Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How to be a Successful MC

There's no question that hip hop is as big as it ever has been right now and I've seen no shortage of young local MC's wanting to making a living off of it at my studio.  I wanted to write something to those people who are seriously trying to be successful and make a go of it.

MC, rapper, hip hopper, whatever you call yourself there's a number of things to consider when approaching your craft.  First and foremost, like any artist in the music industry you're going to need the right songs.  Next you're going to need a unique voice that will be recognized on the radio as being you.  Lastly you're going to need lots and lots of bling.  Just kidding, haha, what you're going to need is your own unique message.  Basically you need something unique to bring to what is an overly crowded market.  This of course applies to any artist in the music industry but applies to people in the hip hop world a little differently which I will explain below.

1. Hit Songs

A lot of guys come into my studio and lay down some nasty verses about having lots of cash (they don't) and some nasty things they did to their ex-girlfriends sister (they didn't).  While this can be fun to do and make your friends laugh you're generally not going to set the hip hop world on fire by doing it.  The main thing a hit song needs is a killer hook; both melodically and with a killer catch phrase.  If you can't write it or sing it get someone who can.  If you look at the credits of any big hip hop album you will always see a bunch of credits for the writer of the songs.  There's definitely no shame in co-writing!

Remember that any artist's first "break out" song is always the hardest one to do.  It has to be the one that convinces managers and labels to sign on with you, radio to play you and most importantly people to put down their Jay-Z album and pick yours up!  After that song it definitely becomes a little easier to open doors.  

2. Finding Your Voice

Finding your voice in the world of hip hop involves a few variables.  Things to consider are the tone of your voice, your cadence or flow of lyrics, and in today's world of digital effects, how your voice is processed.  The thing to consider with all these variables is that you have a distinct voice that sounds interesting to the listener.  Anyone looking for new artist's are going to have this as a big priority because they want to make sure their artist can get picked out of the crowd, especially with radio.  Your voice is your calling card and how you're identified, make sure it sounds original!

3. Your Own Unique Message

So in today's market this seems to be a little less important but I feel that this is the point which is most lacking and has caused hip hop to stagnant a bit.  What I mean by this is that too many artists today aren't being true to themselves and where they're coming from.  Hip hop doesn't need another artist talking about bling, guns and money, especially when they don't have any of those things!  I feel that hip hop is at it's best when the artist is rapping about something true to their heart.  If you can do that and find a way to fit it into what's happening now, people are going to listen and appreciate your message.

So there you have it, there's a few points to consider for the up and coming hip hop artist.  A lot of people come down to the studio and have great flows and wonder why they don't get anywhere.  It kind of reminds me of the guitar players in the 80's who could do all this impressive stuff on their instrument but couldn't seem to get farther than playing bar gigs.  The reason for that lack of success is the same.  It's not enough to be the best rapper or freestyler or guy who writes the best rhymes.  Without trying to incorporate some of the points I've just wrote about you're going to find it really hard to get noticed amongst your competition.

If you're looking for beats feel free to check out some of mine here:

Hip Hop/R&B/Pop Beats

I'm also available for mixing/recording and production gigs at my studio:


Morph Productions - Toronto Recording Studio

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