How to Rap

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How to Rap series

How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC
How to Rap 2: Advanced Flow & Delivery Techniques
AuthorPaul Edwards
CountryUnited States
GenreNon-fiction hip hop
PublisherChicago Review Press
PublishedDecember 1, 2009 (sequel was published on September 1, 2013)
Media typePrint (paperback)

How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC is a book on hip hop music and rapping by Paul Edwards. It is compiled from interviews with 104 notable rappers who provide insights into how they write and perform their lyrics.[1][2][3]

How to Rap 2: Advanced Flow & Delivery Techniques is a sequel to the book, also on hip hop music and rapping by Paul Edwards. It includes more insights from the interviews done from the first book.[4]


How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC was published by Chicago Review Press on December 1, 2009 with a foreword by Kool G Rap.[2][5][6] Publishers Weekly states that it “goes into everything from why rappers freestyle to the challenges of collaboration in hip-hop”,[7] and Library Journal says, "instruction ranges over selecting topics and form, editing, rhyming techniques, putting words to music, collaborating, vocal techniques, studio tips, and performance".[2]

How to Rap 2: Advanced Flow & Delivery Techniques was also published by Chicago Review Press on September 1, 2013 with a foreword by Gift of Gab of Blackalicious.[4][8] In the sequel, reviewers note that, "Edwards asks advanced wordsmiths for advice on rhythm, melody, pitch, timing, enunciation, percussion, playing characters, rhyme schemes, and rhyme patterns."[9]

How to Rap is published in the UK by Random House on their Virgin Books imprint.[10] This edition is also published by Random House in Australia.[11] It was translated and published in Japanese by P-Vine Books in 2011[12] (part of P-Vine Records) and translated and published in Korean by Hans Media, also in 2011.[13]

Artists interviewed[edit]

The book is compiled from interviews with rappers; the interviews comprise the majority of the book's content.[2] The following artists were interviewed by the author:[3][6]

It also includes information on other artists, who are commented on by the interviewed artists, including:[3][6]


The book was positively received by critics and press outlets.[14] Library Journal says it is, “filled with real tools and overflowing with inspiration… a good read even for nonartists interested in learning more about hip-hop creativity, personalities, and history, this offers insights into music and poetry. Highly recommended,”[2] Hip Hop Connection called it “a complete guide to the art and craft of the MC, anyone who's serious about becoming a rapper should read this first… a vital and vibrant expose of a much misunderstood art form,”[14] and Campus Circle give it a “Grade: A+”.[15]

XXL magazine said "over 100 rappers have offered their insight on the artform for aspiring wordsmiths",[16] while Yale University Press's Anthology of Rap referred to How to Rap's "rich array of interviews with old school and new school artists,"[17] and Oxford University Press's How to Fix Copyright recommended How to Rap for a good "general" overview.[18]

Dana Gioia, poet and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts wrote, “How To Rap marks a cultural coming-of-age for Hip-Hop… [it] is the first comprehensive poetics of this new literary form. …Edwards has made his bid to become the Aristotle of Hip-Hop poetics”.[14]

It also received positive comments from hip-hop journalists and authors such as Kembrew McLeod, Dan LeRoy, Alex Ogg, Mickey Hess, Russell Potter, and Pancho McFarland,[14] and from artists such as Georgia Anne Muldrow, Egon of Stones Throw Records, Badru Umi, and Speech of Arrested Development.[14]

In a review of the Kanye West album Yeezus, news outlet The Daily Beast praised the book, saying: "In Paul Edwards’s comprehensive tome How to Rap, the author surveyed a plethora of rap emcees—104, to be exact—in order to demystify the rap process."[19]


  1. ^ "Chicago Review Press". Chicago Review Press. 2009-12-01. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Xpress Reviews-First Look at New Books". 2009-11-20. Archived from the original on 2012-01-14. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
  3. ^ a b c Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press.
  4. ^ a b "How to Rap 2". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  5. ^ "How To Rap: Kool G Rap (Foreword)". Rap Radar. 2009-12-03. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
  6. ^ a b c "How To Rap". Retrieved 2010-09-10.
  7. ^ "The Song Remains the Same". 2009-09-07. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
  8. ^ "Gift of Gab to Write Foreward [sic] of Paul Edwards' How To Rap 2: Advanced Flow & Delivery Techniques". HipHopDX. 16 August 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Hustle and Flow: Hip-hop Theory and Praxis". Roy Christopher. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  10. ^ "How to Rap : Paul Edwards". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  11. ^ "How to Rap". Random House Australia. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  12. ^ "「HOW TO RAP 104人のラッパーが教えるラップの神髄」ポール・エドワーズ 著". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  13. ^ "국내 최초 랩 입문서 '하우 투 랩' 출간". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  14. ^ a b c d e "Reviews". Archived from the original on 2012-08-28. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
  15. ^ "How to Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC". Campus Circle. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
  16. ^ "Clipse, Mobb Deep & Pharoahe Monch Teach Fans "How to Rap" in New Book". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  17. ^ Adam Bradley, 2011, The Anthology of Rap, Yale University Press, Introduction, p.xlvii.
  18. ^ William Patry, 2012, How to Fix Copyright, Oxford University Press, p.283.
  19. ^ Stern, Marlow (15 June 2013). "Praise 'Yeezus': Kanye West's New Album is an Eclectic Tour de Force". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 29 September 2014.


  • Edwards, Paul (2009). How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC. Chicago Review Press, ISBN 1-55652-816-7.

External links[edit]