How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC
Author(s) Paul Edwards
Cover artist Philip Pascuzzo
Country United State
Language English
Subject(s) Hip Hop
Genre(s) Non-fiction
Publisher Chicago Review Press
Publication date Dec 1st, 2009
Pages 340 pp
ISBN 1556528167

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.


It was published by Chicago Review Press in December, 2009 with a foreword by Kool G Rap. Publishers Weekly states that it “goes into everything from why rappers freestyle to the challenges of collaboration in hip-hop”, 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”.

Artists interviewedEdit

  • 2Mex of The Visionaries
  • 40 Cal of Dipset
  • Aesop Rock
  • Akil The MC of Jurassic 5
  • Akir
  • AMG
  • Andy Cat of Ugly Duckling
  • AZ
  • Big Daddy Kane
  • Big Noyd
  • Big Pooh of Little Brother
  • Bishop Lamont (Dr Dre’s protégé)
  • Bobby Creekwater
  • Bootie Brown of The Pharcyde
  • B-Real of Cypress Hill
  • Brother Ali
  • Brother J of X-Clan
  • Buckshot of Black Moon and Boot Camp Clik
  • Cage
  • Cappadonna (Wu-Tang Clan affiliate)
  • Cashis (Eminem’s protégé)
  • Chuck D of Public Enemy
  • C-Murder
  • Cormega
  • Crooked I
  • David Banner
  • Del The Funky Homosapien of Gorillaz and Hieroglyphics
  • Devin The Dude
  • DJ Quik
  • Dray of Das Efx
  • E-40
  • El Da Sensei of Artifacts
  • Esoteric of 7L & Esoteric
  • Evidence of Dilated Peoples
  • Fredro Starr of Onyx
  • Gift Of Gab of Blackalicious and Quannum
  • Glasses Malone
  • Gorilla Zoe
  • Guerilla Black
  • Havoc of Mobb Deep
  • Hell Rell of Dipset
  • Ill Bill of Non Phixion and La Coka Nostra
  • Imani of The Pharcyde
  • Immortal Technique
  • Joell Ortiz
  • Killah Priest (Wu-Tang Clan affiliate)
  • Kool G Rap
  • K-Os
  • Lady Of Rage
  • Lateef of Latyrx and Quannum
  • Lord Jamar of Brand Nubian
  • Masta Ace
  • MC Serch of 3rd Bass
  • MC Shan
  • Mighty Casey
  • Mr Lif
  • Murs
  • Myka 9 of Freestyle Fellowship
  • N.O.R.E. of Capone-N-Noreaga
  • Nelly
  • O.C. of Diggin' In The Crates
  • Omar Cruz
  • One Be Lo of Binary Star
  • Papoose
  • Paris
  • Pharoahe Monch of Organized Konfusion
  • Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest
  • Pigeon John of Quannum and LA Symphony
  • Planet Asia of Cali Agents
  • Pusha T of Clipse
  • Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest
  • R.A. The Rugged Man
  • Rah Digga
  • Rampage of Flipmode Squad
  • RNC-64
  • RBX
  • Remy Ma
  • Rock of Heltah Skeltah and Boot Camp Clik
  • Royce Da 5’9”
  • Schoolly D
  • Sean Price of Heltah Skeltah and Boot Camp Clik
  • Sheek Louch of D-Block/The Lox
  • Shock G of Digital Underground
  • Speech of Arrested Development
  • Spider Loc
  • Stat Quo
  • Steele of Smif-n-Wessun and Boot Camp Clik
  • Stressmatic of The Federation
  • Styles P of D-Block/The Lox
  • T3 of Slum Village
  • Tajai of Souls Of Mischief and Hieroglyphics
  • Tash of Tha Alkaholiks
  • Tech N9ne
  • Termanology
  • Thes One of People Under The Stairs
  • Twista
  • Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox
  • Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks
  • Vursatyl of Lifesavas and Quannum
  • Wildchild of Lootpack
  • of The Black Eyed Peas
  • Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers
  • Wordsworth
  • Yukmouth of The Luniz
  • Zumbi of Zion I

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

  • 2Pac
  • Beastie Boys
  • Big Pun
  • Dr. Dre
  • Eminem
  • Jay-Z
  • KRS-One
  • Melle Mel
  • Nas
  • Notorious B.I.G.
  • Rakim
  • Snoop Dogg
  • T.I.


The book was positively received by critics and press outlets. 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”, Hip Hop Connection call 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”, and Campus Circle give it a “Grade: A+”.

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”.

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, and from artists such as Georgia Anne Muldrow, Egon of Stones Throw Records, Badru Umi, and Speech of Arrested Development.


See AlsoEdit

The Four Core Elements Breaking | DJing | Graffiti | MCing
Hip-Hop culture Dance | Fashion | Music | Production | Theater | Beatboxing
History History | Golden age | Old school | New school
Subgenres Acid rap – Alternative hip-hop – Bit-HopBounce musicChicano rapChopped and screwedChristian hip-hopConscious hip-hopEast Coast hip-hopFreestyle rapGangsta rapHardcore hip-hopHorrorcoreIndie hip-hopInstrumental hip-hopMafioso rapMidwest hip-hopNative American hip-hopNerdcore hip-hopUnderground hip-hopPolitical hip-hopPop rapSnap musicTurntablismWest Coast hip-hop
Fusion genres Abstract hip-hop - Baltimore clubCountry rapCrunkCrunkcoreCumbia rapElectro hopG-funkGhetto houseGhettotechGlitch hopHip-Hop soulHip houseHiplifeHyphyIndustrial hip-hopJazz rapMerenrapNeo soul - Rap metalRap operaRap rockRapcoreDigital Hardcore - Wonky (music)
By continent African | Asian | European | Latin American | Middle Eastern
By country
Other Turntablism | 1520 Sedgwick Avenue | Master of Ceremonies | Hip-Hop music | Hip-Hop culture | Hip-Hop Timeline: 1925 - Present | Scratching | Hook (music) | Break (music) | Sampling (music) | Synthesizer | Hip-Hop rivalry | Misogyny in hip hop culture | Rap Genius
Lists & Categories Genres | Models
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