In this article, I’ll be teaching you guys what a rap punchline is, if you’re just starting out, how to write rap punchlines, and how to execute it well. To put it simply, a rap punchline is a witty one line that can be comprised of a bold statement,a timeless law, or just a really witty metaphor.

First, what is a rap punchline and why should you incorporate them into your rap lyrics?

A Rap Punchline is a bold statement . It doesn’t have any sort of filter on it, making it the truth and nothing else. When a punchline consists of this, it usually consists of a person’s opinion on very significant events pertaining to their lives, to political parties in their country, and even disastrous events that already transpired. People usually think of rap punchlines as lines a comedian would say while they were in a show, usually composing of two-liner jokes. But a punchline in a rap song is very different from what most people would assume. Timeless laws are the sayings that we always hear in life, from different people we’ve met throughout our life. They are laws of wisdom that never get old. Phrases like “I keep my friends close but my enemies closer” is a typical law that you’ll hear in every other rap song that you come across. If there are any more that you think would fit into your rap, you could add it in and work around it. A witty metaphor could also be used when you make rap punchlines. It will need to be very deep and creative if you want any sort of reaction from your fans. Anything mediocre and you would end up with crickets instead of cheers. When you use a metaphor, it’s typically used in a way that is self-glorifying, making the rapper seem bigger and better than they really are. Now, since you know what a punchline is, it’s time to learn how to write punchlines for you rap lyrics.

7 Steps to create amazing rap punchlines:

  1. Research what your punchline is going to be about.

You could do this by reading various books, surfing the internet, or even just write up a bunch of metaphors that you find interesting. There are thousands of amazing wordplay or even just wise words online, so go ahead and “borrow” it and then you can edit it to your style and to make it fit who you are as a person.

  1. Carry out some research for ideas when you’re stuck.

If you can’t find anything in the books, or you’re outside without any internet, just look around you and write the first thing you find that you want to write about. No notebook and pen? Just insert it into the notes in your phone. A lot of songs are frequently inspired by past events, things that are happening around the person, and even just everyday moments that we go through.

  1. Figure out what sort of bar structure you’re going to use.Bar, in music theory, is a measure with four counts. So when rapping, it’s basically a sentence with four counts in it. A typical verse in a rap song will consist of 16 bars.
    The term gets thrown around a lot in hip hop, so people will have different opinions on what a bar is. Don’t worry about it, unless you’re in a freestyle rap Battle.

Rappers usually go with the normal -4-4 bar structure, meaning that there should be two rhymes with every fourth beat of the song, or even a -2-4-4 scheme, which means that the second and fourth beat of the first line along with the fourth beat of the next line should rhyme.

  1. Once you know what to write about, write a simple sentence first.

This is where the magic happens. Once you understand what you want to write about, just write down a simple sentence. Don’t worry about if it’s too straight forward or what not, because you’ll be able to edit it in a few seconds. You could write about anything here. Your dog dying, trying to dis your opponent or anyone in general, or maybe even something that you feel strongly about.

  1. Put it in the bar, and edit it if necessary.

You’ll have to make it fit if you want to be able to use it. If you’re using a rap flow skeleton, it would be best to fill in the blanks with some other words. You’ll eventually need to rephrase it so that it fits into your structure and has better impact. It will also have to fit the beat of the rap instrumental, if you’ve already chosen one. No one would want to listen to a rap song that’s off beat, right?

  1. Find the second meaning/ rhyme.

Once you’ve finished writing and editing your first line, it’s time to find your second line/ rhyme to match your first one. You can choose to find the rhyme for the first line and go from there, while others choose to find the meaning of the whole punchline then get the rhyme after. Go with whatever is easier for you and continue from there. Just make sure that it fits well with the first line and it doesn’t get too obscure. You can’t rap about getting famous in the first line and then jump to finding your lover in the second line. It doesn’t match.

  1. Rephrase it to fit the bar and the flow.

After you’ve found the second rhyme/ meaning, you now have to do the same thing that you did to the first line: edit and rephrase. You might want to shorten it, or maybe add more words to make it fit better. Just remember to make sure the meaning connects with the first one and that it flows well. !Attention Rap Artists, Singers & Songwriters! Let Us Guide You!! We have a lot of content on this blog.
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Find The Exact Content You Are Looking For! Don’t waste hours searching online. Answer these simple questions and will direct you to the best resources. So you now have a great punchline written, but you don’t know how to execute it well, right? The delivery is, if not, also one of the most important parts of creating a great punchline. The flow may be good, but the delivery will make your writing amazing. There are two main methods of executing your punchlines: Build up and one liners.

Build up

This doesn’t mean that you just start rapping fast. This is one of the two main methods used when executing punchlines. In this method, there are several lines before the punchline so that when the punchline hits, it connects with the lines before it, giving it extra weight for a heavier impact. Technically, there’s no rule on how long it could be. It could be as short as one bar to as long as fifteen before it hits.

One Liners

This is another one of the common forms of a punchline that is often used. These kinds of executions don’t use a build up at all. However, they still make a big impact and are highly effective in giving your lyrics the wow factor when executed properly. Now that you’ve done that, you should have a great punchline written down. If not, there are a few more tips and tricks that can help you make your punchline better and have a stronger impact.

  • How to Use literary devices in your rap punchlines?

This consists of: Puns: a play on words in which a humorous effect is produced by using words that suggests more meanings than it does. Metaphors: word or phrase applied to an object or action to which it’s not literally applicable. Irony: expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect. Similes: comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind. Used to make a description more emphatic or vivid.

  • Incorporate different kinds of rhymes

There are numerous kinds of rhymes but I’ll be telling you guys the three major kinds of rhymes that you’ll see in rap songs frequently.

  1. End rhymes

These are the rhymes that you see at the end of every consecutive line. It’s the easiest to do hence why most people would use it, because all you’ll have to focus on is having the words at the end of each line rhyme. If you have that down, you can then work on the meaning of the lines or the rap verse.

  1. Multi syllable rhymes

This is deemed as the rhyme-to-do or “Holy Grail” of rhymes because instead of thinking of only one word to rhyme, you can focus on the syllables of the words to rhyme. You can make your rap flow better if you intend to use this rhyme style.

  1. Internal rhymes

These are a little harder than the previous two. This rhyme style will focus on the rhymes that appear internally or within the lines instead of appearing at the end of every line like the first two. This style works well when you learn how to use stretch rhymes and how to enunciate them to have the words rhyme.

  • Make your rap lyrics and delivery stands out by telling a story

What’s the reason behind your rap? Are you telling your fans a story about your past? Maybe you’re just letting your anger or sadness out. Or are you just trying to go with the flow and are just writing about a flower that you saw, or maybe even something like visiting your parents’ grave. The most important thing for writing rap lyrics and in turn, your punchline, is to be authentic. If you make up things or are just exaggerating too much, then you’ll lose your credibility and your audience. Write something original and true to your heart.

  • Don’t over use your rhymes

This is more evident with beginners of rap writing. You’ll have to learn to restrict yourself from using too many rhymes. Not everything has to rhyme and sometimes we’re at fault of doing that. If you end up using multiple rhymes in your writing, your content gets drowned in rhymes and you end up having a nursery rhyme instead of a rap song, essentially losing the effect of your writing.

Remember, that you’ll have to choose the best rhyme, because not everything that rhymes with your first line will fit well with your rhyme scheme. Write down the rhymes you think of and then choose which one is best to use so that it both sounds amazing and is witty enough to have a big impact. Never add rhymes for the sake of just rhyming. Punchline rap is a skill that is easy to learn, yet hard to master. Many rappers attempt to create effective punchlines in their verses but fall short due to underwhelming delivery, poorly-written set-ups, and corny jokes. This is very similar to stand-up comedy. Imagine you’re at a comedy club on amateur night. The comedian sets up a story that takes far too long without any internal jokes (called jab lines) and has zero charm or confidence in their tone. By the time he/she finally shovels the punchline down your throat, the only thing you can muster is a pity laugh. On the contrary, let’s say the next performer walks on stage, and from the first sentence that comes out of his/her mouth, you know, “This is going to be GOOD.” They set up an intriguing story that has you invested throughout; sitting on the edge of your seat and anxious for the punchline. Then, they slow their speech. The suspense is killing you. They have you in the palm of their hands. The whole room is silent in anticipation of the big twist. Then, with flawless delivery…the punchline. WHAT! You’ve never laughed so damn hard in your life. The room has erupted into deafening howls and belly-laughs. The comedian is standing on stage, a giant smile on his/her face, heart full of pride after a successful punchline.

Comedians and Rappers Alike

That amateur comedian is equivalent to an unknown artist, except you don’t have nearly as much time to set up. We operate in a much shorter form and it has to include clever wordplay, impressive rhyming, and flow effortlessly over a beat. So…some may argue we have a harder time getting a reaction out of people. Here at Smart Rapper, we are dedicated to teaching you everything you need to know to get a reaction out of your audience. In this article, we are going to break down the art of punchline rap to a science, ensuring not only CAN you write punchlines, but you’re EXCELLENT at it. Before we continue, be sure to enroll in our Rap Voice Masterclass where we teach you everything you need to discover your voice Also, check out our writing course Now, let’s start with a basic question…

What Are Punchlines?

I’ll be honest…researching how to tell a joke so I could find these definitions made me feel like I was a robot trying to learn how to act human. “Expected response to a joke is laughter. The joke teller hopes the audience “gets it” and is entertained (Wikipedia,” Duh, right? No one ever has to teach us how to laugh at jokes. It’s a primal instinct. However, in order to fully examine the science behind punchline rap, we have to start with the fundamentals. The linguistic analysis of the mechanics of a punchline makes so much sense, and we don’t even actively think about it like this. I’ll include a quote, and then I’ll explain it in layman terms. “Humor is evoked when a trigger, contained in the punch line, causes the audience to abruptly shift its understanding of the story from the primary (or more obvious) interpretation to a secondary, opposing interpretation (Wikipedia,” In other words, an effective punchline shifts our understanding of a story in a way that we did not expect. Adversely, a jab line is a joke within the telling of a story. It is the humorous text throughout the premise of the story but does not always shift your understanding of the story. In fact, it often helps your interpretation in a humorous way.

Punchlines in Rap

Think of this in terms of rap. Let’s say you have a great punchline that you want to add to the end of a bar in your verse. Adding jab lines throughout your verse keeps people’s attention and teases them for what’s to come. Let’s look at an example of this from Eminem’s track, Criminal: The mother did drugs, hard liquor, cigarettes, and speed (set-up) The baby came out, disfigured ligaments, indeed (premise with jab line) It was a seed who would grow up just as crazy as she (premise with jab line) Don’t dare make fun of that baby, ‘cause that baby was me (punchline) I know this was a dark example, but his execution of the traditional three-part structure of a joke demonstrates my point exactly.

Puns and Double Entendres

Common elements of a rap punchline are metaphors/similes, puns, and double entendres, and using these will make your punchlines powerful and impressive. We all know what metaphors and similes are, but what is the difference between a pun and a double entendre?

What is a Pun?

Think of a pun as a word or phrase that could be interchanged with a different word or phrase, sound the same, but mean something completely different. Here’s an example from, yet again, Eminem, because he’s a master at this kind of stuff: Holy Toledo, it’s Miss Ohio That’s the best ass I’ve seen in a while We should be datin’, she’s from Cleveland But she’s a Bengal, this chick is catty Is that a mini-skirt if it’s a maxi? That’s the shortest thing for a dress since an addy (Cincinnati) In this section of his verse, he references Ohio, some of its cities, and its NFL team to set up the pun in his punchline. “Since an addy” and “Cincinnati” are homophones, meaning they sound the same when spoken, similar to “bear” and “bare” except more complex. Puns often take advantage of homophones when being executed. Furthermore, his line “That’s the shortest thing for a dress (address) since an addy” is a pun in and of itself. But, because this line has two different jokes in it, does that make it a double entendre too? No.

What is a Double Entendre?

Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, a double entendre is based on the fact that some phrases have a literal and hidden meaning. Typically, when using double-entendres, one interpretation is obvious and the other is not so much. I’ll use an example from my personal life. I was at a friend’s house, and I noticed he had his TV mounted on the wall. Every other time I went to his house, his TV was on the floor. So I exclaimed, “Oh, you mounted your TV!” And he replied, “Yeah, and then I put it on the wall.” This was a double entendre, implying that he performed a sexual act on his TV similar to how a female may “mount” her partner. If you still don’t understand the difference between a pun and a double entendre, it’s okay. Most people don’t. I may sometimes call a pun a double entendre (or vice versa) by mistake because it sounds right at the moment. The important thing is that you know how to incorporate them into your lyrics in a way that is entertaining to your audience. At the end of this article, I will teach you exactly how to do that, so stick around.

Why Is Punchline Rap So Fun And Entertaining?

Perhaps, it is because we have a natural desire to release pent-up nervous energy. Maybe we impulsively set out to belong to the group that “gets it”. Whatever the case may be for why humans laugh, one thing is for sure: We love it. When a rapper is known for his/her punchlines, that becomes their brand, and their fans actively listen for them. They want to hear a clever line that makes them smile, laugh, or otherwise react positively. This is a big reason why battle rap is so lucrative – people love a good punchline!

Diss Tracks and Battle Rap: Punchlines At Someone’s Expense

Diss tracks and battle rap combine the appeal of a well-executed punchline with the guilty pleasure of a roast – laughing at someone else’s pain. When it comes to these two forms of rap, the more punchlines, the better…as long as they’re landing. The massive popularity of battle rap and the ability for diss tracks to carry someone’s entire career are not only credited to society’s hunger for gossip and drama, but our affinity toward punchline rap. Now that you understand fundamentally what punchlines are, what they consist of, and their function in hip hop, I will finally teach you how YOU can improve your punchline game TODAY. Because I don’t know how popular rappers came around to writing their punchlines, and I don’t want to misspeak on anyone’s behalf, I will create unique examples and walk you through my process. For beginners, a good practice is to think of your punchline first, instead of writing and hope you come up with something funny. Think of it as an outline before writing an essay, except this is way more fun and you’re passionate about it. Let’s keep it simple: say you’re dissing someone and they’re known to use ghostwriters. You thought of the punchline “Those rhymes ain’t even yours, just like Deebo’s chain” Okay, so we want to lead up to this line in a way that keeps the audience’s attention, rhymes well, and stays on topic. Another practice for the next step is to lay out rhyming phrases with your punchline, then putting a star next to potential jab lines like so: Deebo’s chain People change He’s so lame* Her deepthroat game* Weak cocaine I ain’t gonna speak no names* You get the idea. Then, because your topic is dissing this dude, the ‘deepthroat game’ line could fit if you’re talking about his girl or his mom. Because your punchline mentions that he doesn’t write his own lyrics, the “speak no names” rhyme should precede the Deebo line, so now you can start putting the puzzle pieces together. “…I ain’t gonna speak no names (premise with jab line) But those rhymes ain’t even yours, just like Deebo’s chain” (punchline) I know this bar is kinda whack, but hey, I’m using it for an article. If it was good, I wouldn’t waste it on this. Okay, let’s focus on his girl’s deepthroat game. “I was with your ex, peeped her deepthroat game…” (set-up with jab line) Okay, now what? “Then I asked about you, she said, “He’s so lame.” (premise with jab line) BOOM. We’re getting to the punchline. This is all set-up and jab lines, building up to the punchline. “Shared your little secret, I won’t speak no names” (premise with jab line) I changed the wording from “I ain’t gonna” to “I won’t” to fit the syllable allowance, while also continuing the storyline I’ve set up. “But those rhymes ain’t even yours, just like Deebo’s chain!” (punchline) So now the bars are: “I was with your ex, peeped her deepthroat game (set-up with jab line) Then I asked about you, she said, “He’s so lame.” (premise with jab line) Shared your little secret, I won’t speak no names (premise with jab line) But those rhymes ain’t even yours, just like Deebo’s chain!” (punchline)

Another Example

Let’s think of another example, since most of you reading this are not currently in the midst of a heated rap beef. Let’s say you’re talking about having sex with a girl, but it’s her time of the month. You came up with the line, “Even when I’m in the paint, I give the best D” drawing the parallel between a basketball player showing good defense when under the rim and you not being phased by a little blood in the bed. That’s a great double entendre. Now, let’s find rhyme phrases for the punchline and put stars next to the potential jab lines: Best D Test me Impressed me Sexy Yes, please Red Sea*** Messy* Less deep* Et cetera. Okay, the one that I have the best feeling about is the ‘Red Sea’ line because it fits the topic at hand. “…parting the Red Sea” is a euphemism for what we’re describing. “She asked me, “Do you mind parting the Red Sea?” (premise with jab line) GREAT! Now, adding our punchline right after this line doesn’t flow very well, so we need a transitional line. This may also not be the first line in the set-up because there’s no context. This seems like the second line, and the punchline will be the fourth. “____________ She asked me, “Do you mind parting the Red Sea? (premise with jab line) _____________ Even when I’m in the paint, I give the best D” (punchline) Now, we need to add context to the second line. Let’s pull from our rhyming phrases again. “Told me that it’s gonna get messy (set-up) Asked me, “Do you mind parting the Red Sea? (premise with jab line) _____________ Even when I’m in the paint, I give the best D” (punchline) We’re close! We just have to think of our response to her question before dropping our punchline. Going back to our rhyming list, “Yes, please!” would be a great response! Are we done? Let’s see: “Told me that it’s gonna get messy (set-up) Asked me, “Do you mind parting the Red Sea? (premise with jab line) Do you still wanna do it?” I said, “Yes, please! (premise with jab line) Even when I’m in the paint, I give the best D!” (punchline) There you have it! Practice this at home, and you will become an expert at punchline rap. Remember to enroll in our Rap Voice Masterclass where we teach you everything you need to discover your voice Also, check out our writing course Keep hustlin’, Gang. I’ll see you at the top.

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