Everyone in the music industry has talked about the magic of a hit and a&r’s just knowing a hit when they hear it. As we have seen in current years a top 40 hit doesn’t need the huge chorus as it once did especially in the hip-hop and viral landscape. We’ve seen Bobby Smurdas “Hot n*gga” and Young M.A. “Ooouuu” rise up the charts without a sign of a hook or bridge but something that can be noted in these songs is the intentional or unintentional use of “tricks”. The term tricks in music was something that came to my attention reading an article onhttp://djbooth.net/news/entry/2016-07-08-kanye-jay-z-drake-an-industry-tricks

that speaks about an interview where JAY Z’s longtime engineer Young Guru speaks on the implementing of tricks.Now, these tricks before now haven’t been defined but I refer a trick in music as anything that even your most casual listener will chant the lyrics to at a party or show. In today’s climate where Hip Hop has become the biggest genre in the world and MILLIONS of songs are released daily on SoundCloud and platforms alike even the most lyrical need something that’ll stick.

Here are a few ways I’ve noticed that you can implement “tricks” into your song.

1)Beat Pause Effect: Using a pause effect in the instrumental can give your audience a subconscious clue of what part to sing along to and also puts emphasis on the phrase being said.Great examples of this can be found in Young M.A.’s “Ooouuu” “you call her Steffanie, I call her heffanie” and Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE” “my left stroke just went viral!!!”.

2)Refrains: A refrain is when a certain part of the song is repeated. When Drake says “ever since I left the city you” in his hit “Hotline Bling” he is using a refrain.

3)Inserting hooks into your verses: You’re probably thinking how in the world am I suppose to put a hook in my verse? Example of the answer can be found in the beginning of Kendrick Lamar’s guest verse on “goosebumps” in the lines “I wanna press my line, yeah, I wanna press my” resonates almost if not as much as the hook itself.

4)Using different vocal inflections(preferably with melody): Kendrick Lamar also does this in “goosebumps” when he sings the lines “put the p*ssy on a pedal stool, put the p*ssy on a high horse” and can also be found in JAY Z’s “Give it to me” when he states “in the club singing off key, and I wish I never met her at all”

As you can see “tricks” are not tricking as in being manipulative but a way to sneak in more ear candy for the listener and making more memorable songs.

Sometimes being “tricked” can be a good thing.

-Kenneth English