Let me preface this by saying that I am in no way a music industry big shot. I've just met a ton of aspiring rappers and noted certain dynamics. Rapping is one of the most sought-after gigs with becoming an athlete coming in second. This means anyone desiring to become a rapper must be on their A-game 24/7. Sadly, some rappers think they can put forth lackluster effort but still win. Here are four annoying habits of aspiring rappers based on my observations.
Skipping in-person networking events
You can meet people of value online, but you can't skip face time with industry insiders. When you connect with folks in-person, it creates a different vibe. You can feel the artist's energy and passion. If I were a decision-maker, I would be more likely to listen to an artist if we met at an event versus if he spammed my inbox. On the internet, you are just another nameless, faceless rapper spamming mixtape links. But in person, you develop an identity. Pushing your music online is great! But forging relationships face to face is where the real power lies. Hit those networking events and showcases!
Refusing to work with local acts.
Meet Styrofoam Jones, a rapper from the east side who has a ton of Soundcloud streams. He has also opened for a couple of national acts around town. Styrofoam thinks he's hot, so he ignores Meth Sellin' Mike, a lesser-known rapper from the west side. Mike admires Styrofoam's music but Styrofoam feels the partnership has no immediate value. A year later, Meth Sellin' Mike makes a viral club banger titled, "Bricks In A Pamper." As a result, Mike now has national acts reaching out to remix the track. In a fit of desperation, Styrofoam Jones scrambles to dm Mike to tell him that they "need to build." Mike sees the message and scoffs in disgust as he boards his flight to ink a brand partnership with Pampers.
I see this all too often. Unfortunately, None of us have crystal balls to predict who is going to be next on the XXL freshman cover. You don't have to work with everyone, but it's a good thing to have you go-to collaborators in your city. That way if one person wins, everyone associated gets set up to win.
Complaining about a lack of support
"Bro, it's just a bunch of haters in this city."
"people in _______ don't wanna see me shine."
"Nobody supports artists in _________."
If you are an artist who doesn't support other artists in your city, don't expect them to support you! Period! You have to give your city a reason to back you! Rappers and athletes have one thing in common; People only like them when they are winning. Make a hit, and you will start to see people rally behind you.
Styrofoam Jones not only ignores people trying to work with him, but he is also infamous for being cheap! One Saturday afternoon, Styrofoam meets with local producer, Fred Felony to listen to beats. As Fred plays tracks, one catches Styrofoam's attention. Fred says the beat is $100. That doesn't stop Styrofoam from lowballing Fred! He complains that the beat is too expensive and counters by offering $20 and a bag of weed to sweeten the deal. That was Styrofoam jones' last invite to Fred's studio. The main lesson here is to Invest in yourself. Don't support your Jordan, weed and promethazine habit at the expense of your recording career.
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