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Understand the theme

Domestic and family violence is not ok. It can happen to anyone. And it doesn’t just mean physical abuse – it can be psychological or financial. It might be happening to you, your mum or your siblings, or your friends. Not matter who, it’s wrong. Find out more to inspire your content at It’s not just physical.

That’s why we want you to know that you deserve a life free of fear, especially in your home.

So together, let’s #stopthehurting.

Listen to the backing track of Illy’s song ‘Back Around’ or read the lyrics.

Download the full track

Listen here on your mobile and download from your computer.

You can also check out our videos about the different types of domestic violence to get inspiration below.

How to write a hip-hop song

There’s no secret recipe to writing lyrics – but there are some cool techniques you can try to kick-start your journey.

  1. Step 1: Pick a theme around domestic and family violence

    The theme of the competition is domestic and family violence and what it means to you. What are your experiences/thoughts/feelings about domestic and family violence? How can we overcome it? How does it affect you?Hip-Hop Fact: Did you know know Beyonce’s song ‘Freedom addresses issues faced by some African American women. 

  2. Step 2: Pick a story around domestic and family violence

    Coming up with some kind of story around your central theme of domestic and family violence can help lay out the direction of your lyrics. Think about what story you’re telling – is it your story, is it someone you know? How can you tell this story? You don’t have to start at the beginning, you could start at the end, or the middle or chop and change throughout. Just jot your ideas down and when you know what you want to write about, you can start thinking about how you want to write it.

    Hip-Hop Fact: Gym Class Heroes’ song ‘Stereo Hearts’ is a great example of the use of storytelling around a chosen theme; in this case, love.

  3. Step 3: Bring the beat in

    Some artists write lyrics before having a beat, others prefer to write lyrics to suit the beat. Whatever you decide, there’s a host of options to help you write – and rhyming is a popular one! There are heaps of different kinds of rhymes – ‘end rhymes’ are popular – this is when the rhyming words are at the end of the sentence, as is the case for In A Tribe Called Quest’s song Can I Kick It?;

    Wipe your feet really good on the rhythm rug
    If you feel the urge to freak, do the jitterbug
    Come and spread your arms if you really need a hug
    Afrocentric living is a big shrug

    Literary devices can also help you come up with ideas to express your story. Some examples include;

    Alliteration is when you use words that have the same sound or letter at the beginning of each or most of the words in a sentence. For example, in Will Smith’s song ‘Men in Black’ the repetition of the letter ‘b’ creates the poetic effect of alliteration in these lines;

    So don’t blink be what was there
    Is now gone, black suit with the black Ray Ban’s on

    Figurative language is used when figures of speech are created that go beyond literal meaning of the words. A metaphor is an example of figurative language and an example of this can be seen in The Black Eyed Peas’ song ‘I Gotta Feeling’;

    Let’s burn the roof, and then we’ll do it again

    ‘Burning the roof’ here is a metaphor for having a good time/dancing/partying; not literally burning the roof.

  4. Step 4: Play around with song structure

    Once you’ve played around with some literary devices, you might want to consider the song’s structure.Typical song sections are verse, chorus, bridge, hook, and refrain, and you can play around with the order to suit your song. A lot of popular songs follow the structure of verse/chorus, verse/chorus.

    Don’t understand a word? Here’s all the terms explained:

    Beat – a device used to mark or count time (time or rhythm), especially with the hands or with a baton.

    Bridge – the bridge is often used to contrast with and prepare for the return of the verse and the chorus.

    Chorus – a part of the song that is repeated, usually following each verse.

    Hip Hop – a style of popular music of US African American and Hispanic origin, featuring rap with an electronic backing.

    Hook – a hook is a musical idea, often a short riff, passage, or phrase that is used in popular music to make a song more appealing and to “catch the ear of the listener”.

    Lyrics – words that make up a song, usually consisting of versus and choruses.

    Music bars – a bar or measure used in writing music. Each bar is a small amount of time. Most music has a regular beat which can be felt. Each bar usually has the same number of beats in it.

    Verse – a section of a song that is often followed by a chorus. Verses are typically arrange dwith a metrical rhythm and typically have a rhyme.

  5. Step 5: Have some fun!
    Now it’s up to you to have a go – remember even the greatest musicians had to start somewhere!