What Is A Punchline In Rap?
What Is A Punchline In Rap?
A punchline in rap is the end of the joke/story/idea that elicits a response or a reaction from the listener. In rap, punchlines quite often have a level of wordplay associated with them. I.e similes, puns, metaphors, homophones etc.
Rap is usually written in bars/lines. Bars with punchlines can usually be broken down into Setup bar/Punchline. So the first bar is the setup, and the next bar is the punchline.
Boxing is a great way to think about punchlines in rap. Boxers throw half power jabs, sticks and little blows in order to set up the big haymaker. In rap, the first bar would be the jabs and the second bar would be the punchlines.
Punchlines don’t always have to be structured this way. MC’s get creative and sometimes use 3 bars to set up, and then a punch on the 4th bar. Or even 7 bar setups for 1 punchline at the end.
In general, punchlines will fall at the end of the idea.
How To Make Funny Punchlines
The best way to make a funny punchlines is to use wordplay like double entendres, homophones and puns.
I have found that homophones have been the most common way to make a punchline.
“But he’s no Russell Crowe, shit he can’t be Glad he ate her”
Gladiator/Glad he ate her
A homophone is a word that sounds the same but has a different meaning. This doesn’t fall under the standard classification of a homophone but the general principle still applies.
Using a word that sounds like another word but has a different meaning. Or breaking up one word/phrase and creating interesting elements that way.
Usually you start from the potential punchline and reverse engineer the set up lines so you can get to “can’t be glad he ate her”.
This is where the imagery and more wordplay comes in.
So obviously you want to create some imagery around the idea that some dude is not happy after eating a girls pussy.
So you start to think of potential rhymes, words, phrases that have meaning for both. So words related to gladiators and medieval times. While still setting the scene for a guy who just ate pussy and is pissed.
Off with his head (double meaning kind of. Off with head like medieval times and off with head like your dick just died from getting herpes)
Gauntlet/guntlet (kinda funny)
Medieval / evil times
Russell Crowe (gladiator)
There are lots of things you could use. But I think you get the point here.
Now you want to sprinkle those in while creating the story that will get you to the punchline.
He went down on this medieval chick like an alligator/
Her little guntlet had bumps from panty rash and razors/
Told him she had herpes shoulda handled that shit safer/
Cause hes no Russell Crow, now he can’t be glad he ate her/
This isn’t the funniest or best example but it’s solid enough for you to get the point of how to craft a funny punchline in rap.
Always work backwards.
A lot of the homophones list has been used in many different ways. So nowadays you would be clever to get a little bit more creative.
Combining two or more of these into one is a super cool way to add a little flavour.
Both have double meanings each. Wrap like the physical act of wrapping a present for Christmas. Or rap like rapping on the mic. Dope can be drugs or something that’s super awesome.
A cool punchline Shad K used is:
You couldn’t RAP this DOPE with a zigzag.
This is cool because when people normally say you couldn’t rap this dope. The first thing that pops into your mind is rapping on the mic super awesome. BUT when he says zigzag you realize that what he’s saying can be taken two different ways.
Breaking down long words into shorter ones with different meanings is a technique that I personally like to use a lot. Due to the fact not a lot of people are thinking that hard about those.
Anatomy/A nad to me
NES/ Any yes
Cory Anderson/Coriander sun
Whatever those are stupid but I think you get the point.
Rap Wordplay Tips
Using adjectives to come up with wordplay options is amazing. Especially in battle rap. But you can utilize them for so many different things. Adjectives are descriptive words like short, fat, tall, greasy, icy, ashy etc etc.
The common way to use these in punchlines in rap is to structure it like:
You are so (insert adjective) you could (insert ridiculousness)
Kind of like yo mama jokes to be honest.
“You’re so greasy, you wring your hair in a frying pan”
“These heads are wack like that mole game”
“So much stock in the underground, Farmers are jealous”
Double meaning words
In rap these can be used in SO MANY different ways. It’s actually crazy to think. And most similes get combined with double meanings. If you were going to learn how to manipulate anything in rap. Double meanings are boss.
I’m so DOPE I couldn’t cross the border.
Generally you would take the meaning that is usually associated with it. I’m so dope. It makes you think of I’m so super awesome. And then finish that off with the alternate meaning.
I’m so sick with the words... Doctors write my name on they clipboards
People wanna Gnome me (know me), I aint no lawn decoration
Rap Punchline Examples:
“The only way you’ll get laid is if you crawl up a chicken’s ass and wait”
“You’re dicks so small, you piss on your balls”
“When I give you an IV its not the roman numeral 4”
“You beating your meat like it’s a Rocky movie”
“You play too many vids, thats why I smashed your ex box”
“I’m so dope I couldn’t get over the border”
“I make headlines like a corduroy pillow”
“You must write on perforated paper cause your lines are tearable (terrible)”
“She waited for my LOAD like a playstation one”
“You sell so much bullshit (bulls shit) you could be Michael Jordan’s mom”
“Usain bolt with the sprint, im the fastest on the track”
“I got a bone to pick like a paleontologist”