I'm have difficulty with my flow(s). My main problem is being able to consciously control where I place my syllables within the beat. I'm guessing I don't have enough practice with the timing of the other instruments within the beat - and even my own voice. For example, more complex beats such as something by The Alchemist, or more specially, "Made You Look" by Salaam Remi give me trouble. The problem is again listening to the beat and knowing where to place my syllables. So how can I practice this more efficiently?

I can land on the snare with ease, but it's the syllables in between that give me problems. Ideally, I should use my syllables as an addition to the beat (because it's an instrument and it's like playing in a band).

When I freestyle, this comes with ease because I don't have a "structure" (my pre-written verse) so I can go anywhere I want to go as long as I follow something else or I find myself within the ''open'' space within the pocket. But this brings me back to my original question: How can I improve this and be more efficient?

Thank you!

  • 1
    Alright so this is the answer to the problem: Since the beat and your verse are two different structures in their own right, you have to unify them by having them compliment each other. Focus on the meter as a whole. This will change the way you write by giving you more options and ultimately more versatility as a writer and as a musician. It'll come with practice and being able to find space within the pocket so you don't clash with anything else. Also listen to the structure of the beat - go with the flow. It's amazing, be open to change - only good things can happen.
    – DonDynamic
    Jan 7, 2020 at 19:11

1 Answer 1


how can I practice this more efficiently?

One consideration is becoming more familiar with rhythm in general. Isolate the "kick drum" pattern, loop it for a while, and count the downbeats of your measures while that's playing ("one... two... three... four..."). Next, count the 8th notes and mark where that kick is hitting ("one and two and three and four and"). You may need to count 16th subdivisions, or more or less than four beats per measure ... depends on your song. Many "young" musicians find this challenging, so don't be discouraged if it's difficult. Difficult simply means "unfamiliar." If counting beats and feeling the downbeat is difficult / unfamiliar, practice. I've seen GRAMMY-winning musicians stop and count out a complex phrase during rehearsal. Nothing to be ashamed about and it will help you the most.

From a writing perspective, consider which lyrics to emphasize. Every rhythm pattern has moments of natural emphasis. If you dance, this can help you feel the heavy beats. A common example is the first downbeat (beat "one") though some drummers like The Police' Stewart Copeland intentionally skip this beat for effect. Emphasis can also be a snare hit or a heavy off-beat (or "up beat"), a pause or gap in the beat, etc. The words you emphasize on these moments will be more impactful than the "passing tones," if you will. The length / duration of your lyrics is equally important. The most important words you say should be held longer (or followed by a rest).

Take one sentence of your verse and try placing it on different beats of the rhythm (looping). Like an actor auditioning different ways to say their dialogue. Find what makes sense for your message.

Do you love her? ... Do you love her? ... Do you love her? ... Do you love her!?

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