The Art of the Rapper Filler Noise

We’ve all heard it: your favorite rapper is flowing along in a song quite nicely, mixing creative wordplay with well-timed punchlines, when all of a sudden they’re hit in the face with a disturbing realization – Oh crap, I’m going to have an extra few beats at the end of this line and I have nothing left to say, think, think, uhh, umm (insert random noise)! – The next thing you know, the rapper is back on his horse, he finishes his verse, and the casual listener is none the wiser as to what just happened. 

I call this the “rapper filler noise” (I know, very clever); put simply, this is when the rapper realizes he needs to fill a certain amount of time in a song, but has nothing else to say, so he just, well, makes a noise. Certain rappers are better at this than others, and most have a go to noise, a signature, if you will.

Before we count down the filler noises (what’s a blog post without a countdown?), I would like to make a quick distinction between the rapper filler noise and rapper signal noise. The signal noise is just how it sounds; it’s basically a rapper saying, “Hi everyone, it’s me, I’m ready to rap now!”

Here are some examples:

  • The strange Jadakiss squawking bird noise – 
  • The DMX dog barking/growl thing – 

See the difference? The song didn’t start yet. If you were hearing one of those songs for the first time, you would automatically know, “Ah, that’s Jadakiss,” or “Ah, that’s DMX.” With this understanding in mind, let’s get to the top five rapper filler noises…

Number 5: Tyga’s “agh!”

Perhaps the only filler noise that sounds remotely related to the rapper’s name. Tygas (assuming that’s the plural of Tyga) do have to growl, don’t they?

Number 4: French Montana’s “hanh!”

This would be ranked higher but Montana just downright abuses the filler noise (probably because he’s not very good – wait, who said that?)

Number 3: Kardinal Offishall’s Tourette’s Snydrome

I’m not even sure this qualifies as a filler noise, but Kardinal makes more noises than actual words in his songs, so they’re definitely filling in for words at some point.

Number 2: Pusha T’s “yeulch”

Looks like someone else beat me to it…

Number 1: Rick Ross’s grunt/”woo!”

The only rapper with TWO signature filler noises. If you can become the most popular rapper in the world by not shaving, sporting man boobs, and making a noise like a dog just jumped on your lap, you deserve it.

(Yep, two whole minutes.)

By the way, if anyone tries to make the Rick Ross grunt your text tone on your phone, you’re too late; I already did it for mine.


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