In rock criticism, there are words that have simply been ruined by overuse; you just can’t get away with referring to a guitar riff as “angular” anymore.

And as more and more writers—and bloggers, Twitter personalities, and message board loudmouths—join the ever-growing conversation about rap, there are more ways to talk about the sound of hip hop, and more clichés to avoid, or carefully avoid misusing.

Whether or not you've actually ever sat at a drum machine and made a beat, or interviewed a producer and learned about their craft firsthand, there's a baseline of knowledge every hip hop fan should at least try to be conversational in. 

Here are ten key terms that can help you sound smart while talking about rap beats…

RELATED: Complex Cliffs Notes: What To Say To Pretend To Be "In The Know" During Your New Years Eve Parties
RELATED: What Stans and Haters Say About Your Favorite Rapper (And the Reality)
RELATED: Ten Things Rap Haters Say—and How to Respond