Don't Sweat the Technique equips aspiring performers, musical artists, singers, and hobbyists with the tools and knowledge needed to become a better rapper. Written in simple language and filled with many exercises, this book helps build techniques and unlocks solutions to common stumbling blocks that make people afraid to rap. It includes exclusive advice from dozens of MCs who share their approaches and give further insight into mastering the craft.
Part one provides an introduction to hip-hop history—the birth of the genre, how it reflects African American experience and culture, major influencers in the industry, different subgenres and styles, and check points towards finding your authentic self in rap. Part two provides a tapestry of exercises, methods of practice, and practical tips that help with breath support, posture, diction, rhythm and flow, storytelling and delivery techniques, mic techniques, vocal health, and much more. After reading this book, you’ll not only improve your rapping, but you’ll also have something to say that will make people want to listen.
Melissa L. Foster is a Charles Deering McCormick Distinguished Professor of Instruction in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University and is on the faculty of The CCM Summer Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University. She is an educator, voice coach, theatre artist, researcher, and speaker. As a voice teacher, she specializes in musical theatre, pop-rock styling, the history and performance of hip hop, and opera/musical theatre crossover. Visit her website: melissafostervoice.com.
Part 1 ⎹ History and Influence
Part 2 ⎹ Vocal Technique
About the Author
This book gives young artists the context to fully appreciate and understand the genre of hip-hop and the tools to take it to exciting new places. I’m grateful to have been part of the process.
Melissa L. Foster meticulously unravels the past five decades, offering readers deeper insight into the diverse styles encompassed within the realm of hip-hop. Her technical drills target the specific needs of these artists in a way that is accessible and grounded in vocal function. American popular music is rooted in Black American music, and it is way past time for our industry to recognize the impact of hip-hop on American society and culture. This book is essential reading for artists seeking to enhance their grasp of this art form and for educators aiming to become more effective mentors to 21st-century artists.
Melissa L. Foster has successfully created a ‘How to Understand and Execute Hip-Hop Music for Dummies’ with Don’t Sweat the Technique. It really is an embarrassment of riches for students, teachers, and performers alike.
This book is a masterful examination of not only the deep roots of hip-hop and rap, but also it includes very detailed, easy-to-follow technical guidelines for the performance of these genres. I am deeply appreciative of Foster’s willingness to pose complex questions about authenticity and her encouragement for readers to discover for themselves where they stand on some difficult subjects. The book is a fantastic guide for any level of artist or teacher who is interested in exploring and celebrating the roots of so much of our music today
Foster generously welcomes all to the collision of history, culture, and art forms that is hip-hop and lifts up voices of its key artists. This book will inspire performers and teachers to seek a more respectful, authentic approach.
This book is a rarity, covering the historical genesis of hip-hop, rap, and other popular vocal genres. Melissa L. Foster has created a user's guide to the delivery of the most contemporary vocal genres—a "how to" manual of rapping with fabulous vocal techniques and advice.
12/12/23, Northwestern Now: This title was included in a roundup of books by Northwestern authors.
12/12/2023, NorthWestern Now: Don’t Sweat the Technique was featured in this article: