GIVEAWAY: SoJones Learns Skills with Author of “How To Rap: The Art and Science of The Hip-Hop MC”

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How To Rap Book GIVEAWAY!!
Have your chance to win a “How to Rap” book via the “SoJones Article Comments Lottery”.

Here’s how it works:
1. Every SoJones comment posted on this page from April 23rd to April 30th counts as a “lottery entry”. Also make sure when you comment, have a link to somewhere we can contact you (like your SoJones account, your facebook, etc.). It makes it easier to contact you if you win.
2. Drawing for FOUR winners will be held on May 1st. Winners will be announced on this page and on the forums page (http://www.sojones.com/forums/).

Article Comments Lottery Rules
One item per winner
Previous winners must wait 30 days before entering this contest
Duplicate comments will not count, like posting “I love this forum” or “hi” 50 times.
Garbage or nonsensical comments will not count, like “awr#$ASFasdfkl”
Comments hating on other people will definitely NOT count.
U.S. residents only

If you’ve been writing lyrics, walking the walk and talking the talk, maybe now is the time to put it all together and get your act ready for the majors. Don’t know how?  Let’s ask Paul Edwards who gives you insights in his newest book on what to do, who to know, where to go… essentially “How To Rap”.  For aspiring rappers everywhere, check out SoJones.com’s interview with Paul Edwards, author of “How To Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip Hop MC”, and you’ll know why you should get your hands on this book.

Why did you write “How to Rap”? Do you see a new generation of rappers entering the scene and you want to help them out, or do you see a lot of today’s emcees… not doing it right?

I definitely want to give new MCs the opportunity to learn from a lot of the masters and successful artists in the book, and to get a wide variety of techniques from a lot of different types of MC—I think it’s good for new MCs to have a strong foundation and a lot of knowledge. Kool G Rap, who influenced Jay-Z and Eminem, says in the foreword to the book:

You definitely have to study some of the people that are considered to be legends, and great lyricists, and great rappers—study and do your homework and brush up on your history. You gotta know what it is to be a great MC in order to do it—you gotta hear it, you gotta feel it.

I wouldn’t want to say that there is anyone not doing it right, because there are so many styles and ways to MC that I don’t think we need to limit anyone or say that they shouldn’t be rapping in a certain way, but I do think there is room for everyone to develop and take their styles further and evolve and keep pushing hip-hop further and keep adding to it.
For example you might be an MC who likes to only rap about the club… why not learn some new rhythms from Big Daddy Kane, or how to write stories from Kool G Rap, or learn to rap fast from Twista? Or if you’re a really hardcore underground MC, maybe you need help with choruses and song structure, maybe you want to hear what someone like E-40 or will-i-am has to say… or maybe you want to get abstract like Aesop Rock or witty like Clipse, or get a new vocal style like Chuck D or Cypress Hill.

I also think it’s important to have these techniques, methods, and all this info and history preserved, so that people coming into the rap scene can see all the work that has been put into the art form already and so they can build on that—as R.A. The Rugged Man says, “Study the art form and once you know the art form, you can improve on it.”

Hopefully MCs out there already will also find new ways of doing things from their peers in the book, so it could spice things up a bit more, mix things around.

Paul Edwards, author of "How To Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip Hop MC"

The book is broken down into content, flow, writing, and delivery. The MCs say that the key elements you need at first are the foundations of flow and delivery—you need to be able to stay in time to the music and have the enunciation to get the lyrics out on time so you’re not stumbling all over your words… that’s the first step.

Then from there, expressing yourself and being clever with the content and having great records and a great live show are things to focus on learning.
The book breaks down flow in a lot of detail, with all the types of rhythms and rhyme schemes and how the MCs come up with them—I think that will be a huge help to people who really want to get the mechanics of rapping down.

In your book, you also talk about “never revealed before secrets”. How did you research this? Do you consider yourself a hip-hop insider?

I researched it by interviewing over 100 MCs over a 3 year period, which includes classic and current acts, and mainstream and underground people too—I wanted as wide a variety as possible to try to pick up on everyone’s strong points.

So some of the classic MCs and groups I interviewed are Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, Mobb Deep, AZ, Cypress Hill, Pharoahe Monch, Boot Camp Clik, Masta Ace, and A Tribe Called Quest, and some of the newer acts include Clipse, Styles P, The Black Eyed Peas, Crooked I, Immortal Technique, Royce Da 5’9”, Papoose, Nelly, and Jurassic 5.

I guess I’m a hip-hop insider to a degree, just because I talked to so many of hip-hop’s MCs! But it was research I had to do to make the book credible and thorough and to get all the history and techniques, so it was all part of the process rather than just trying to chat with MCs, haha.

Kool G Rap wrote the foreword for the book

Important question: do you rap?

I rap for fun with friends, though I’m not a professional MC, and I don’t claim to be. With How to Rap, all the information comes from the professionals—I purposely kept my opinions out of the picture to make sure all the techniques and methods are credible because they come from critically acclaimed and successful MCs, not from me, I’m just the researcher.

I also think it’s an important point to stress that it’s possible to just rap for fun and not everyone needs to make it into a career—in the same way I play basketball, but I’m not trying to make the NBA, and it’s still worthwhile as an enjoyable activity.

If you DO want to take it further and really get into rapping as a career and try to be the best, then the MCs in the book have laid down all the tools and techniques that will help you on your way, but I think it’s also ok to just rap for the love of rapping.

Who was the first rapper or what was the first rap you’ve ever listened to?

I think like a lot of people it was probably Melle Mel on The Message, or Sugarhill Gang with Rapper’s Delight. Those are great early classic records, and I like how they kind of complement each other as well—one is like the ultimate disco, super-long party joint, and the other is this funky political track with such vivid imagery and meaning.

Melle Mel
Tech9Ne

Who do you think is the hottest MC right now?

I’m gonna go outside the box and pick Tech N9ne… if you haven’t heard Tech N9ne before you’re in for a treat because the guy is phenomenal. The flows he has are out of this world, and there is a lot of content to get into once you catch up with his fast style of rhyming. I’m surprised he hasn’t blown up in a mainstream way yet, though he’s got a huge underground following and he debuted high on Billboard a while back, so maybe his time as the next huge thing will come.

I’m also digging Slaughterhouse as well – it was great to get Crooked I, Royce Da 5’9”, and Joell Ortiz for the book, and Joe Budden is crazy on the mic too.

We just gotta ask: TuPac or Biggie?

That’s a tough one!

They have different styles, but the thing they both have in common is the ability to connect with a lot of listeners and really touch them emotionally. I think at the heart of it, that’s the genius of both of them.
I don’t think you can pick one over the other, because they both offer so much to the art form and they both deliver different elements and moods. Sometimes you’re in a 2Pac mood, sometimes you’re in a Biggie mood.

So, what are you waiting for?  Get your swagger on and grab a copy of How To Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip Hop MC by Paul Edwards at Amazon.com today!

How To Rap Book GIVEAWAY!!
Have your chance to win a “How to Rap” book via the “SoJones Article Comments Lottery”.

Here’s how it works:
1. Every SoJones comment posted on this page from April 23rd to April 30th counts as a “lottery entry”. Also make sure when you comment, have a link to somewhere we can contact you (like your SoJones account, your facebook, etc.). It makes it easier to contact you if you win.
2. Drawing for FOUR winners will be held on May 1st. Winners will be announced on this page and on the forums page (http://www.sojones.com/forums/).

Article Comments Lottery Rules
One item per winner
Previous winners must wait 30 days before entering this contest
Duplicate comments will not count, like posting “I love this forum” or “hi” 50 times.
Garbage or nonsensical comments will not count, like “awr#$ASFasdfkl”
Comments hating on other people will definitely NOT count.
U.S. residents only

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