ in hip-hop. This is a foundational text.”  – Russell Potter, Ph.D., author of Spectacular Vernaculars

A must-have guide for anyone who ever wanted to understand the blood, sweat, and tears that can go into the art of MCing. The book lets those in the dark understand the craft of MCing as close as possible.”  – DJ Rasta Root, Smokin’ Needles Records (DJs and produces for the likes of A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg, with whom he runs Smokin’ Needles Records) 


About the Author

Paul Edwards holds a master’s degree in postmodernism, literature, and contemporary culture from University of London and has done extensive research on rappers and their creative processes, musical theories, and lyrics.

Kool G Rap is one of the most influential MCs of all time, with Eminem, Jay-Z, Big Pun, R.A. the Rugged Man, and many others citing him among their influences. Frequently on “greatest MCs of all time” lists, he has appeared on tracks with numerous artists, including Eminem, Nas, AZ, Mobb Deep, Busta Rhymes, Big L, Ghostface Killah, and Canibus.


How To Rap 2: Advanced Flow and Delivery Techniques (2013; 272 pages)

HHGA How To Rap 2This sequel to How to Rap breaks down and examines techniques that have not previously been explained—such as triplets, flams, lazy tails, and breaking rhyme patterns.

Based on interviews with hip-hop’s most innovative artists and groups, including Tech N9ne, Crooked I, Pharcyde, Das EFX, Del the Funky Homosapien, and Big Daddy Kane, this book takes you through the intricacies of rhythm, rhyme, and vocal delivery, delving into the art form in unprecedented detail.

It is a must-read for MCs looking to take their craft to the next level, as well as anyone fascinated by rapping and its complexity. (Source: Amazon)

US readers get it here

EU readers get it here

Editorial Reviews

“Filled with real tools and overflowing with inspiration, this comprehensive how-to manual examines the art and craft of rap. . . . Both newcomers to rap and more experienced listeners and artists can gain insights in the time-honored tradition of learning from the past, as told straight from the artists’ mouths. . . . A good read even for nonartists interested in learning more about hip-hop creativity, personalities, and history, this offers insights into music and poetry. Highly recommended.”  – Library Journal

“A must-have guide for anyone who ever wanted to understand the blood, sweat, and tears that can go into the art of MCing.”  – DJ Rasta Root, producer, Smokin’ Needles Records

“If you rhyme, sing, or produce, read this book to improve your craftsmanship and to open up your mind.”  – Jump Off TV, broadcaster of World Rap Championships

“An excellent, revealing read. . . . I highly recommend this book to any rap fans or people interested in the technical aspects of music and poetry.”  – Mighty Casey, underground rapper

“Clear, coherent, and organized . . . full of useful examples and concise explanations. An invaluable tool for young upstarts and seasoned pros alike!”  – Jamie Collinson, general manager, Big Dada Recordings

“Even MCs with a natural talent will find this book extremely insightful. Anyone thinking about becoming a rapper would do well to read it cover to cover.”  – Mike Lewis, general manager, Lewis Recordings


About the Author

Paul Edwards is the author of “How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC”. He is a writer and a researcher of hip-hop who has interviewed more than 100 famous rappers.

He has been interviewed as a leading expert on hip-hop and rap by the Chicago Tribune, the New York Amsterdam News, Chuck D’s New York radio show, Australia’s Acclaim Magazine, UK’s Echoes Magazine, Germany’s HHV Magazine, HipHopDX, and Time Out Dubai, as well as being referred to as “the Aristotle of Hip-Hop poetics” by Dana Gioia (poet and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts).

He holds a master’s degree in postmodernism, literature, and contemporary culture from the University of London.

“How to Rap” is the definitive guide to rapping, in the words of over 100 of the greatest MCs of all time. It also includes the first ever notational system for rap’s “flow” and it was quoted from extensively throughout Yale’s “Anthology of Rap“.


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