Martini Rox: 8 rap rulesWritten by Martini Rox | | firstname.lastname@example.org
What makes a good rapper? I’ve come up with my own list, but feel free to add your own rules or omit and replace. They are based on my experience in the music business interviewing artists on all levels and recognizing what helped or hindered each of their careers.
No. 1: Read everything! Read history and follow current events so you know what you’re talking about and what other people are saying about you. Don’t go over the top, but find a way to relate it to your life.
No. 2: Rap all the time — no breaks, ever! Listen to beats and say the first things that come to mind (this will help when freestyling) and reading and learning it makes it easier.
Any rapper worthy of being known by the masses has a history of having done so at some point before they “made it.” Practice makes perfect.
No. 3: Get your flow tight. You may have the rhymes, but now you need to perfect your flow. This can be hard, considering you more than likely have been influenced by your favorite rappers. Should you mirror any of those greats, it can turn off potential fans who may like what you say, but not how you say it.
Listeners are looking for something unique yet familiar; it’s up to you to determine just how new and how familiar you’ll be. For example, rapper Future is undeniably the new T-Pain, but what he’s doing is not necessarily better, but different.
No. 4: Educate yourself on the business. Most people become rappers because they want to make money and create a better life for themselves. Anytime you decide to embark on a business venture you should know everything there is to know about the industry and business.
Some artists think along the lines of “I’ll just make good music and hire someone to handle the rest.” Bad idea. This leaves the artist to believe whatever someone who claims to know what they’re talking about tells them.
Study the artists with longevity by reading old articles and following current news about them. It’s a great way to gain insight on strategies and patterns you’ll notice they all followed and repeated.
No. 5: Find your audience. Decide if you are a commercial artist or a grassroots artist. This is very important as it pertains to rule No. 6. You must know who’s who in whichever category you decide. Many artists are barking up the wrong tree when it comes to whom to approach and what they can and cannot do to help you.
No. 6: Network. Find professionals in your category, whether you are commercial (for major TV and radio) or grassroots (underground or college and satellite radio).
No. 7: Utilize social networks. This is important for any artist, not just aspiring ones.
Joining networks gives your budding fan base a place to visit, obtain news about you and possibly hear more of your music. This is crucial in face to face networking, because the professionals you are talking to can see how serious you are based on how up-to-date you keep your social network with information about your latest endeavors and accomplishments.
No. 8: Put business before pleasure. Many times I have seen this rule broken and the effects can ruin careers.
Artists who showed up sober for interviews with me or my fellow radio jocks have been the most successful.
Perception is key. Image is everything, and when you meet other professionals you should be professional as well.
These are the people who take your career to the next level through recommendations and referrals for other interviews, shows or label deals.
This is your business, and if you are not serious enough to be present and in the moment, there is no reason for anyone to put their reputation on the line to help you go further.
Remember, look and play the part. Your fans invest in you based on what you project and put out there.
As we continue on …