You’re Killin’ Me: Upcoming Rappers Part 2
Due to the success of the last YKM: Upcoming Rappers, I’ve decided to revisit the subject and drop some more knowledge. Plus some of you are still killin’ me, so I feel obligated to reopen this topic. I’m getting tired of greedy rappers with cheap photography, horrible audio quality, lack of individuality, no breath control, and no YouTube accounts. This YKM is the closest you’ll get to a guideline about getting up out the sidelines. J. Cole wannabes pay attention.
Now I understand rapping for the money. After all cash rules everything around us; so I have no problem with you trying to get the dolla’ dolla’ bill y’all. But, if you don’t love rapping, and don’t respect the craft, we have a big problem. If you solely rap for the money, you’re going to be a broke Birdman. Birdman can talk about cash 24/7 because he lives the lifestyle. Most upcoming rappers don’t live the YMCMB lifestyle, so it’s best for you guys to leave the subject alone. For one, it comes across as fake, and it takes away from the craft. Solely rapping for monetary purposes is going to lock you in a creative cage. You have to live, eat, and breathe Hip Hop. You have to love rapping, or else you’re going suck. I can’t explain it any better, if you rap for the money, and not the love, you’re probably going to suck.
Another issue I have with upcoming rappers is their cheap Microsoft Paint photography. I’m not asking you to go out and hire Jonathan Mannion to shoot your covers either. I’m asking you to give your mixtape/single cover all of your effort. If you shot your cover on your phone and edited with Paint, I’m not going to listen to your music. You spent 2 minutes creating that cover; why should I spend my time on you? I wish I had examples, but giving undeserving people free promo would be unfair to the rappers who take this craft seriously. Don’t turn your listeners away with a cheap mixtape/single cover. Put effort into every aspect of your product. Make it look professional even if you’re not a professional yet.
From 2002/2003 – video of the Therapist aka J. Cole freestyling
Cheap photography, or horrible audio quality? I don’t know what kills me more. How can we know what you’re rapping about if we can’t hear what you’re saying. Once again I’m not asking you to hire someone like Mike Dean to master your records. Just use common sense. Make sure the beat doesn’t over power the vocals too much or vice versa. You should never master your own tracks either. Always let another ear do the mastering. Invest in software/hardware to improve the quality of your audio.
I also hate when rappers hit me up claiming to be the next Drake. You’re killin’ me. To be successful in this industry for more than a song, you have to be unique. People don’t like copycats too much. You have to build your own lane and cater to a new diverse audience. Trying to impress Drake’s fanbase with your mix of rap and R&B is not going to work unless you do it in a unique way. Don’t be the next Drake, be the next star. Don’t conform to the norm, be different, create a new sound.
You upcoming rappers also need to learn breath control. The pros have impeccable breath control. If you want to be in their league you have to learn some breath control. I’ve heard of rappers writing and reciting their favorite rappers verses in order to better their breath control. If you want to control your breath like Jigga, well then practice reciting his verse on “Big Pimpin'”. But remember this is just a breath control exercise. Be unique, don’t copy other rappers flows. If you don’t like this exercise, just Google ‘Rap Breath Control’, there’s not a problem Google can’t solve. Just find a way control your breath!
Video of Drake before his Young Money days.
Many upcoming artists use sites such as Reverbnation.com and Bandcamp.com to share their music. I have no problem with these sites, this is just my personal opinion as a blogger. I would much rather listen and download your music on YouTube. All 3 of these sites are effective in sharing your music, except for the fact that people are more familiar with YouTube, and are more likely to interact with your music. With YouTube, fans are more likely to share your music through facebook or twitter. Make sure you offer downloads to all of your music as well! Don’t make people go through YouTube converters just to download your music. Provide download links to all of your music on every YouTube video!
Rapping isn’t easy. There are millions of people dying to get to the same place you want to go. Make sure you give rap everything you have. Success is 10% talent, and 90% hard work. Just make sure your hard work doesn’t include cheap photography, horrible audio quality, and no breath control; make sure you have a YouTube account as well. Good luck. Out.
PS. I didn’t choose that Mac Miller picture because he is killin’ me. I chose that picture because Mac is killin’ it. He’s 100% independent yet everybody in Hip-Hop knows who he is. Benjy and the people at Rostrum Records have done a phenomenal job marketing this kid. Don’t chase the big labels, just look at Mac.