To quote the iconic rap group Cypress Hill, “So, you wanna be a rap superstar? Live large? Big house? Nice cars?” This song describes the attraction of the hip-hop lifestyle for so many aspiring MCs and producers. However, like Cypress Hill described, this allure is a small portion of the real lifestyle. A career as a hip-hop artist requires a lot of work. You’ll spend most of your time writing, networking and searching for beats. If you do make it big, your schedule will be even busier. If this sounds like the lifestyle for you, consider the following seven suggestions on how to make it in the industry.
Recognize These Seven Tips for Hip-Hop Success
- Your Music Is Your Business – Many musicians fall into the mindset that music is purely art. While expressing yourself is part of creating memorable music, this mindset can also be limiting. Your music is a business; consider listeners and fans as your customers. Your music is a product that will be sold and distributed.
- Cultivate the Right Image – Image is one of the most important factors in the music industry. Cultivating the right one will attract major labels, producers and fans. You need to convey that you are a serious MC, not simply someone with a dream. You can accomplish this with a professional website, consistent social media profiles and professional photos that convey your desired image.
- Use the Internet – These days, you cannot break into any genre of music without using the Internet. Social media is your most important tool in making your music available to your audience. Have each of your profiles link to a website that has samples of your work. Use your social media presence to engage your fans; a strong social media presence alone has launched hundreds of careers — let it work to your advantage.
- Invest in Your Music – Listeners are more concerned with quality than ever before. This means you will need to make significant financial investments to provide a product they’ll want to hear. You can purchase quality beats online or pay a producer to create them. In addition, every image on your website and social media profiles should be professionally taken. Assuring quality in every aspect of your career will help you to attract a loyal fan base.
- Hone Your Skill – A basketball player spends most of his time on the court, and a painter spends most of his time painting. As such, you should spend most of your time freestyling, writing and practicing your flow. In addition to this, having a large vocabulary will go a long way in creating insightful songs — devote some time to learning new words.
- Create a Team – Since music is your business, you will need employees. While you may start out on your own, quickly hire new employees as your career gains momentum. Assemble a team that is focused on your success. Find people who will help you network, produce beats and give you feedback about your rhymes. Most successful MCs did not become successful through their own effort, but with a dedicated team backing them.
- Network – Networking is crucial in the music industry and especially in hip-hop. Don’t rely solely on your online presence to make valuable connections; spend time making in-person connections. This can be done by going to local shows as an audience member and supporting other artists. You never know who you might meet in the crowd.
It’s All About the Benjamins: You Can Make It in the Industry
A prominent career in hip-hop has become an incredibly accessible goal. No longer do artists have to vie for the attention of a few record labels; it is now possible to create a successful career without even signing with one. This means that anyone with talent, dedication and the right flow can succeed in the industry. Keep these seven tips in mind and you could be on your way to success.
Wes Andiron is a contributing writer and producer. He is often approached by aspiring hip-hop artists looking to increase their exposure. Wes suggests artists purchase professional beats online, instead of making their own, to help produce better tracks.
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