Every great performance or recording begins with a base, and for a Hip Hop song, an R&B song, a piece of Poetry, or a Speech that base is the lyrical or written content of which it is composed.
Every author has a writing voice, and this voice is what distinguishes them from everyone else on the planet. The trick is to find your voice and to set it free. Jay Z and DMX have completely different styles from Tupac. Just imagine the way in which they would all say the line; “haters from the hood to the street,” and you will begin to see the importance of voice. None of them would even write the line the same way and depending on the placement of the punctuation and the inflection, the line will have completely different meanings.
Punctuation is the system of symbols and markings, which separate the components of a line and inform the audience how those components should be interpreted together. The simplest and perhaps the most well known in the English language is the period signifying the end of one complete idea. Without the use of periods, the significance of an idea will most likely to be missed because the concepts of the line will blend together and become convoluted. The next most important punctuation mark is the comma because it is used to distinguish the components of a line and depending on its usage can strengthen or destroy the intended interpretation.
A) Haters, from the hood to the street
B) Haters from the hood, to the street
C) Haters from, the hood to the street
Misplace the comma and the message that was intended to be conveyed will not be understood by the audience, thus it is supremely important to place these marks well.
Inflection is the augmentation of your voice to provide emphasis to different words within a line. Play with each of the three lines, emphasizing different words in each of them. Do you notice how that further changes the meaning of the line?
Another component of voice is the selection of words. Each individual word is vitally important because each is a concept and an idea within and of itself. A string of concepts together becomes a schema and all of this attaches itself to an emotional response within your audience. Thus, depending which emotions an author wants to evoke, the words they chose to employ become vitally important.
Take for example line (A) from above:
1. Haters, from the hood to the street
2. Punks, from the hood to the street
3. G’s, from the hood to the street
By changing the noun in the lines we have thus, changed the entire noun clause and ultimately the meaning of the line and how people will feel about it. So, word selection is immensely important when crafting a line.
Cadence is the rhythmic flow of the sounds within a line, and each sound is a distinct syllable, which gives a line its character. But, more important than each sound, is each silence that comes between the sounds because it is the silence, which distinguishes a sound and establishes the swing of the line. Much of this swing will be established during the word selection, formation of punctuating your lines, and determining the inflection that you will use. However, this swing will also be measured by the music that you select, if you are creating Hip Hop or R&B.
In regard to Hip Hop, your voice is a percussive instrument and in regard to R&B, you voice is a melodic instrument and as such, given the instrumental selection, there are specific placements for the sounds of your voice to be. Execute this wrong and the song will become convoluted yet, execute this correctly and your audience will love your music.
Being Explicit and to the Point
Great writing actually talks about something it does not just talk about, “talking about something.” It is also precise and to the point, it does not dawdle around its point as if it were searching for the words to make the point it is attempting to make, or worse yet, not know what point it is seeking to make. The worst type of writing does not have a point and it is just aimless words on the page.
Great writing begins in one place and carries the audience through a process to some new understanding or feeling. The audience should have a feeling of satisfaction for having completed reading or listening to the authorship. And each line or sentence should be crafted with the care necessary to accomplish this for their audience.
Being an emcee is much like being a boxer in the ring when every punch counts. Imagine that one of the boxers in a match is dancing around his opponent—not unlike Muhammed Ali—but, this boxer is throwing a barrage of scatted punches that never land on target. Do you think this boxer will win? Of course not, because a boxer must hit their opponent to knock them down.
Writing is no different. An author must select an objective, target it and hit the subject square in the face, over and over again with a few good body shots here and there. Dance around your subject matter and hopefully you may only bore your audience and at worst, you will lose their attention completely.
The content of a piece of writing, which consist not only of the subject matter, but also the quality of each line or sentence and the organization of the minor subjects that comprise the line, verse, song and album. The lines and the way in which they are executed is what will grab the attention of your audience, but it is the content that will hold it. It must be novel enough that it will consume their interest, but familiar enough for your audience to relate to it. This takes skill and a thoughtful mind, but you can master this with a little guidance, dedication and practice.
As you can see, there are several components to voice: the content and the subject, the selection of words, the punctuation of the lines, and the emphasis that is placed on different words as they are spoken. Your voice is the first thing that must be developed if your intention is to disseminate your work into the world because that is what is going to distinguish you as both an author and as an artist.
I have shared quite a bit with you and you should be able to make a good start from these tips and tricks. But if you have the desire to make your writing truly phenomenal, then MusicaDiction can help you to learn how to never waste a word and to make each of your lines count. We can also help you learn how to make your lines stand out, catchy and memorable; how to direct your cadence and accentuate your words with the appropriate inflection to elicit the emotional response that will connect your audience with your authorship.