Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $12.95
  • Save: $3.50 (27%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
How to Rap: The Art and S... has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Like New | Details
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Like New Condition. Ships Immediately.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

How to Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC Paperback – December 1, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$7.50 $5.09

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
$9.45 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • How to Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC
  • +
  • How to Rap 2: Advanced Flow and Delivery Techniques
  • +
  • The Complete Rhyming Dictionary: Including The Poet's Craft Book
Total price: $27.69
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews


"How to Rap is classic in an art that is just coming into a definition of itself. Everyone who wants to go to the next level needs this book, it's the inside and outside of the trade." --Nikki Giovanni, poet and one of Oprah Winfrey's 25 Living Legends

"How to Rap marks a cultural coming-of-age for hip-hop -- the first comprehensive poetics of this new literary form" -- Dana Gioia, poet and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

"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" -- Library Journal

"The most incredible feature of How to Rap are bar notational charts that can be used to form your rhyme, flow, and more" -- On Wax Magazine

"Wanna learn how to be a super MC? In How to Rap over 100 rappers have offered their insight on the artform for aspiring wordsmiths" -- XXL Magazine

"How useful, amid the rain-forest-worrying deluge of books written on hip-hop theory and culture, that Paul Edwards has taken a straightforward, reasoned and informed approach to discussing the actual mechanics of rapping. How To Rap looks at that art form by unknotting its components--content, style, delivery and, most intriguingly, its spatial alliance with music and beats--and uses practical examples for context and analysis. Aspiring MCs will benefit most, but there are insights and observations that will appeal to anyone with an interest in hip-hop’s development."  —Alex Ogg, author, The Hip Hop Years, The Men Behind Def Jam, Rap Lyrics

"A clever breakdown of the art form of hip-hop rhymes, for anyone who is into the art of incredible raps. It's about time someone actually recognized this powerful music for its artistic ingenuity."  —Speech, Arrested Development

 "A complete guide to the art and craft of the MC, anyone who's serious about becoming a rapper should read this first. Proof positive that rap is more than just talking over music - a vital and vibrant expose of a much misunderstood art form."  —Hip-Hop Connection

"If only this book had existed back in the day, I might not have become a university professor. For now, though, I'll have to settle for hanging out with my academic pals Eazy A, Chuck Ph.D., and Dr. GRE--and curling up with a copy of How To Rap. Watch out world, this crazy ass-prof [associate professor] is coming straight outta college."  —Kembrew McLeod, professor, critic (Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Spin, Mojo), author (Freedom of Expression®), documentary filmmaker

"Want to be a true emcee? Then pick up this book before picking up a microphone. Never before has the artform been broken down so well."  —dubcnn.com  (no. 1 news and interview site for West Coast hip-hop, including regular interviews with major rappers such as Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube)

"Paul Edwards's new book How to Rap brings a fresh approach to hip-hop lyricism that's remarkable for its depth of practical detail.  What's in a namecheck? What are the pros and cons of certain metrical or rhetorical forms?  What are the most common structures in hip-hop's history? With numerous examples and analyses of the hip-hop greats of the past, Edwards offers both an immensely practical introduction for would-be rappers, as well as the first detailed poetics of 'the pulse of the rhyme flow' in hip-hop. This is a foundational text."  —Russell Potter, Ph.D., author of Spectacular Vernaculars

"How to Rap is an excellent, revealing read on the insights to the technical workings of rap music. I had no idea what I did was so scientific and complicated or the literary value of it. As a scholar and an educator, I highly recommend this book to any rap fans or people interested in the technical aspects of music and poetry."  —Mighty Casey, popular underground rapper

A must-have guide for anyone who ever wanted to understand the blood, sweat, and tears that can go into the art of MCing. The book lets those in the dark understand the craft of MCing as close as possible.”  —DJ Rasta Root, Smokin' Needles Records (DJs and produces for the likes of A Tribe Called Quest's Phife Dawg, with whom he runs Smokin' Needles Records)

About the Author

Paul Edwards holds a master’s degree in postmodernism, literature, and contemporary culture from University of London and has done extensive research on rappers and their creative processes, musical theories, and lyrics.


Kool G Rap is one of the most influential MCs of all time, with Eminem, Jay-Z, Big Pun, R.A. the Rugged Man, and many others citing him among their influences. Frequently on “greatest MCs of all time” lists, he has appeared on tracks with numerous artists, including Eminem, Nas, AZ, Mobb Deep, Busta Rhymes, Big L, Ghostface Killah, and Canibus.


Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; Original edition (December 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556528167
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556528163
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Edwards is the author of three hip-hop books:

-The Concise Guide to Hip-Hop Music (St. Martin's Griffin, 2015)
-How to Rap 2: Advanced Flow and Delivery Techniques (Chicago Review Press, 2013)
-How to Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC (Chicago Review Press, 2009)

He is a writer and researcher of hip-hop who has interviewed more than 100 notable rappers and has done extensive research on rappers' creative processes, musical theories, and lyrics.

He has been interviewed as a leading expert on hip-hop and rap by the Chicago Tribune, the New York Amsterdam News, Wired magazine, Chuck D's New York radio show, HipHopDX, Australia's Acclaim Magazine, UK's Echoes Magazine, Germany's HHV Magazine, and Time Out Dubai, as well as being referred to as "the Aristotle of Hip-Hop poetics" by Dana Gioia (poet and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts). He holds a master's degree in postmodernism, literature, and contemporary culture from the University of London.

Official site links:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an up and coming rapper, I didn't know what to think about the book but I wanted to improve myself and my music. This book is a must have for any new or established artist. It has a vast range of artist comments, guidance and input. It also breaks down the music theory of hip hop to instruct/guide artists and listeners to better understand the music. It's very detailed and thorough (even what may seem obvious). I'm dissecting it now and learning some new every page. I know that my music will go to the next level because of it. Buy it invest in yourself or just enjoy the artistry and science of hip hop.
Comment 25 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

I am someone who has always been moderately interested in rapping, but never really knew much about it. There are some songs and some artists that I absolutely love, but everything else I pay little attention to. I don't know very many artists names and am almost completely unaware of rap prior to about 1999.

On to the book. This book has taught me all of the intricate details that go on into imagining, creating, editing, and performing that I could have ever wanted. Every single page taught me something that I found worthwhile and often thought was incredible. Another amazing side-effect of this book is that I now have a huge appreciation for the hip hop community, and am amazed and inspired by many of the individuals. I am now aware or and appreciate tons of great artists of the past and present that I had know idea about before. I have now listened to 100's of tracks that I never would have before, and have learned how incredibly talented these artists truly are.

I highly recommend this book for anyone that is interested in the hip hop community, wants to appreciate the art form more, or who wants to learn how to rap.

And as others have mentioned, it seems that the only people that have given this book low reviews are "nobody" rappers who think that they are famous. There is nothing wrong with being a "nobody" rapper as that is what 99.99% of us will be, and it can still be fun and meaningful! Just don't pretend to be able to construct something better than this book.
Comment 23 of 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book offers great insight on various views and directions for artists beginning, artists to brush up on knowledge, and artists looking to put it all together.

Now I'm not a professional but I would assume a professional would have little reason to buy a book like this unless they have not found them selves yet. This book is not a spoon feeder. It is more of a 4 COURSE meal. You choose at your own pace what you would like to eat and the order you would like to eat it. It offers great reference from many artists. Most are underground yet the important thing is that there are many avenues on the various components of rap. These are present. It doesn't give you worksheets, it instead provides views and points of views. These points of views are then perceived by the reader according to their understanding. The level of information is great depending on the ability of the reader to comprehend what is being read.

Truthfully just about everything covered in this book was something I already knew or did, but the fact that it was neatly laid out and organized was the key. Some people have to have some peace of mind when they write which can be achieved by understanding direction and options. This book can give peace of mind to rappers that excel in writing.

I have recommended it to my friends and have seen fast improvement.
This is the definitive book on the subject.
Comment 13 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Look, I am a professional rapper. I make my living doing it, and have for 10 years. I personally know a lot of the people in this book. I was actually very excited to read this book, and thought the potential was endless, especially with some of the artists selected.

The problem though, is some of the answers are so atrocious and uninformative that I began to feel sorry for the author for reasons he may not even understand. Why would you put all the effort (which was clearly a lot) into a book like this, only to have passages like these?:

"A lot of MC's do research before writing their lyrics. Some talk to friends or family as a way of research." Then, the first quote from a rapper to back up this statement and explain the "science" of talking to friends and family for rap research is from 40 Cal. And this is, verbatim, the entire quote:

40 Cal: I might ask a friend about a line.

Really? That's incredible! And no, there is no elaboration on that.

The book is full of very uninspired, pointless quotes from rappers, who never state anything more than the painfully obvious. And let's be real. Do we need to quote Omar Cruz every other page? Is Omar Cruz the master rap technician all the kids aspire to be like?

I'm just saying. The author could have based an entire 10 page chapter on Big Daddy Kane's entire unique approach. Instead, there are about 10 Big Daddy Kane quotes scattered around the book, and none of them are even remotely informative.

Pass on this book unless you are a 46 year old white secretary who is doing a parody rap for her boss on his birthday. If you know a single thing about rapping, or furthemore, LISTENING to rapping, you will gain nothing from this book.
14 Comments 71 of 89 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
How to Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC
This item: How to Rap: The Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC
Price: $9.45
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: immortal technique, greatest mcs, gifts for artists, teach how to rap