Rap is poetry.

Poetry is a type of literature, or artistic writing, that attempts to stir a reader’s imagination or emotions.

Poetry appears in many forms and styles.  This makes it difficult to define exactly.

One thing that makes poems different from other types of writing is their structure. The words of a poem are arranged in lines and groups of lines, called stanzas.

When a rap artist writes a song,  the sentence he writes are called ‘bars’ in the music industry.

Famous rappers are Jay Z, Kanye West, Drake, Nikki Minaj, Big Sean, Iggy Azalea, Eminem and Macklemore.

rap is poetry

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At the start of this lesson, you should brainstorm rap using a spiderweb diagram on the whiteboard or else by using a brainstorm handout. 


What do you think of when you hear the word rap? Do you ever think of… poetry? The two really are not that different. As a poet you need to be able to incorporate rhythm and flow into your pieces to make it sound appealing. Rap does the same thing. Poets often try to give their poetry visual elements by using figurative language (for example metaphors). The challenge with rap is making the piece appeal to the ear while conveying your message quickly, and keeping rhythm. Get started writing your very own rap, and who knows — you may be the next Eminem or Drake or Nicki Minaj!

  1. Brainstorm. Choose your topic and let your imagination run wild. To get started, many artists freestyle for a bit and write down every thought, idea, and emotion that comes to mind. Use this as your inspiration.
  2. Create a hook. The basic layout for a rap is intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, outro. Many rappers start writing the hook (chorus) first. The hook captures the theme of the rap, and conveys its message to the audience. Rappers and lyricists in general start with this because the chorus is what people remember and take from a rap. It sets the rhythm and flow, and inspires what is said throughout the rap.
  3. Write lyrics. Use the brainstorming you did along with your chorus as a guide for what you are writing about and to build onto your ideas. Keep in mind that you have to maintain a rhythm since rap is music as well as poetry, and both follow a beat. Some lyricists listen to a beat as they write to help keep their rhythm.
  4. Be personal. Don’t lie in your raps about who you are, but to get your point across, you might want to use use hyperbole (exaggerating to the extreme). Typically, lines rhyme in a rap, but the words don’t have to match exactly–it all depends on how you say them . Always keep your message and audience in mind.
  5. Organize. Once you have an idea of what you want to say, organize your ideas. Break them up into verses while you keep in mind the layout for most basic raps:
  6. Memorize. Being able to recite your words from memory allows you to keep the flow and rhythm of it. So practice, practice, practice! Read and reread your piece until you’re sick of it. Play around with the tempo to see what sounds better with your style. Don’t be discouraged if you trip up on your words.
  7. Rap and share. With the rhythm down and the words engraved into your memory, you’re ready to rap. Record yourself rapping in front of a crowd or even alone in your room and share it on the site along with the lyrics! Let your voice be heard, and get going on your next masterpiece.     

Here are some video clips about how rap is poetry. 

Jay Z- Rap is poetry.


An English teacher who rap battles with students.

Rap Poetry Class At Charter Oak Cultural Center.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar Visits Mr. Mooney’s Class.

Teacher’s Inspiring Classroom Rap Goes Viral.

A talk by Ted Talks- Hip-Hop & Shakespeare? Akala at TEDxAldeburgh.

Poems about rap. You can read the best rap poems. Browse through all rap poems.


What part will you play in standing up to bullying?

This is a video clip from Britain’s got Talent (2014). Two young boys called Bars and Melody perform a rap about bullying. One of the young boys wrote the rap using his personal experience. All the judges were every impressed and they even won Simon Cowell’s golden buzzer.  Bars & Melody combine cuteness and originality, charming the judges and the audience with their skills. The pupils love this video clip as it is a topic they can relate too and also the boys are around the same age as your students. 

If you are using this video clip, at the start of the lesson you should define the term bullying.

Define bullying

At the start of this lesson, you should define the term bullying to the students.

Spunout defines bullying as the on-going abuse of another person through physical or mental torture. To make matters worse this torture is often conducted in the presence of others. The humiliation felt by the victim is hard to understand if you have never been bullied. If it happens over a long period of time it can have devastating effects on a young person’s mental health.

Explain bullying to the students. 

You should then explain bullying to the students. Either give the students facts about bullying using a handout or power point or else split the students into groups and get the groups to look up facts about bullying. This group work activity would improve the students digital literacy and enhance their communication skills as they have to work together to complete the task. I recently wrote a blog post about bullying.

Classroom activity- Group work- Write your own rap about bullying. 

Tell the students that they are now going to write their own rap song about poetry.

Split the students into groups.

Give each group coloured paper and a pen.

Tell the students that they have 8 minutes to complete this task.

Use a countdown timer to time the students. This motivates the students and also lets them know how much time they have left. You can use this one here – http://www.online-stopwatch.com/countdown-timer/

Each group will then perform their group’s rap in-front of the class.

We will have a class discussion about each group’s work.

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During National Anti-Bullying Week 2014 the Diana Award’s Anti-Bullying Ambassadors programme brought together over 800 young people and staff from across the north and south of England to celebrate National Anti-Bullying Week with Bars and Melody. The events were held at the Blackpool Winter Gardens & the Emirates Stadium. Bars and Melody lead a music workshop for their Anti-Bullying Ambassadors by teaching them how express themselves through music.

Ireland Showcase 2015 – Bars and Melody’s Speech.


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