How long does it take to learn to rap?

The answer is always, “One hour.” It’s not something you learn overnight. You go one day at a time. Sometimes that day will be the easiest, and sometimes the hardest. But you just learn to be yourself. Like what you see is what you become. You want to show people that you have an interest in things that are fun, that you’re not just going to play music all day.

Rapper, DJ and now rapper extraordinaire, Tyler, the Creator.

Tyler, the Creator (MVP, XXL Freshman 2015): The thing that I love about rap is that I’m so self-aware. I’m too smart for my own good. I think rappers are the ultimate fucking superheroes. The first lesson I remember learning was I had to know how people talk [laughs]. Because that’s the reason I wanna be famous is to show people that you don’t have to know what the fuck you’re talking about.

As rappers, we want to be the most famous rappers. A lot of guys will tell you, “Listen, you need to sound like the guys who sell more records.” Well, we don’t sound like these guys. We’re not that. The music that we create is our own personal interpretation of the sound that we hear. It’s not what they’re saying. We don’t have to put the same amount of effort, we don’t have to listen to the same amount of lyrics, we don’t have to sing the same amount of songs. That’s a very dangerous place to start.

Rapper, DJ and now rapper extraordinaire, Childish Gambino.

Childish Gambino (FKA Twigs, ScHoolboy Q, Childish Gambino): It took me years of listening and then putting myself to bed to really just figure it out. I thought that I knew about rhyming, but it took me awhile to realise that I don’t really. At first I was like, “What the fuck,” but then I got it. The fact that everyone is so into rap shows the power of rhyming. For me, it really came with time. I used to try to use it on the mic like, “Yo, rap this shit; show me you’re a man.” But it’s a huge part of my life and it’s what it’s always been for me. This whole rap business is what it’s about, man.

Rapper, DJ, producer and now rapper extraord