If you ask, rapping is basically an art form that depicts the most relevant, real, and raw emotions and thoughts of the artists. Rapping is lyrical and smart and that is why it is an art. Creating a killer punchline in rap is a subtle art that every rapper is expected to master. It encompasses the themes of emotions and feelings along with passion and determination.
There are Raps about almost everything. Politics, Poverty, System Injustice, Money, Jewelry, Cars, Sex, Girls, Love, Sadness, Depression, Failure, Success, and a lot more. Now if you write on these, and also pack a killer punchline! How amazing would that be? Most of these topics require you to have a killer or funny punchline in your rap lyrics. That is what makes rapping an art. It has to be poetic, lyrical, has to have rhyming words and also rhythm.
Now you might have, obviously, listened to a lot of music, and chances are you have, in your lifetime, heard people Rap. But if it still doesn’t ring a bell…well.
Anyway so if you are not clear and are thinking…
What Exactly is Rap?
Now you’ll know. So Rap music is basically hip hop style and in the type of music where Rhyme and Rhythm play a huge part. It is very lyrical and to the beat. It is an art form used to express yourself and your thoughts.
Be it social systemic failures or personal monetary successes, the artists are free to make it about anything and everything. It is about making a strong impact and stirring the emotions of the audience. It requires legit writing skills and musical sense at the same time. Rapping is hard!
What is a Punchline?
Well, a punchline is the consummate or culminating part of a joke or a story that packs a lot of punch. It is the line that gives the narration the desired and expected humorous, surprising, or dramatic impact. Such dramatic impact can be created by adding some fun element to the punchline. In a later part of the article, you will see a couple of examples of a funny punchline in a rap.
For example when Canibus says in Curriculum 101, “Bury me at the beach, if the sea is out of reach, cause when I speak, what’s fluid, becomes concrete”
Almost 100% of the time, the punchline is the last line or the last part of a line. Because that is when you need to pack a punch right?
Now if you can’t add 2 and 2s … Let me just exert more effort and put it into another heading that says…
What are Punchlines in Rap?
Yeah. What are those? Never heard of it. Anyway, so punchlines in Rap are basically the lines that make you go “Daayyyuuuum!!” Lyrics are very vital to rapping. Everything in a rap song ultimately boils down to the lyrics and writing. The lyrics need to be meaningful, clever, and witty. You need to be good with writing, vocabulary, puns, and rhymes. These are important if you want to write a good Rap.
Punchlines necessarily have to fall at the end of the idea. This is what makes it a punchline. They need to have a certain impact on the audience and the listeners. Now because Rap is written in bars/lines, bars with punchlines are broken down into 2 parts. So the first bar becomes the premise for the punchline or the setup, and the next bar is, in fact, the punchline.
However, they are not always structured in this manner and you can always experiment with where and how you want to deliver it. It just needs to have 1 punchline at the end of an idea. That’s it.
How to Create a Killer Punchline in Rap?
Creating killer rap punchlines for your rap song is a difficult job, not gonna lie, but for you to have the best rap song, you need to rack your brains to incorporate it. For you to incorporate thee, you need to think like a writer. Remember English Grammar Lessons of Figures of speech? Use them to make it witty and clever and also to give it a coherent structure.
Metaphors in Rap
We all know how poetry thrives on metaphors. And if you didn’t recognize this by now, Rap Is Poetry. Creating metaphors uses a lot of imagination and to word it correctly so as to pack a punch in your punchline, even more so. It is challenging, but that is what real writing is about. You become a writer when you put all these to your use.
When you use a metaphor, you are saying that “this is this” while using a completely different object to compare. The more different, the better. Like saying Ants are Elephants after all.
“I start to think, and then I sink/ Into the paper, like I was ink/ When I’m writing I’m trapped in between the lines/ I escape, when I finish the rhyme…”
-Rakim “I Know You Got Soul”
Wordplay in Rap
There is also this technique or let’s say amazing occurrence when a larger word or phrase when broken down into smaller words with a different meaning. It is called wordplay in rap. There are infinite possibilities and the sky is the limit. Or the number of words in the language. They are called oronyms. Oronyms are often used to create funny rap punchlines.
Here are some examples of oronyms that have been used by rappers:
Gladiator – Glad he ate her
Two Portapotty – too poor to party
Floor to walk on – Florida walk on
Another one, by Conceited, is “My guns like Pokemon, I’ll peek at you and blast toys.” Here in the second part: peek at you- Pikachu and blast toys- Blastoise! How cool is that? Show me your skill by sharing some “wordplay in rap” examples in the comment box.
Homophones in Rap
What are homophones? Oh so simple. Rap and Wrap. Same sounding words.
One amazing example is the full song “The Crew” by Dan Bull. To quote 2 lines from it,
“Race in a race with me, you’ll blow your tyre out
Go face to face with me, you’ll blow, you’ll tire out”
In the first, he basically brags about how great a driver he is.
In the second, he says that if anyone tries to fight him face to face, they will be in trouble as he boasts how strong he is.
Simile in Rap
By definition, a simile is a statement wherein you compare one object and say that it is similar to another object. Similes use the words “like” or “as.”
“I drop beats like a clumsy farmer”
Generate cool rap names for you and your crew.
Puns in Rap
Puns are really enjoyable and cool when you get them right and execute them amazingly. People often use pun to create an impactful punchline. It is an essential ingredient for a killer rap punchline. People love puns and go crazy over them. Your pun itself serves as the punch, so it essentially IS your punchline.
Build-up to the Punchline
Now when you have a lot of ideas for amazing wordplay and punchline raps, you are still to execute them. Now before the execution or the performance of it, you need to write the build-up for the punch. It is not enough to have a punch. You should know when and where to pack it. And this is where most people lack. They get overexcited and happy about the idea and the punchline lyric that they don’t care much about the lines that are preceding it. This is where most punchlines don’t punch. The build-up to the Punch is very important. Creating a background and laying the foundation for the punchline, is what makes it impactful and strong. It is vital to do that work while composing the lyrics, the rap song. For this, you need to be crafty and clever and good with writing and organizing thoughts and words.
Execution of the Punchline in Rap
The execution of Punchline is also equally important. When, where, heck even the beat plays its role in hitting the perfect punchline. Although rapping is an art, staying organized is a very important part. You must stay on topic, organized, and keep everything calculated.
There are oneliner punchlines that are just required to be said out loud and Boom! It is done. Whereas, some punchlines need you to create a background first. A background that is relevant but also that does not make it obvious what’s coming next. Follow a beginner’s guide to rapping for starting your journey as a rapper.
Some Examples of Best Rap Punchlines
- For an amazing example of the use of metaphor and simile:
“My rhymes are like shot clocks,
and blood clots,
my point is your flow gets stopped.”
– Talib Kweli
- For a great example of a punchline using homophones:
“I don’t just flip a policeman, I flip the police, man
When you hear a siren, you’re like “Flip, the police, man!”
– Dan Bull
- This one is pretty famous and everybody loves it:
“Put you on an IV, not the roman numeral four
The IV that leads to the funeral floor”
- Some others that I love:
“She’s an overachiever so all she do is suck seed”
– Childish Gambino
“I jack, I rob, I sin, I’m Jackie Robinson, except when I run base I dodge the pen
Forget Batman and Robin, I’m robbin with a batman”
– Rock Heltah Skeltah
“I got 24 bars that say you not Great
but only dropped half a 16 You still got ate”
Frequently asked questions about rap, punchlines, and rappers. From rap metaphors to wordplay, we answered all the questions for better clarity.
Q: What is Wordplay in Rap?
A: Wordplay is what it says. Playing with words in a clever and witty way. It also includes using puns and other devices to make rap creative and meaningful. It is often used for punchlines.
Q: What are Rap Metaphors?
A: Metaphors like wordplay are handy tricks to make killer punchlines better.
Q: What Does “Bars” Mean in Rap and Hip Hop Music?
A: A bar can be said to be a line of a verse but then again, a bar is of 4 beats. And so usually Rap songs have a 4/4 time signature.
Q: Who is the Top Rapper Overall?
A: There is no right answer to this, but everyone seems to have collectively agreed that Eminem (Marshall Mathers) is the number 1 rapper overall.
Q: Is Rapping a Good Career Choice?
A: It is a great choice if rapping is what you are and passionate about. If you are determined and trust yourself to succeed in it. If you think that you can do this every day of your life, no matter what, without switching later on. But if you are not sure, you can pursue it as a side hobby.
Q: Is Rapping Easy?
A: To be honest, rapping is hard. Even if you are good with writing, you still need rhythm, metering, beats, vocal technique, speed, delivery, and many many things. But if you are passionate and determined, this shouldn’t deter you.
Do you still think writing a “punchline in rap” is easy? Show us your rapping skills by sharing killer punchlines in the comment section below. Feel free to follow rapnames.online for more stuff related to rapping.