Drew’s Review: The most important elements in a hit rap song

Drew Hagge, Music Columnist

This guide can also double as a public service announcement to those rap fans who make sure to distinguish “real” versus “fake” hip-hop, which not-so-coincidentally happens to fall along the same lines as their personal preferences.

We can break down a hit rap song into three essential elements. First, the production and instrumentation of the overall track. Second, the flow or rhyme scheme of the lyrics on the track. And, third, the lyrical content on the record.

These elements maintain a structural hierarchy of importance. From most to least essential, the list reads: production, flow, content.

The fact that production takes priority in a song is the easiest concept to grasp, simply because the beat often dictates the remaining aspects of the song, like melody and rhyme scheme.

Take “Game Over” by Lil Flip, for example. Flip could have projectile vomited on the beat — for all intents and purposes, he did just that — and it wouldn’t have mattered.

Understanding the pattern of the rhyme to be more important than the actual content can be hard to accept. However, one of the genre’s greats can help to prove this point.

The Notorious B.I.G., despite having a catalogue two albums deep, ought to be recognized as the most-talented rapper ever. B.I.G. earned this title because of his ability to find unique flow patterns within each beat.

Lyrical content can take a song to another level of greatness and importance, but mechanically, it is just the icing on the cake of a hit song.