How To Rhyme Like Eminem

This is for beginner's to rap, or advanced emcees looking to make more complex multi-syllable rhyme schemes like Eminem. If you are struggling to figure out how to rhyme better in rap, this full guide is for you. But also if you know multi rhymes pretty well already, there might be a couple cool nuggets for you.

There is a lot that goes into this and i'd like to start off by stating that there are no RULES to rhyming. BUT that being said, there is a basic structure you can branch off of to understand why certain things sound better to the human ear. So without further adieu, let's get right into it. 

 

1. Near Rhymes

Don’t let yourself be fooled by the “perfect” Rhyme. In hip hop and rap, it is necessary to use imperfect rhymes called “Near Rhymes”. There is a very limited number of “perfect rhymes” available, making them repetitive. When you introduce “Near Rhymes”, it opens up doors to syllable matching.

Ok, so what is a Perfect rhyme then?

Cat, Hat, Bat, Mat, Stat, Chat etc.

Goal, Roll, Mole, Hole, Toll

Air, Chair, Bear, Care, Dare

NEAR RHYMES

RULES:

1. The vowel sound of the syllables are the same.

2. The consonants sound after the vowels belong to the same phonetic families.

3. The sounds before the vowels are different.

In order to learn about how near rhymes work, we need to understand Phonetic families. Here is a chart I am going to explain in detail. We will reference this chart regularly so keep it handy.

Family Rhyme Chart.jpg

 

There are 3 boxes — Plosives, Fricatives, and Nasals. Each one is a phonetic family of consonants. When a word ends in a consonant in one of the boxes you can use the other members of the family to find the perfect rhyme substitutions.

ub/Bud/Rug/Pup/Shut/Luck are all part of the PLOSIVES family. So they are family rhymes.

Dove/Tough(f)/Bus/Lush/Clutch are all part of the Fricative family.

Bum/Run/Lung are all a part of the Nasal Family.

Say you want to rhyme:

tap

IF we were to just use perfect rhymes, we would get: App, Brap, Cap, clap, dap, flap, gap, lap, map, nap, rap, slap, scrap, strap, tap, trap.

That’s it though. Those are all of the options available. Saying what you WANT to say becomes pretty hard when you only have 15 options.

Now let’s look at the options we get if we include our phonetic family members.

NEAR RHYMES WITH SLAP

Lab, ab, cab, dab, tab, stab, grab, nab, crab, scab, Bad, Add, brad, clad, dad, fad, grad, glad, had, lad, mad, nad, pad, rad, sad, Tag, bag, mag, shag, lag, nag, haig, Fat, at, bat, cat, brat, fat, flat, frat, gat, hat, lat, matt, nat, pat, rat, stat, spat, slat, scat, Rack, back, crack, jack, lack, mack, pack, rack, sack,stack, tack, track, Have, Math, bath, hath, path, wrath, Spaz, Laugh, Harass, Cash, Catch

So obviously there is more, however you sacrifice the PERFECTNESS of the rhyme. The good thing is with rap and spoken word, these are still close enough to sound pleasing to the human ear. It’s been proven time and time again by the best rappers in the world.

Now let’s try to rhyme:

SAFE

What is a perfect rhyme for Safe? Strafe? Almost nothing. But if you add in the Phonetic family members:

NEAR RHYMES FOR SAFE

Faith, Base, Case, Face, Erase, Grace, Lace, Mase, Pace, race, trace, Gave, Behave, slave, rave, dave, brave, crave, cave, save, wave, Maze, Craze, Taze, Lays, Plays, Days, Haze, Blaze,

H, cape, drape, ape, tape, gape, Escape, Fate, rate, hate, state, berate, crate, date, gate, great, grate, hate, late, mate, bake, cake, drake, fake, lake, make, nake, rake, sake, take, wake.

You get way more options, which means more creative potential, however restricted enough so it still sounds pleasing.

NASALS EXAMPLE

Gum

pendulum, rum, bum, dumb, drum

Fun, Done, Bun, gun, hun, nun, pun, run, sun, stun, shun, tonne, won, Lung, Tongue, Hung, Clung, Rung, stung, Sung,

ADDITIVE RHYME

When the word you want to rhyme ends in a vowel like see, day, Bye, Go.

The only thing you can do for more options is to add a consonant to the end of the word.

Let’s take a look back at the family rhyme members. Voiced Plosives — g, b, d — are the least harsh and pair with vowels the best, use these first if possible. Let’s go through an example and go through each one:

Day/drag

Bye/Bride

Go/Grove

See/deed

Nasals are last on the list of good rhyming options — Day — Dame — Lane — Rang.

You can also add consonants even if there is already consonants after the vowel. Beat/Sweets, Hive/Drives, lane/rained

SUBTRACTIVE RHYME

1. The syllables vowel sounds are the same.

2. One of the syllables adds an extra consonant after the vowel.

3. The sounds before the vowels are different.

Fast/Class, Mask/Mass, Fact/Back, inept/rep

Start with Fast and Class is subtractive.

Start with Class and Fast is additive.

ASSONANCE RHYME

Most rappers fall somewhere in between near rhymes and assonance rhyme. It is very helpful for rhyming multi-syllables schemes.

1. The syllables’ vowel sounds are the same.

2. The consonant sounds after the vowels are unrelated.

3. The sounds before the vowels are different.

So for example. An assonance rhyme for Drown. It has that ‘OW’ vowel sound. So keeping to the rules, the consonants don’t matter and this is the furthest you can get from a perfect rhyme.

Drown, sound, doubt, vowed, house, couch, mouth, owl, How.

This is the cornerstone of ANY rhyme in songwriting or poetry. If you do not understand this then you are at a loss.

hallenge:

. Write 10 near rhymes for the word Goat.

2. Two-Syllable Rhyme Schemes

Now we understand imperfect rhyme and how to use it. Let’s move to another basic concept that many rappers don’t use or understand.

To get my point across, let’s look at a list of rappers who DO use Multis and compare the quality of rappers who DON’T regularly use multis.

Rappers who do use Multis regularly:

Eminem, Rakim, Big Pun, MF doom, Big L, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Brother Ali, Atmosphere, Kool G Rap, Tech N9ne, Logic, Chance the Rapper, Earl Sweatshirt, Aesop Rock, Apathy, AZ, Jadakiss, Vinnie Paz, Army of the Pharaohs, Shad K, Crooked I, Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden, Royce da 5'9, Cunninglynguists.

There are so many more I’m missing but these are some of the most well-known, either way this is pretty much a list of some of the greatest rappers ever.

Two-syllable rhyme is exactly as it sounds. A two-syllable word or phrase that uses Near rhymes to give it a similar sound. Let’s look at some two-syllable options.

Rapper, Wacker, Ladder, Dabber, Thrasher, Capture, Mastered, Camper, Expander.

OR compound words like laptop. So what’s the difference between Rapper and laptop? They are both 2-syllables…But the difference is Stressed and Unstressed Vowels & syllables.

‘Ah’ is the stressed on rapper. You don’t say Rap — ER. You say rAHpper, and emphasize the ‘ah’ sound. Well, if you’re Canadian like me…

When I say stressed syllables, all I mean is where do you put the emphasis on those words. People say things differently all over the world. So, different accents can have different rhymes. For the sake of explaining, I’m Canadian.

With the word laptop. There are two stressed syllables, LAP & TOP, which changes things. We want to “Rhyme” both stressed syllables. I put quotes because we can use any type of family rhyme to do it.

Laptop/Snapshot — The first syllable is Snap. The second syllable is Shot. Let’s break down a list of options we have available to us.

Slap, Hat, Back, Batch, Laugh, Grab, Cash, Have, Bath, Fast, Class, Had

Nasal & Assonance Lamb, Can, Aunt

Shot, Thought, Drop, Talk, Watch, Cough, Rob, God, Cause, Moth, Loss, Lost

Nasal & Assonance Calm, Lawn,

Black Thought

Back Talk

Matlock

Jackpot

Mascot

Jack Scott

Flag Plot

Snack Shop

Cash Drop

Bad Cough

Rap God

Cash Lost

Class taught

Back drop

Axe Chopped

Black Ops

Shamrock

Lambchop

****BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER THIS IS A MANDATORY RULE FOR RAPPERS AND HIP HOP LYRICISTS. ****

As a rule: The last syllable in the rhyming word/phrase should be closest to its phonetic family as possible. When looking at a phrase you want to rhyme, the end of the word should be closest to perfect. The beginning and middle are MUCH less important and can be assonance rhymes.

As an example: We can use nasal assonance for the first syllable and near perfect rhymes for the last syllable. Lamb chop, Shamrock.

Still sounds good…

But if you switched that around it would take away the proper emphasis and directly affect the rhythm. Tampon, Hats Gone, Ask Mom.

Snack shop/Tampon — Kind of loses its rhyme feel, right?

Definitely stay closer to perfect with the last syllable of the rhyme word(s) to get emphasis in hip hop. Knowing this will come in handy as we advance to 3+ Syllables.

3. Three-Syllable Rhyme Schemes

- Stressed and Unstressed Syllables

efore we dive in. Let’s talk about Stressed and Unstressed syllables again. I almost made a chapter on this topic alone because it’s so important. But it starts to become more important with three-Syllable rhymes, so I’ll cover it here.

Anti-Christ

Where are the stressed syllables?

‘Ah’ sound and ‘i’ sound are stressed vowels. When dealing with 3 syllables or more, the rules start to open up. Let me explain.

You can use close to perfect rhymes: Anti-Christ, Panty Heist, Auntie Diced.

Near Rhymes: Anti-Christ, Candy life, handy knife, Nanny twice, Fancy Bikes, Camry lights.

Okay, definitely some cool options there.

But we can get even more options to open up for us when using assonance to Rhyme the stressed vowel and DON’T RHYME the unstressed syllables. You still need a syllable there. But you don’t need to rhyme it at all. Let’s try:

AGAIN we are ONLY assonance rhyming the STRESSED vowel.

Stressed — Unstressed — Stressed

‘Ah’ Rhyme — Any syllable — ‘Eye’ rhyme

Grandma’s nice

Anvil Strikes

Hammered twice

Vannah White

Gambling Dice

Sample splice

Stand Tonight

Stand to fight

Private Shows

Kaleidoscopes

Wine Merlot

Designer clothes

Violet Robes

Highest dose

NEW EXAMPLE:

Dwayne Wade Shoots

Stressed — Stressed — Stressed

Dwayne Wade Shoots

Brain Wave Loops

Game day Jukes

Eighth grade roots

Melee moves

Make Grape Juice

Hate Grey Goose

EW EXAMPLE:

Snowblower

Stressed — Stressed— Unstressed

Because the end of the rhyme is the most important piece to remain perfect, you cannot rhyme snow blower with, slow going — even though the assonance is the same, this goes against the rule that the end of the word has to remain as close as possible to perfect or near rhyme to make it effective. Though you can still use slow going IN the full line, just not at the end of the bar.

Snow blower

Comb Over

No Closure

Stone Sober

Boat Motor

Cold Shoulder

Broke Toaster

CTION:

Identify YOUR OWN stressed and unstressed syllables in these words and phrases.

1. Hanging on

2. Banjo Strum

3. Abandoned

4. Relieve stress

5. Five Thirty

. Four-Syllable Rhyme schemes

ince we now understand how stressed and unstressed syllables work, we can move on to 4 Syllable rhyme schemes with EASE. We are finding and rhyming the stressed syllables while fitting in the unstressed syllables that don’t need to rhyme. Make sure the end of the word rhymes close to its phonetic family.

Let’s look at some examples and tackle the issues that arise.

Marketing pitch

Where are the stressed syllables?

Stressed — Unstressed — Unstressed — Stressed

Carving a niche

Marvelousness

Arm getting stiff

Car in the ditch

Karmas a bitch

Starting to flinch

Article Skipped

Particles Split

Hard to resist

Marginal Shift

NEXT EXAMPLE:

Meditation

Separation

Vegetation

Get impatient

Bread is bakin

Weather Changin

Refs Amazin

Entertainment

Clever Statement

Melodramatic

Medicine cabinet

Element added

Electrical static

Chemical addict

Sexual Magic

Federal Taxes

Letter fanatic

Better to cab it