1. Tell your own storyOne of the most common things that happens in the hip-hop game is that rappers tend to rap about things they don’t know about. If you’re not a drug dealer, don’t rap about it. If you’re not a gangsta, don’t rap about it. Even the most trill thugs in the world will like your music and respect it, if you’re telling the truth about who you are. Are you a computer geek who excels in college? Rap about that. Are you a gamer nerd that struggles picking up chicks? Rap about that. Not only can people relate more, but it tells a story that may not have necessarily been told through hip-hop yet. Too often hip-hop artists rap the lifestyles of their gangster friends, and while they blow up and become famous off of selling their friends stories, they’re boys wind up dead or serving a prison sentence. Don’t be that guy. Tell your own story. There is still so many things to say in hip-hop that haven’t been said yet. You as an individual are unique, and so therefore, telling the world about you will always automatically set you apart.2. Realize that its workIt’s amazing how many rappers really believe that making it famous is all about money. Yes, it takes a bit of money, but even more powerful than money is your work ethic. While everyone you know is out partying, you should be in the studio. While everyone you know is out getting drunk at the bar, you should be home writing and perfecting your craft. However, don’t think the work solely applies to the making of music. Work ethic also applies to promoting it. You need to be out doing shows, handing out music, working for long hours on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter and building a following. You need to be in constant communication with your fans and always coming up with content for them to check out. Recording a freestyle every few days, shooting a 1 minute video of yourself talking, those are just two of the several things you could be doing in the dead time between pushing a big song or major video production. In a world where attention spans are growing shorter by the millisecond, content is king. It takes serious work to make it in music. It’s harder work than most jobs you could have, but people see it and respect it. The average hip-hop fan wants to know you work hard, because they do too. And, if you expect them to support your music with their hard earned money, you better be working as hard on making your music as they worked on getting that money.3. Respect the DJ, learn how to write hooks.Where I notice so many rappers fail, is making a good chorus. If you have trouble with melodies or singing, than bring a professional writer in to help you with them. bring a singer in and to make one. Nobody wants to hear 4 minutes of a guy rapping or a weird awful sounding repetitious one-liner sang in wildly flat tone. I mean, there are certain places and times for that. Certain people appreciate that, but they are minimal. If you expect to get huge at this rapping shit though, you better make some songs with hooks people want to sing along with and don’t mind hearing over and over again. Go out to a nightclub and listen to the DJ’s. What are they playing? Respect the DJ. The DJ is your friend. The DJ can make or break you in an instant. DJ’s have a boss too, and their boss is a club owner who wants his customers to be happy. Give the DJ something he can use and the DJ will be your best outlet to becoming a name people know.4. Find your own soundI understand your biggest influence is DMX. I recognize your favorite rapper is Eminem. I’m aware that you look up to Lil Wayne. However, there is already a DMX. There is already an Eminem. There is already a Lil Wayne. You know how those guys made it? They made it big by being themselves. If you make music that sounds like someone else, why would anyone want to buy your shit if they can just by theirs? If I am a fan of Mackelmore’s sound, I am going to listen to his music, not some guy who came out after who sounds like him. Find a style of beats that sounds unique, and find a way to create your sound over them. Find a delivery, style and tone that you can create over some innovative beats. Come up with a sound that when someone hears it, they immediately recognize its you. When I hear even 4 seconds of a drake record, I know exactly who it is. Your music should be distinguishable immediately in 5 seconds. If it’s not, you’re doing it wrong.5. Invest in yourselfYou don’t own a microphone, but you own an XBOX ONE. You don’t own a keyboard and a Protools rig, but you own a 70” flat screen TV. You can’t afford a fresh new haircut every two weeks and fly ass clothes, but you can spend $800 a month on cigarettes, alcohol and your weed habit. Get your priorities straight. If you are a rapper, you need to look like one. Which means, you need to look on point every single day. Your hair, your shoes and your clothes need to be poppin’ whenever you go in public. You can’t market your music if you can’t even market yourself. You don’t need diamond chains and platinum accessories. You just need to at least look like someone who gives a shit about who they are, or else why would anyone else? Secondly, you need recording equipment. You need a computer with recording software, a keyboard, a microphone and a pop filter. Take that XBOX ONE and that Flat screen TV and sell that shit. You will never make it in the rap game without sacrifice. Go without your comfort zone and get what you need to make your music. If you are serious about it, show people that. Invest in yourself and what you are trying to do. Nobody believes you really want to be a rapper if you spend 9 hours a day playing Call of Duty. When you invest in yourself, other investors will come. People will take you seriously. Don’t go asking established rappers to help you when you haven’t done anything on your own yet. You’re essentially trying to benefit off of someone else’s hard work and that’s cheating. And, don’t go around asking people for money to help you make music when they haven’t seen you sacrifice a dime of your own yet.6. Stop claiming the industry is against youEvery day I see rappers on social media presenting the argument that they would make it if they just had a record deal like this rapper or that rapper. Every day I hear emcees complaining that radio won’t play them because it’s all a conspiracy that the industry is somehow “hating” on them. Nobody came to their show because the club owner didn’t promote it enough. Here’s the deal: If you’re music is good, it will blow up. It’s really that simple. How often have you heard something that nobody has ever heard that was fire, and then ran to show like 5 other people? Well, that’s how everyone else is too. So if you make some sure fire shit, believe me, it will get out there. As far as radio is concerned, they are a business that wants to make money like everyone else. If there is a huge buzz around your music, the DJ’s have started playing it, and people are sharing it all over the web, the radio will play it. If they know people want to hear it, they will play it. If nobody came to your show, you either suck at making music, or you suck at promotion. It’s YOUR JOB to promote it, not the clubs. If it takes a few extra bucks to promote it and make people aware of it, than spend your money on that rather than drinks at the club every weekend. The industry is not against you. The industry takes good music and introduces it to those who want to hear it. That’s all. Think about that for a second. Good music/those that want to hear it. If the industry isn’t working for you, you don’t make good music that anybody wants to hear. Everybody who starts off rapping wants to believe they are the next 2Pac or Notorious BIG. However, 99% of the time, you just aren’t that good. If it’s not working out, either work extra hard get better or find something else to do. But definitely don’t blame it on a conspiracy.7. Stop rapping about rappingI have heard countless times from emcees that nowadays, only other rappers show up to their shows. I had a kid ask me on facebook last week, “how do I get people who aren’t rappers to come to my shows?” The answer is simple. When you rap all your songs about how good you are at rapping, the only people who relate to that shit are other rappers. The average music fan doesn’t understand what multiple syllable rhymes are. The average music fan doesn’t know what bars are and they don’t care. The average music fan wants to hear some shit that they can relate too like, my job sucks, my bills are high or my girl cheated on me. Sometimes they just want to to hear some fun feel-good shit like I got wasted last night, I’m high as fuck or this party sucks. In any case, they definitely don’t want to hear you rap about rapping and how good you are at rapping. Lyrics like, “I’m the illest, lyricist, sickest with the spitting, Im shitting on every rapper, my delivery is killing’em, my metaphors and similies are so twisted and sickening, Im the master of this rapping, microphone destroyer blah blah blah” Nobody gives a fuck! Well, accept for other rappers. They will either like it because they rap and understand the science behind how lit your verse is, or they will think they are better than you and come to size up the competition. Regardless of their motives, I can tell you that the smoking hot girl from the suburbs who you see dancing at the hottest night club in town, will not be present at your show. Which leads me to my next point.8. Don’t be lyrically trash or too lyrical. Find a happy mediumFirst of all mumble rap has its place. Apparently there is a movement down south that absolutely loves it, but at the end of the day, most people don’t want to listen to music where they can’t even understand a word your saying. So focus on having some sort of lyrical skills in your work. However, do not go the extreme opposite route either, where you are so lyrical the average person still can’t hear what you’re saying. It’s a good thing to find a happy medium. By being just lyrically skilled enough to have credibility you can show the world you have talent. By being just lyrically dumbed-down enough, you can attract a far wider audience by not making them miss every other line in the song. People have jobs, college, kids, family drama and life issues that take up lots of their time. Their brains are strained enough just trying to figure out how to uncomplicate a complicated life. Don’t make them sit there and feel like your song is a god damn calculus math lecture. And, don’t make them feel like they would be more entertained by a Dr. Seuss book, either.9. Diss tracks: Be the Defender; Never the attackerSomebody told me once that a start-up corporation should never launch itself by competing with a giant already established corporation. Why? Because the start-up simply doesn’t have the money or brand power to compete. This analogy applies to hip-hop also, when you consider how many unknown rappers try to diss famous rappers. You merely look like a hater and you’ll never garner any attention because they are famous and you are not. You don’t have the money to compete with Lil Wayne, so stop dissing him. He will never respond and make you famous, so it all falls on deaf ears. All you’re doing is giving rich rappers more free advertisement they don’t need. Secondly, don’t diss anyone. Show love to everyone. Just do you and let the fans decide what’s what. If someone attacks you, than by all means react if you feel it’s worth the reaction. Consider what level of the game they are at and compare it to where you’re at. Ask yourself whether you would benefit by dissing them or if they would benefit. Only respond to them if you would benefit.10. Find something you love to do aside from the music.What makes you, you? Do you love skiing? Skateboarding? Shooting pool? Racing cars? I don’t care what it is that you love to do outside of making music, you should talk about it in your music. By taking something you love to do, that defines you, and incorporating it into your songs, you can literally carve out an entire demographic of people who have the same interests. That demographic can easily be the initial base that launches you to stardom. Identify your hobbies outside of music and rap about them.
Why Social Media is dead for musicians and performing artists.
As a hip hop artist, I have been mulling over which social media platform is the best to get music out there. After several months of research I have come to the conclusion that none of them are, anymore.
In the early days of Myspace, Social media was a new thing. The excitement brought people to it in droves and it was a hot bed for entertainers. Dane Cook even made a comedy career off of his Myspace following that made him the highest paid stand-up comic in the world at the time. YouTube and Facebook coming in around mid-2000’s, also made tons of people famous. Singers like Justin Beiber became the world’s next Michael Jackson, solely off of Youtube popularity alone. However, with constant evolving technology making high quality music, and videos, cheap and easy to make, the music market became flooded. It has gotten to the point where just about anybody can make some form of music now at a decent quality for a very inexpensive cost. A lot of fans became artists, and buyers became sellers. The over-saturation of music and videos resulted in a massive pouring of people self-promoting down the feeds of everybody’s twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Then, in a response to match the demand of self-promoting artists, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram began charging artists to get exposure, the same way they charge Subway to market a $5 foot-long.
So, people who don’t do music, who artists are targeting as fans, are not only being pelted with youtube and soundcloud links all day long from every artist under the sun, but now they also have to sit and see forced content in their newsfeed that reads “sponsored” over it. Where the fan of music once clicked on an occasional link to check out some struggling artist’s music, they are now so overwhelmed and annoyed with all the spam, they simply don’t bother anymore. Just like most people won’t even bother to read this article. Not to mention, that every DJ, artist, band, singer, beat producer, painter, photographer, website designer, travel blogger, food blogger, dancer, graphic designer, video director, youtuber, comedian, actor, model and tattoo artist is trying to promote themselves. In other words, everyone has adopted the same logic that they could build a business for themselves on social media by marketing themselves. What this has resulted in is everybody plugging and promoting themselves without taking any time to look at what others are promoting.
What also occurred, is websites like Facebook, have drifted far away from being a social media site, now acting more as a news aggregate and self-promotion engine. The entire landscape of social media has changed. The online world has become so weighed down by a myriad of people selling something, that the small few people who aren’t selling anything have become simply exhausted. Where it used to only be big corporations jockeying for your attention, now it’s all of them and half of the people you know online.
Facebook had artists spending years building a Facebook fan page for themselves, and now they charge the artist money to reach their own fan base. Twitter is basically a place where people follow people who are already famous. So for the struggling artist, good luck with that. Also, Twitter won’t allow you to upload songs or videos without limiting its duration. Instagram is exactly the same as twitter in both cases. Snapchat won’t let you do anything accept snap a pic or shoot a 10 second video and share it. Hardly the platform for promoting music. Soundcloud is predominantly swarmed with other struggling artists promoting to other struggling artists. The only way to gain the attention of regular people on their site is to chart, which you need thousands and thousands of fans already to achieve. Unless of course you plug your Soundcloud on other Social Media sites, which I have already explained is useless. Youtube on the other hand is another nightmare all together. The average person looks at a YouTube video with a few hundred to a couple thousand views and immediately dismisses it. Nobody wants to support something they don’t already see others supporting, and this remains a factor with Soundcloud plays as well.
Which is why now, there are dozens of websites that will help you pay for fake plays and views. However, what good is a fake play or view, if it doesn’t directly convert into a real fan? Lastly, don’t even get me started on email marketing. Nobody wants spam in their emails.
So I began doing some research as to just where people do go for new music. I know there are still die-hard fans of music who are interested in discovering new music right? They’re must be some place they go, right? Wrong.
There is no one place, app or website anyone goes for new music anymore. In fact, what my research has revealed, is that the vast majority of music listeners discover music nowadays in video games, commercials and believe it or not, radio. Radio, something we all thought would die 10 years ago, is still very much alive. Occasionally, some people stumble upon you because of a viral video, hear something they liked on a Pandora playlist, or simply discover artists who are trending. However, the question then becomes, just how does an artist do any of these things?
Well, first of all, you can’t “make” a viral video. It either happens or it don’t. With regards to Pandora, it is next to impossible to get included in their playlist without being a signed artist. There are ways, but it’s a major pain in the ass. As far as getting on the radio, you simply cannot do that without major money and a major radio promoter who can get that accomplished for you. You may be able to get on local radio, or some local college stations, but that’s about it. And, you will never be in rotation on the station, without some rep from Interscope Records making it happen with Clear Channel. As far as placements in video games, movies, and commercials, the only way to achieve that as an artist is to have a publishing deal with someone like EMI or BMI. However, publishing companies will almost never do a deal with an unsigned artist, unless of course you write or produce songs for somebody else who is signed.
Some even argue that if you just go outside to promote your music and do shows, it could have a much better effective reach than online. What people fail to realize though, is that nobody goes to shows to go see artists they never heard of. If you are willing to perform for free in front a few strangers you could develop a fan or two, but even for super talented artists, this doesn’t result in significant growth.
What has happened is that only artists with serious amounts of wealth behind them are making any noise. Most record deals happening these days are simply insiders helping out other insiders. Very rarely will you hear a story like “Russ” (who is fucking dope af btw) come up, just from building their own organic online following.
Just recently I did a test with online social media advertisement. I spent $30 on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram just to see the results. Keep in mind I targeted people who specifically like hip hop and similar interests. Facebook, after claiming I could reach a minimum of 18,000 people, was the least effective. My $30 got me 5 likes on my fan page, 800 views on my video and 2 comments. My $30 ad on twitter resulted in 4 reposts, 8 likes and only 1 new follower. My $30 on Youtube got me 4,000 views (which was pretty good), but only 16 likes, and zero new subscribers or comments. In fact, I think a vast majority of the views were counted solely from the ad playing for 5 seconds before another video. Instagram did the best though. My $30 on Instagram got me 3,000 views on a video, 118 hearts, 8 comments and 17 new followers. The results of this test run got me thinking.
If any artist out there is backed by major money, like record label money, you could easily make someone a star for about roughly $50,000. However, what I hear from people every day, is how tired they are of mainstream music. I hear people say things like “the Industry shoves stuff down our throats, etc,) Well, unfortunately the game is completely designed for that to be the case again. In the 90’s, the music business had all the power. If an artist was going to make it he needed big label money. We just went through a fifteen year span where that was no longer the case. Just about anyone could get online and blow up. I even remember when the rapper “Benefit” was downloaded over one million times off Napster. Unfortunately, the fifteen year grace period of independent artists has come to almost a screeching halt.
As a fan of music, the bad side to all of this is you will, once again, only know about music that big money put in front of you. The good side though, is that you will longer need to swim through a barrage of struggling artists promoting their links, considering that only big money will be able to afford to put it in front of you. As an artist on the other hand, we are stuck in a major state of limbo. You need views, plays, streams and likes to get record deals, but you need record deal money now to get views, plays, streams and likes. So, if you’re a fan of someone’s music, it’s incredibly important to follow and subscribe on all platforms. Its extremely important to share, view, like or engage with their content. Its also important for the artist to engage back and show respect for that level of support. The intimate relationship between artist and fan is one of the only remaining combative measures we can take anymore to fight against big money.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m just going to keep climbing up that wall of adversity. I’m going to continue showing love to my pre-existing fan base and welcome any new fans who trickle in with open arms. It’s a process though and not likely to result in a huge rapid growth. Though I truly believe that if music is truly good, nothing can stop it from spreading. Therefore, I obviously have more work to do. They say that 100 fans on the internet can turn into a million overnight if so much as one stroke of luck occurs. Well, considering I am not backed by a millionaire, I guess that’s all I can hope for. Keep on keeping on, playa.
3 rappers you should know before they’re famous
From: New Orleans
Extremely gifted rapper with a very unique style. Pell knows his capabilities and uses them wisely to create a very authentic sound.
From: Los Angeles, CA
Cozz has a unique style, but I just love what the kid says and how he says it. I was a fan the second I started to listening to the song, “Dreams.” The beat is so dark and his flow is really nasty, though I suspect he’ll even get better as he keeps doing it.
From: Long Beach, CA
It’s really tough to put it in words why this kid is dope, but he really is. He has an amazing sound and clever rhyme style that sets him apart from everyone else. I feel what he’s talking about and I really like the quality of his music.
How to distinguish a wack rapper from a great rapper.
1.The type of vocabulary they use will be indicative of an over usage of the dictionary.
They’ll use words like: elemental, lyrical, essence, mathematical (mathematics), prophetic, scientific, metaphors, syllables & the phrase “drop bombs” They use these words in an effort to either sound smart or brag about their emcee abilities. Rappers who talk about rapping are the worst kind. People listen to the emcee to hear a story of their life. Something relative or something that can offer the listener a vicarious escape. Rappers who rap about rapping are sending one loud message. They have nothing else to talk about. Which makes their lives boring, mundane and common. There is nothing intriguing about this to anybody. The key to being a successful rapper, is being an interesting human being. Either somebody who people can relate too, or somebody people wish they were. If you are neither of these things quit rapping. These rappers usually refer to themselves as “underground” because they “spit” lyrics. This is not the case. They are underground, because their message lacks a large enough punch to captivate a mainstream audience. Remember, commercialism is not a sound. It is the mere definition of the “majority” feeling your music.
2. They’ll have a stiffness to their vocal delivery lacking all swagger, charisma and personality.
The rhymes sound forced. Like they’re trying too hard to get the words in rhythm and not comfortably expressing what they’re saying. This makes it sound less believable as it becomes obvious they are putting on a false persona and not being themselves. it will not have a natural delivery like the way it would if they were just speaking. It will sound more like they are rehearsing the bad dialogue of a B cinemax movie.
3. The words are either too out of the pocket or too stiff in the pocket.
The pocket is the open rhthym section of a beat that the rappers voice and syllable usage acts as another percussion instrument. For instance, if you look at the beat like a ruler, on each 1/4 tempo beat the snares become like inch markers. So lets say the 1,2,3,4 pattern of a 1/4 beat is 4 inches on the ruler. Each snare acting as the inch line. The high hats act as millimeters in between the inches. The pocket would be designed by those millimeters. So the rappers voice will act as a percusiion instrument by correctly laying their syllabols on the millimeters in between the inches. If a rapper delivers the rhyme too stiff, it becomes mechanical sounding and quantized. Offering no feel or soul that is found in good music. If the rapper is too far off, the words become an out of rhythm tempo and begin to sound like a drunken drummer beating a high hat randomly over a body of music. The perfect rhymes are usually on beat 90% of the time, but 10% of the time slide out of the pocket in a natural organic way. This humanizes the rapper and gives the music a soulful and more delightful listen.
4. They’ll use one or two syllabol rhymes.
If a rapper ends his sentences with one syllabol rhymes this is a clear sign of wackness. For instance, “I went to the store and I bought some gum, drank a little liquor and my hands went numb” is a one syllabol rhyme. The rhyming words being “numb” and “gum.” A two syllabol rhyme would be, “I stashed my money in my stepdads back seat, he dude owns a huge ass house and a black jeep.” The rhymes here would be “black jeep” and “back seat.” Now don’t get me wrong, lots of really good emcees will do this on occassion through out rhymes when called for. But when it becomes consistently 1-2 syllabol rhymes, their style lacks skills. A really good emcee will use multiple syllabol rhymes, such as, “I came in, through the back door of the house, and super bitch slapped, that whore in the mouth.” The rhymes here are “back door in the house” and “that whore in the mouth” Notice that and back rhyme. Notice how door and whore rhyme. Notice “in the” is repeated giving it a rhyming effect (which is ok in mid sentence) and now notice how house and mouth rhyme. These are multiple syllabol rhymes. When done effectively this seperates the good emcees from the terrible ones. That being said, a really good emcee will do this naturally and during the body of his rap verses will care more about getting his message across then proving he can multi-syllabol rhyme. So at the sacrafice of impressive lyricism he will gain listeners who can follow his message. Where as some good emcees spend too much time on this deteriorating the true message of the song. So it is not wise to focus too much on this. Learn how to write a story with validity before you focus on multi-syllabol rhymes. However, emcees like Eminem, Big L, Big Pun, and more have managed to do both with great success.
5. Too mush swagger and not enough lyrical skills. ie. “soulja boy”
When a rapper is all swagger and personality but has no real lyrical capabilities he is either considered a wack emcee or an entertainer. Don’t get me wrong, if the individual is an interesting enough person and caters to them by amplifing his swagger there is a huge market for this. It is amusing and entertaining. However, this individual is an entertainer, not a rapper. To call himself a rapper is a complete paradox. If he refers to himself as one then he his wack. If he is open about being an entertianer and not a rapper then he is void of the subject entirely.
6. Getting stuck in a time machine. Incapable of transformation and adjustment.
If a rapper runs around saying that the hip-hop of the late 80’s or 90’s is REAL hiphop he is wack. Because he produces music that is dated and no longer what is relevant today. Nobody cares about hip hop as a culture anymore. It is now a highly commercialized, mainstream, musical cash magnet. It is a business. You are not going to be the savior of any culture or hip hop sound of any genre or decade. Instead, you will martyr yourself by having an out of date sound nobody likes and be broke your entire life, by staying dedicated to your futile cause. All things change and music is included. A good emcee will not only be capable of adapting to these changes but will do so effortlessly and with great consummation.
7. Obvious marketing tactics.
We all know living in todays world that everything is marketed to us. Consumer psychologists study the minds and lifestyles of every demographic great or small to appropriately target products at the correct markets. In a business world this is common place. Television and radio commercials are designed to play the right song their target audience wants to hear, or contain the right actor/actress that seems relative to the targeted consumer. All of this is common sense when building a brand. Same rings true to the music business. However, sometimes rappers become aware of these strategies and seriously over do it by making outlandishly obvious attempts to do this. It’s tacky and makes listeners feel uncomfortable. When a rapper blatantly and quite obviously rhymes about relative things, creating gimmick songs with no brainer choruses to sum up the target audience in such a way it’s cheesy, it is a direct musical suicide mission. When a rapper dresses up a certain way or creates a video in such a way that directly mimics a television ad there is a problem. A good emcee will use these same tactics, but in a clever and less obtuse way. When trying to create a life style brand out of your name, you never want to send the loud message, “hey, look at me I’m just like you!” By doing this you are kind of like that friend everybody has, who tries to agree with everything you say to fit in and be cool. Nobody wants to hang around you. It’s corny and offers no positive side. If it doesn’t work you look like an idiot and a failure. If it does work, it’s even worse. It’s a nuclear detonation of your entire rap career.
8. Generic lyrical Content.
There is two ways a rapper can go about using generic lyrical content. There is “common content” and “stolen content.” Common content is when a rapper uses brief subject matter that is common place in hip hop. Sex, money, drugs and guns. Now given that these are the corner stones of hip hop it is really hard to avoid. We all have had experiences with most of these so it is only common sense it will be brought up. However, the wack rapper will make brief references to these things in an effort to relate to the listener. A good rapper will rap about these subjects in an intricately detailed manner. If you have a story about money or drugs, nobody will shun you for it. It would be wise though to rhyme about it in a detailed fashion so that the story becomes original and represents you and you only. Telling a new story the listener hasn’t heard yet. By being brief and offering no in depth plot line for it your music will seem trite. People want to hear a story that gives them a new outlook. Not a perspective they’ve already been given hundreds of times before. Stolen content on the other hand, is when a rapper tries to be the same character as another rapper before him. There was already one 2pac. He told his story and it was one hell of an amazing story. We don’t need a hundred other rappers trying to live up to his character because it was profitable. When a rapper tries to be somebody we’ve already heard it is similar to trying to invent something that has already been invented. It’s like walking in your local news station and announcing you just invented the light bulb. Not only is it not news but nobody will be impressed as they all have quite a few of them at home. If you choose to put a new spin on the light bulb by inventing a better one, now thats news. So if there is a rapper who was famous that you feel resembles your life and characteristics, reinvent him in such a way that you seem familiar but separated by differences. Nobody has had the exact same life. Find a way to be different or your a biter and your album gets thrown in the lame “I’ve heard it before” bin, so fast your head will spin. Otherwise, be yourself. It’s hard to wake up everyday and be someone you’re not, so there is no longevity in it. Anyone can be themselves forever with ease. if you feel you are not an individual interesting enough to be a star and this is why you borrow from other rappers who were, then it is my suggestion you quit now.
9. Poor Performances. (Stage bums, Bad Memories and Charlie Browns Parents)
The money these days isn’t in the music anymore it’s in the live shows. People are willing to pay extraordinary amounts of money on seeing you live. This is why it is crucial to pack a hell of a show punch. Wack emcees are defined by three things in this category. Stage bums, bad memories and charlie browns parents. A stage bum is a person who stands in one spot, shows no excitement or movement, and has nothing else going on stage but his dull ass statue like figure. It’s wack. Nobody wants to pay $20 to see you stand there like a droan and utter the words to your songs like some drunk karaoke performance. A good emcee has hype men, live bands, incredible DJ’s, back up singers etc. If you can’t afford these things then do the best you can to make yourself exciting by being active on stage. Find ways to liven the crowd. If you look like a kid trying to remember the final letter of a spelling B I’m walking out and requesting my money back. Bad memories is an obvious one. If you can’t remember your own lyrics this is a problem. Rehearse more or get off the stage. Even the best emcees have forgotten lyrics on occasion but the key is to cover it up and keep it moving. If you laugh, become uncomfortable or restart the song you fail in every way. I’ve seen shows where the fans knew the lyrics more then the rappers did. A blessing so incredibly undeserved. Chalie Browns Parents. If you sound like charlie browns parents from being inexperienced at holding the mic, stop now! Nobody wants to go to a show and hear “muffa un summa shun da da gum buh buh” on the mic. learn mic distance and get a decent sound man. If you can’t afford one, or find one, don’t do shows yet. Hold off until you can put on a good show or else you’re asking people to pay you money for their misery. Not fair at all to do to your fans.
10. Over saturation and self promotion.
I understand that its awfully hard to get your name out there. However, over saturating the internet, spamming, and harrassing people with too much self-promotion only inspires animosity and discontent with people. Nobody wants to hear how good you “think” you are, or feel like they’re being forced to listen to it. If your music is really that good one of three things will happen. Either you will find investors who see money to be made who will provide you with the financial resources to promote your stuff or initial fans will hear it and spread it around virally by word of mouth. The third option of course is having a few people who believe in it to act as a street team and promote it for you. I’m not saying don’t have any hustle or that you shouldn’t put some work in. It is importnat that you show belief in your music as much some of your fans by exemplifying work ethic. But at some point it is wise to realize when you’re crossing the line of work ethic over to the dark boundaries of annoying spam and over self-promotion. It makes you appear desperate for fans which only gives people the impression it isn’t good music before they even hear it. Peoples time is costly, so use it wisely. Make sure what you promote is exactly the right thing to promote to launch your rap career. Too much time invested promoting the wrong thing can turn people off. Most people hear one bad thing from an artist and thats it. There is no second chances to change their impression. Also, it is important to conserve your resources and promote one major thing at a time. Trying to promote 20 songs all at once is annoying and confusing. It also spreads your resources thin and results in getting none of them brought to light. Great emcess no their music and choose their battles wisely. Wack emcees think every song is a hit and should be heard. Let the fans decide you’re good. We all know you think you are or you wouldn’t make music in the first place. If you’re humble and smart about promoting something and people don’t like it, they’ll be much more forgiving and likely to keep an open mind the next song you promote. If you come off hostile, annoying and desperate to the point you piss people off, it better be the best dam song they’ve ever heard or you’re done in their eyes.
Rapping is not rock music or any other music. Rock sells to people because of the music. The same with Pop. Rap sells because of the individual. Not only do you need to meet the standards of song writing and lyricism, but you need to be an interesting person enough for people to care. You need to be relevant as an individual with a story people want to hear. If you aren’t any of these things, chances are you will be considered wack by many people and you will wind up working at Arbys. People aren’t stupid and can spot a fake, a gimmick, a marketing scheme, and a talentless emcee from a mile away. You will not fool anybody. If you don’t have what it takes, it’s okay. Be a fan and let the real emcees flourish, instead of over saturating the market with your garbage making it hard for talented people to be heard. Make sure your production is superb, your video production is off the chain, your story is being told through real lyricism, your shows are incredible and you promote wisely. Follow these rules and you’ll make it to the top. Don’t follow them and the resentment you will receive from fans and other artists alike, will be insurmountable. Thommy Kane.
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