So.. You Hate Your Rap Voice..
There is no such thing as the perfect voice.
BUT.. almost all of us hate our own voices. I have hated mine my whole life. Just go back and listen to your verses. Sometimes it’s even hard to do.
The first thing people hear when they hear our bars is the sound of our voice. Not the crazy sick multi’s, not the amazing imagery or metaphors. Just the tone of your voice.. And the beat. If they don’t like it. NEXT. Fucking NEXT. Seriously, I next rappers who sound like shit in the first 5 seconds.
So how do we actually get a better rap voice? How do you stop hating the sound of your voice after recording your verses?
These are questions I needed the answers too, so I thought I’d share the most interesting information that I learned and what is currently helping me alter the sound of my voice. I always thought my voice sounds super high pitch and annoying when I play back a verse I just layed down. Super frustrating.
Best Trick To Stop Hating Your Rap Voice
Okay before you try this. Record yourself speaking about anything. Then save it. Come back to that video after you spend a couple days practicing this technique. You will be blown away.
Find your adam’s apple. This is the easiest way to find your larynx. If you can’t find it. Put your index finger on your chin and slide it backwards until you feel the first bump. That’s the adam’s apple. The larynx is right behind the adam’s apple.
Now with your index finger on your adam’s apple, swallow. Feel your adam’s apple jump up when you do that? That’s perfectly fine, it’s supposed to do that. BUT it’s not supposed to jump over your finger when you’re speaking or rapping. Whoa.
Put your index finger on your adams apple and start to rap about anything you like. IF the larynx jumps up above your finger while your rapping… then that is a problem. You’re pitch is going to come out WAY TOO HIGH. And sound super squeezed and unnatural. A high larynx is the most common issue affecting the general public.
Now to fix this this it’s super easy to get your larynx down to a lower position. These are all tips from Roger Love who was Eminem’s and Tony Robbins vocal coach.
Place your finger on your adam’s apple.
Speak in a yogi bear, or rocky balboa type voice and feel the larynx move down. OR drop the back of tongue down, with the tip of your tongue still on the back of your teeth. But relax the middle and back part of your tongue so it drops down. This will move the larynx down. This will sound funny and unnatural for sure. That’s good.
Practice rapping while trying to keep your larynx down as much as possible. Do this once a day or anytime you have some free time when no-one else is around.
Don’t do this all the time, but keep practicing and in a SHORT WHILE your larynx WILL stay down at a lower position.
Oh my god this is a revelation for me.
Squeaky Hinge voice
Speaking AFTER you’ve run out of air. It comes out all creepy and quiet and bumpy. Like a small squeaky rumble in the back of your throat. Try speaking after you’ve run out of air. I DO THIS. This sound happens when you run out of air and continue to speak or rap. It’s all creaky.
I’m starting to realize that I have been holding my breath at certain times when i’m rapping. Best way to fix that is breath control. NEXT.
When rapping we want to do two things. We want the breath to go out. But we don’t want it to go out too quickly.This is crucial for a powerful, strong voice.
The diaphragm is attached to the lumbar. When you relax the diaphragm, you exhale. When you inhale, the diaphragm pulls the air in. Breathing from the diaphragm is the best way to breathe. Try taking a big breath in through your nose. Do your shoulders and chest rise? When you raise both of these you are creating tension.
You don’t want the upper abdominal to squeeze. Most rappers tend to clench their upper abdominal and push their neck out when rapping. I lock my stomach when I talk and barely breathe while i’m rapping. This doesn’t make for a very good voice to listen too. And it wont be strong, it will sound like shit to be honest.
How To Breathe Properly
Place your hand on your belly button.
Take a deep breath in from your nose.
Pretend that you are filling a balloon in your stomach. (buddha belly)
Then breathe out through your mouth in one fluid exhale, and feel your stomach come back to normal position.
Are you a mouth breather? Make sure that you are breathing in through the nose. Breathing in through the mouth dries out your throat.
Quick interesting info. The lungs always have oxygen in them. When you breathe you are just kind of topping it off. So you don’t need to take massive breaths every single time.
Most of the time, when we speak.. We say little phrases with little bursts of air breathing out.. Then hold our breath until we say the next little thing and breathe in after we run out of air. The goal is to create a constant flow of air on the exhale while we are rapping. Spit a bar, and try to feel your stomach moving inward the entire time you are speaking. .
If you have control over the speed of the breath that comes out of your body, you will sound like a brand new person.
An awesome exercise is called the SLOW LEAK. Take a huge breath in through your nose, fill up the balloon in your stomach, and then ‘hiss’. Do it for as long as you can and feel your stomach moving in the whole time.
Posture is pretty important, so i'm going to tell you about the Alexander technique to improve your posture. Which will in turn make your rap voice sound much better.
What is the Alexander Technique?
It’s a postural technique that helps you free up your neck and shoulder muscles for the best sounding vocal projection. Perfect for rappers who want to rap but hate their rap voice. Actors use this technique. Singers like Paul McCartney and Sting use it as well. It’s taught at the Juilliard Academy of Music. So where did it come from and why have we never heard of it before?
Alexander was an Australian actor in the 1800’s. He would do monologues for stage acting and found that many times in the middle of his show his voice would get hoarse. When he went to the doctor they couldn’t find a solution, so he set himself out to learn what he was doing wrong.
So he went home and set up 3 mirrors to give himself more angles to observe himself speaking like he normally does on stage. What he found was that he was gasping in air, pulling his head back, gripping the floor with his feet and puffing up his chest. All causing him to put strain on his vocal muscles. This is interesting for rappers because these problems were affecting the sound, tone and pitch of his voice. Hmmm.
Mainly, what he figured out was that if he stopped pulling his head back and down, and started moving his head up and out..It would fix many of the problems he was having with his vocal chords. A bit more complicated than that but you get the point. Plus the perfect posture for a singer/actor/rapper or anyone else who use their vocal chords with purpose.
I actually scoured YouTube for a good video to show this but pretty much every vid is mega old school and super long. This one below is a super quick adjustment of where the head is supposed to be so your voice is constricted. This will help you get a deeper rap voice and you will be happier with the bass that comes out. Trust.
This is a much longer video about the alexander technique and to be honest it’s cringeworthy and really hard to watch haha. BUT if you have the time, some important parts start coming around 15 minutes in. And the actual work on the guy starts at 18:25.
The voice is an athletic thing. It is a physical apparatus. You can train it to get stronger and more authentic to your rapping style.
A common problem with hip hop artists is they make the audience “work” to hear what they’re saying.
This is honestly beginning to become the most important thing i’ve done for myself in the last 10 years. Getting vocal coaching is amazing for hip hop heads. I can’t wait to get some feedback on if this actually helped some of you out.
If you want to HEAR all about this stuff do a quick search on Roger Love. I don’t do Amazon affiliate links or anything but he has some audio books and normal books to read and some YouTube vids as well. Highly recommend. I don’t usually condone pirating but you can probably torrent it on piratebay too.