Tag Archives: rap

Song Analysis: Kanye West – All Day

[Produced by Velous, Kanye West, Diddy and Charlie Heat; Co-produced by Mike Dean, French Montana and Noah Goldstein; Additional production by Plain Pat, Travi$ Scott, Allen Ritter & Mario Winans]

Yo. I remember seeing this video for the first time. It always cracks me up how, if you’ve been to a more “urban” rap show, rappers would always have like 5 – 10 of their friends just up on stage bouncing around.

Kanye, in true Kanye fashion, took this idea and multiplied it a billion times. AND IT’S AWESOME. The flame throwers are what really got to me. Once I saw those, I was like Kanye damn did it again.

The track was produced by newcomer Velous (with coproduction from a whole lotta people). Velous  came up by producing beats for French Montana.

That growly bass used sparingly in the song is a great touch. As much as I love the true 808 basses, I like how Kanye really diversifies and makes the beats he uses standout from typical trap tracks. That wall of brass bass and chorus is also awesome. Followed by some nice contrast with the angelic singing and the Allan Kingdom hook.
My favorite line in the whole song is the Denzel Washington reference. Come on Ye, that’s David Palmer from 24. The followup line is also super dope. “If you run into me, you better have Allstate with ya.”

24/7, 365 days, everybody gettin’ paid” Ohh shiieet !


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Kaizen and SongWriting

Kaizen  is the idea of continuous improvement.

Something. Anything.

In anyway shape or form.

Today, write a lyric. Write a poem. Play guitar. Watch a Reason tutorial video. Read a book on How2Rap. Run a few laps around your block. Do those vocal exercises. Find out who Robin Frederick is.

Something. Anything.

Do something that will make you 1% better than you were yesterday.

It adds up.

Of course, always feel free to go more than 1%. go 110% if you want.

But keep going.

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There’s a lot of lessons we can learn from Eminem and Rihanna’s latest pairing.

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Book Review: 3 Things I Learned From Mo Meta Blues by QuestLove

Ahmir Questlove is a drummer for The Roots, DJ, music journalist and record producer.

It’s awesome how much you can see that Questlove REALLY loves music. Just everything about it. The best part about all this is the hungriness in which he reads music reviews, including anywhere from Pitchfork to Rolling Stone to whoever. It’s great to me, cause Im thinking, “oh wait me too!”

Reading his book, there’s a lot of things we can learn.

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Song Analysis – Jay Z – “Holy Grail” ft. Justin Timberlake

Song Analysis – Jay Z – “Holy Grail” ft. Justin Timberlake

Writers – Justin Timberlake, Shawn Carter, Terius “The Dream” Nash, Timothy Mosley, Jerome Harmon, Ernest Wilson, Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic
Producer – The Dream, Timbaland, Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon, No I.D.
BPM: 72

But I still don’t know why, why I love it so much.

This song is a great example of a lot of really effective rhythmic contrasts while still keeping a melodic hook, both vocally and instrumentally, that keeps your interest throughout the whole song.

The most obvious and effective hook is Justin’s Chorus where he sings

And baby, it’s amazing Im in this maze with you
I just can’t crack your code
One day you screaming me love you loud
The next day you’re so cold
One day you’re heree, one day you’re there
one day you care
You’re so unfair, sipping from your cup til it runneth over Holy Grail

Right from the beginning, it just grabs you and forces you to listen to the rest of what the song is about. And what is the song about?

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The Ten Most Important Themes For SongWriting


 Songs about relationships rule the charts.

I love you. Now we’re done. Now I lost you. Im so lonely. I cheated on my girlfriend. She cheated on me. We get back together. We break up again. Im never giving this up.

People LOVE drama. They’re addicted to it.  Whether it’s the fun happy times or the endless aching, people need to feel something. If you want to level up your songwriting, then you need to understand why people listen and respond to certain songs.

We’re all natural voyeurs. Curious of everything that is going in our lives and other people’s lives. It’s just human nature.

Being a songwriter, we need to write about the moments that offer change and insight.

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Book Review: James Brown The GodFather of Soul: An Autobiography

James Brown is the hardest working man ever in show business.

When it comes down to it, music is judged and enjoyed on how well you write songs and play live. That’s really it. Reading from this book, you can feel how much James Brown LOVED playing live. He needed it. He lived for it. Nothing was gonna stop him. Getting inspiration from how hard his dad worked, James Brown gave it all his every single time.

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What Makes The Song Great ? – It’s Tricky – Run DMC


BPM : 127
Producers – Rick Rubin, Run-DMC
Writers – Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels

Run DMC was just all about not giving a fuck. Raw knuckled, this track forces your face to go into that scowl and just start strutting. Easily recognizable,  It’s been used for a ton of movies like Can’t Hardly Wait, Road Trip, The Hot Chick, Malibu’s Wanted, etc. The song is just such an attitude changer.

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Billboard Hot 100 June 2nd – June 9th 2013


(1)Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us ft. Ray Dalton
(2) Pink – Just Give Me A Reason ft. Nate Ruess
(3) Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
(4) Daft Punk – Get Lucky ft. Pharrell
(5) Florida Georgia Line – Cruise ft. Nelly
(6) Selena Gomez – Come & Get It
(7) Icona Pop – I Love It ft. Charli XCX
(8) Rihanna – Stay ft. Mikky Ekko
(9) Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
(10) Bruno Mars – When I Was Your Man

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4 Points Of Views That Will Supercharge Your Lyrics

4 points of view

Lyrics are what make or break a song. It is what helps you create that authentic connection with your crowd. The words you write are the steak in the four course meal.  What really helps give the song you’re writing some direction is knowing whose point of view the song is coming from. From this, you can write the verses that best expresses the way you or this person feels. There are 4 different types.

First person to another

By far, this is the most popular style of song to write in. Just take a look at the Billboard charts and you’ll see a lot of effective examples that utilize this type of point of view. Bruno Mars When I Was Your Man, Selena Gomez, Come & Get It, Justin Timberlake’s Mirror. A lot of rap songs are from this point of view as well. Mostly toward haters and doubters and hoes, but you get the point. It’s really effective because the audience will fill in their own meaning for whoever you’re writing about it, allowing them to really make a connection. Some of the love songs written in this style are either about success stories or unrequited love. Kendrick Lamar’s “Sing About Me, Im Dying Of Thirst” is a really moving example of this. Eminem’s “Stan”  is another,

First person about another person

You ever vent to your friends about someone you’re crushing on. That’s what this style of writing does. It’s like you’re telling your best friend about someone else. And it’s very cathartic. A lot of Weezer songs are in this style. “No One Else” “Butterfly”.  Drake’s “HYFR” is also another good example.

In first person, plural together

Now this style stresses the “we” part of where the emotions are coming from. A lot of duets are written with this style. Pink’s song with Nate Ruess, Just Give Me A Reason, Rihanna’s duet with Mikky Ekko, Stay. A lot of hip hop posse cuts are written with “the clique” in mind too. Rick Ross’s Stay Schemin comes to mind. Some other hip hop examples are SugarHillGang’s “Rapper’s Delight”  and Atmosphere’s “Crewed Up”.

Third person narrative

With this style, you’re expressing “she did this or this happened to him.” It takes a lot of storytelling discipline to write verses from this point of view. You’ll be using a lot of “he, she” pronouns. I like to pretend that Im telling my friends about a certain event. Again, just do your best to make the song sound like you’re having a conversation. There’s a ton of Beatles songs that use the the third person narrative. Ob la di, Eleanor Rigby, etc. Lil Wayne’s Love Me. Slick Rick’s Children Story.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when writing lyrics is to be straightforward and honest. Get right to the point and be genuine about it. Remember where you, or your characters are coming from. From the very first word, make sure everyone stays in line with their emotions. Always review your work.

SongWriting Exercise

Come up with a list of songs that coming from each point of view. Examine what makes you like the song.

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