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How to Turn Any Rap Song Into a Country Song
by Kid Mercury

In spite of the stark differences in their cultural origins and fashion sensibilities, rap and country music have many similiarities. These similiarities allow songs from one genre -- rap -- to be easily translated and reinvented as songs of another genre (country).

The Rap to Country Formula

Below is the formula for translating a rap song into a country song. If you have any questions, simply reply to this thread.

1. Find a rap song of your choice. Choose a rap song that you really like, or that you think would be funny to turn into a country song. The more you like it, the better your country version will be.

2. Pick a seventh chord as your root chord. The root chord is the chord that will serve as the foundation, or root, of the chord progression of your song. Put another way, your root chord will determine what other chords will be in the country version of your rap song. Country music favors seventh chords -- seventh chords have that country twang to them -- so choose any seventh chord as your root chord. For instance, A7 could be your root chord.

3. Once you've identified the root chord, identify the IV and V chords. All the chords should be seventh chords. To identify the fourth (IV) and fifth (V) chords, simply take the root as your first (I), and start counting: if A is the root (I), B is the second (II); C is the third (III); D is the fourth (IV); and E is the fifth (V). And since we want a country sound, we are using seventh chords for all the chords. So if the root is A7, the fourth (IV) is D7, and the fifth (V) is E7.

A7, D7, E7: In this case, where we started with A7 as the root, those three chords are the chords that can be used in the country version of the rap song you have selected.

***NOTE: If you need an introduction to music theory, check out the MoneyChord web page on music theory resources.

4. Experiment with singing and/or rapping the lyrics in your own unique style while strumming the chords. This is the fun part. Experiment with how you want to reshape the song. It's your chance to make the song your own!

Tips for Making Your Country Song the Best It Can Be

The rules for changing a rap song into a country song are pretty simple; that's the beauty of it. Three simple seventh chords are all you need. To ensure that your song has the most creativity and originality, though, consider the following tips:

Rhythm is key. Do you want your country song to be fast or slow? Do you want it to have lots of rests? These are key issues to think about. The rhythm you choose for your country song can make a world of difference in how it will sound. In fact, you can probably take the same rap song and come up with two country versions just by significantly changing the rhythm!

Make the chorus special. Virtually all rap and country songs employ the verse/chorus song structure. The chorus is the hook of the song, while the verse is the story or "engine" of the song that keeps it going. In light of this, it is wise to make it a priority to create a catchy chorus. One trick that can be used to do this is to use all three chords in the chorus, but just two chords in the verse. For more on this topic, check out the MoneyChords web page on chorus writing and song construction.

Examples of Rap Songs Turned Country

Izzo (H.O.V.A.).Jay-Z dropped this landmark hit off his 2001 album The Blueprint. Check the audio clip below:




In the audio clip below, the verse of the song was transformed by alternating between the C7 chord and the G7 chord.

Listen:


For the chorus, another chord was introduced -- D7. So the three chords used were G7, C7, and D7. If we assume G7 is the root, then the chords used were I, IV, and V.

Listen to the chorus:



Real Slim Shady. Perhaps the most popular rapper in the history of the genre, Eminem cemented the legacy of his talent on his sophomore effort with this theme song of his. Check out the excerpt below.




In this country version, the chords E (at the seventh fret), B, and A were used. It sounds a bit more like a pop song since seventh chords were not used; to get a more authentic country sound, simply making those chords seventh chords would have done the trick. Check out the video clip below.




Note the use of rests in the chorus; this gives the chorus a more distinct sound and thus adds some variation to the piece as a whole.


This article is by singer/songwriter Kid Mercury, the founder of ActoGuitar.com, a community offering free guitar video lessons.


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