Starting from the Bottom – Arrangements – rockstar, XO TOUR Llif3 & Only God Can Judge Me (examples)

Dec 07, 2017 by rizzak - 0 Comments

Welcome to the second part of “Starting from the Bottom – Arrangements”.

This series tries to give you an overview of how songs are built up and what makes songs to songs. In the last article I showed you the definitions of the arrangement of a song, starting with the Intro, going into the “16 Bars” or how it is actually called “Verse” and to the Hook, the Bridge and the Outro. I promised to show an example of three very popular or at least famous rap songs and how they are built.

First one I want to start with is the song “rockstar” by Post Malone & 21 Savage.

This song is getting played back & forth on german radio stations, even on these ones which are just playing rock pop and mainstream pop, but that’s no wonder why. Rap lyrics mixed with a singing touch gives them songs a very melodic vibe and sounds great for me and I guess for a lot of peepz out there too.

Here is the blueprint of bars for the different parts of the song:

Intro – 4 Bars
Hook – 8 Bars
Verse (Post Malone) – 16 Bars
Hook – 8 Bars
Verse (21 Savage) – 16 Bars
Hook – 8 Bars
Outro – 12 Bars

YouTube: rockstar – Post Malone ft. 21 Savage

This is a perfect example of a blueprint for an arrangement for most rap (and also for most of pop) songs. It’s interesting that Post Malone and 21 Savage use the same melody of singing for their first 8 Bars and for the rest of their verse they vary the melody of the voice in their own way. For me it sounds like they working as a unit but everyone with his own style. Especially the fact, that the first half of the verses have the same melody like the hook, burns the melody of the song in my brain. A nice way to get remembered and recognized in less than 1 Bar!

Second song on our list is “XO TOUR Llif3” by Lil Uzi Vert or how i call him Lil Lucifer.

I am not that kind of person watching every music video of a song because I believe in the sentence “Video killed the radio star”. But I took a look at Lil Uzis visual of XO TOUR Llif3 and I understand why people talk about the link between the phonetic of his artist name and Lucifer. But that’s not the topic. Dope song and nice video though.

Following the arrangement of Lil Uzis song:

Intro – 8 Bars
Hook – 8 Bars
Verse – 12 Bars
Hook – 8 Bars
Verse – 12 Bars
Hook – 8 Bars
Outro – 8 Bars (with fade out)

YouTube: XO TOUR Llif3 – Lil Uzi Vert

You can see that the main setting of the arrangement is like in the song of Post Malone; Intro – Hook – Verse – Hook – Verse – Hook – Outro. But here you have a different amount of bars in the Intro, which is twice as long as in “rockstar”, but it doesn’t disturb or bores the listener because of the changing in the instrumental setup after 4 Bars in the beginning. But what really is interesting is that Lil Uzis verses have only 12 Bars before the hook starts over again. In Germany you have almost every rap song with 16 Bars, so i felt about the song that something was different, now I know what and why. It’s a good option to keep your parts that short if you have a melodic hook which stays directly in mind so you can focus on branding the song into the memory of your listeners.

The third song is “Only God Can Judge Me” by Tupac feat. Rappin’ 4-Tay.

An Goldie of the double-album “All Eyez On Me” released in 1996 with the well known Westcoast Sound of the 90’s with flute-like Synthesizers, Vocoders and funky basslines.

Here’s the Arrangement of that (in my opinion) masterpiece:

Intro – 4 Bars
Verse (Tupac) – 20 Bars
Hook – 8 Bars
Verse (Tupac) – 22 Bars
Hook – 6 Bars
Bridge – 4 Bars
Verse (Rappin’ 4-Tay) – 24 Bars
Hook – 8 Bars
Outro – 12 Bars

YouTube: Only God Can Judge Me – Tupac ft. Rappin’ 4-Tay

Watching this arrangement you get the feeling that there is no repetitive pattern of Bars. Tupac has his first verse filled with 20 Bars, adding 2 Bars into the second verse, where the synth already plays the melody of the hook so he subtracts 2 Bars of the hook to keep still in sync with the sum of Bars of the verse and the hook (28 Bars). In this song Pac uses the bridge to make the listener feel that something is changing and then Rappin’ 4-Tay starts with his 24 Bars long verse. He is adding even 2 more verses than Tupac does in his second verse.
Although it seems like there is no scheme both of them follow, you still have the feeling that everything fits perfectly. And it’s still one of my most favorite songs of Tupac.

These examples give you a little overview of what is possible for the arrangement of a song. You can run things by the book and use the pattern of the Post Malone Song but it is also possible to go a different way if you have more to say that is longer than 16 Bars. It’s up to you and you can experiment what fits the best to you and who knows, maybe you will establish a new length of pattern everybody will turn up to!

In the next articles I will give you some tips on how to improve in writing your lyrics and finding fitting topics.

Let me know when you liked the article or if you have the feeling something is missing and I will edit this post for you. So  feel free to comment in the section below and if you want to be always up to date when I drop new articles, just subscribe to the RizzakBeats Newsletter! 

Leave a Comment