How to Rhyme Like Eminem

Matthew Edward
11 min readApr 30, 2018

1. ​Near Rhymes

Don’t let yourself be fooled by the “perfect” Rhyme. In hip hop and rap, it is necessary to use imperfect rhymes called “Near Rhymes”. There is a very limited number of “perfect rhymes” available, making them repetitive. When you introduce “Near Rhymes”, it opens up doors to syllable matching.

Ok, so what is a Perfect rhyme then?

Cat, Hat, Bat, Mat, Stat, Chat etc.

Goal, Roll, Mole, Hole, Toll

Air, Chair, Bear, Care, Dare



1. The vowel sound of the syllables are the same.

2. The consonants sound after the vowels belong to the same phonetic families.

3. The sounds before the vowels are different.

In order to learn about how near rhymes work, we need to understand Phonetic families. Here is a chart I am going to explain in detail. We will reference this chart regularly so keep it handy.

There are 3 boxes — Plosives, Fricatives, and Nasals. Each one is a phonetic family of consonants. When a word ends in a consonant in one of the boxes you can use the other members of the family to find the perfect rhyme substitutions.

​Dub/Bud/Rug/Pup/Shut/Luck are all part of the PLOSIVES family. So they are family rhymes.

Dove/Tough(f)/Bus/Lush/Clutch are all part of the Fricative family.

Bum/Run/Lung are all a part of the Nasal Family.

Say you want to rhyme:


IF we were to just use perfect rhymes, we would get: App, Brap, Cap, clap, dap, flap, gap, lap, map, nap, rap, slap, scrap, strap, tap, trap.

That’s it though. Those are all of the options available. Saying what you WANT to say becomes pretty hard when you only have 15 options.

Now let’s look at the options we get if we include our phonetic family members.


Lab, ab, cab, dab, tab, stab, grab, nab, crab, scab, Bad, Add, brad, clad, dad, fad, grad, glad, had, lad, mad, nad, pad, rad, sad, Tag, bag, mag



Matthew Edward

Current journey: 100 days documenting a niche site build in public. A progress log. PLOG?