Dear young visionaries of the world,
Some of you may believe that music is your calling. I respect that. As a young little girl jammin’ out to Nasir’s “Illmatic” in my room, I too knew that what I wanted to do was going to be closely related to the realm of hip-hop. Luckily, for both you and me, I understood that I was neither rapper nor singer material and chose the journalism route instead. I know many of you might know more than me, and I’m not telling you how to run your careers. However, I am always here to lend some insight from the listener’s perspective. With that being said, I’ve compiled a list of five things that you should or should not do to achieve musical greatness. Whether you believe you’re talented or not (a debate that I’ll save for another day), I’m sure you’ll enjoy this just as much as the next guy. Enjoy!
- Don’t label your music as “REAL Hip-Hop.” What exactly is REAL Hip-Hop? While many listeners would describe it with artists such as De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Camp Lo, Pharcyde or other classic musicians, the debate over what is to be considered real hip-hop is in the ear of the beholder. In addition to this, giving your music such a prestigious label is usually predestination for failure. Listeners are going to automatically compare your lyrics to those who came before you instead of allowing your music to speak for itself.
- Please refrain from spamming our mentions. Save yourself some visits to Twitter-jail and stop sending your music to people that you don’t even know. As an upcoming artist, you want to earn fans not annoy them with links to your tape that’s hosted by DJ Fatty McFat Fat. Send your music to your friends, the ones that you know will be completely honest with you, and get their opinions. Along with this, if I were you, I’d send your music to any blog that is willing to take it. Putting your music on a larger social network than your own is one of the best, easiest, and classiest ways to get your music out to the public.
- Relax with the freestyles. Originally, freestyles were used to demonstrate talent in an “off the top of the dome” style. In today’s time, many upcoming artists use the term freestyle to mean recording a pre-written verse over someone else’s song. Stop it. Stop it right now. Stop being too lazy or too cheap to get yourself a new beat. Trust me, your listeners will respect you and admire you so much more for your work if it’s over a newly-crafted and perfected track. Please, I’m begging you, stay away from being another ‘All Gold Everything’ or ‘Marvin’s Room’ for crying out loud.
- Cover art makes a difference. The cover art for your mixtape or album is a chance for your fans to get a feel for the concept of your project without actually listening to it. Unfortunately, many artists do not put as much of an effort into their artwork as they should. Finding a random picture on Google or repeatedly plastering your face all over the front and slapping a ‘Parental Advisory’ sticker on it makes it seem like you not only didn’t care, but you didn’t put any thought into it. I’m not telling you to go out of your way to create a beautifully crafted piece of artwork that even Picasso would be jealous of, but come on guys… Do better.
- Trailers are POINTLESS. Frankly, we don’t give a damn about a video preview for your mixtape. Watching a video of you and your homeboys goofing around or you pretending to write your own lyrics is not only a waste of our time, but also a waste of yours. The most talented artists allow their music to speak for itself. Take that time and energy, bottle it up, and let it be free while you’re in the studio. We’re never going to remember you or your developing legacy by a mixtape preview video, trust me on this one.
Hopefully (if this applies to you), you will take these suggestions to heart and try to make better decisions. If there’s only one thing you decide to get from this, I need for it to be the second recommendation. If on the other hand you feel as though I have offended you… be on the lookout for PART DEUX.
Editor of the Music Column, Giselle B.
2 responses to “Letter To Upcoming Rappers”
lol wait, I recall reading this on a blog or two. I was really impressed with this and shared it with several of my clients and colleagues. You did a great job compiling this.
Lol really? That’s crazy! Thank you so much 🙂