I get this question a lot, "What do you think makes a great rapper/emcee/singer/artist etc.?" And I'm always sittin' there having to think of the most important things to say in a brief explanation before I end up talking them to death. So I just decided to write my ABC's of what I think makes a quality Hip-Hop artist..... Here goes.
Audacity: Your swagger is one of the most important things when it comes to character. No, you don't have to be "super-cocky", but having a great set of confidence is the key to being taken more seriously. Jay-Z is one of the best lyricist.... but his swagger alone makes his music ten times stronger.
Bravery: Don't be afraid to state your opinion... especially with political issues. People are more willing to listen to an artist more than Congress when there's a good point being made.
Conviction: If you got something to say, you better say it like you MEAN IT! If you're expressing your pain on that paper, that pain needs to show in your voice. 2pac is a PERFECT example of someone who always spoke with conviction.
Diversity: Step into other worlds. If you're more of a East Coast cat... try rapping on a West Coast beat or something different every once in a while. If you haven't tried doing a club song... TRY IT! If you always do club songs... do a more sincere song for once. You have to branch out!
Emphasis: No one's gonna pay attention if they can't understand what you're saying. Be clear! People like Ludacris and Eminem emphasize almost EVERY little syllable in every word. Listen and notice that you hardly ever miss a word no matter what speed they're going.
Flow: You could have the tightest lines written down. But if it doesn't ride the beat well, it's not going to be executed right. Just like comedians... no matter how funny they may be, if they don't have TIMING... the joke is lost. If you don't have timing... everything you say will be lost.
Gift of Gab: Jay-Z is another great example when it comes to this. It's easy to put a bunch of sentences that rhyme together at the end. But, TALKING to people and rhyming is another thing. Literally make it as if you're talking to your listeners. Jay-Z, for instance pretty much always sounds like he's having a conversation with you in his songs. That's what grabs people.
Honesty And Hustle: Just be real. If you ain't from the streets, don't try to play like you are. Give the people YOU! Dont fronT!!! Also keep ya hustle game up, like sellin cds, know how to sell!!
Individuality: You have to have something about you that seperates your style from everyone else's. If you're just a copy of someone else already out, you will NEVER be able to do what they do better. No one can be you better than YOU. Find what makes you special and perfect it.
Jokes: Even the hardest of the hard gotta have a sense of humor every once in a while. Make somebody laugh for once. You ain't gotta be a goof-ball, but I know you can get some kind of joke up your sleeve.
Knowledge: KNOW YOUR HIP-HOP HISTORY!!!! Don't step into this hip-hop culture without knowledge of the forefathers and mothers who set the standards before you. Learn what makes this evolution tick! Just because you say "2pac & Biggie are the greatest" doesn't make you a true hip-hop entity. Find out who influenced the people you look up to now!
Lyrics: It's one thing to be simple... and it's another thing to just be plain lazy. Work your vocabulary. There's more things to rhyme with besides "bat, hat, rap, trap, slap, strap and clap". Step the game up.
Maturity: Your experiences in life will make your music stronger, and people will relate to you more when you relate to them. Even if you haven't been in a certain situation... you've atleast seen someone else go through it (i.e. a friend, parent or even a character in a movie). Don't be preachy.... just relate! Natural: You gotta make it look easy. If you're trying too hard... people will notice.
Open-Mindedness: Take a day away from listening to hip-hop for once. Grab some jazz, some soul, some rock, some blues, some classical, some funk or whatever. Music all has a soul that will build you in ways you won't even realize. If your music is one-demensional.... your fanbase will be as well.
Phrasing: This also helps build your individuality. Phrasing is the things you say that automatically personify you. When you hear "Yup!" or "It's ya boy!"... you know it's Jay-Z. When you hear Jadakiss' high-pitched laugh, you know it's him. When you hear "Yeeeaaaaaah!" you know it's Jeezy. When you hear "Aye, Aye, Aye" you know it's T.I. When you hear "Ow!... Sha'mone!" you know it's Michael Jackson. Phrasing does wonders!
Quick-Witted: You gotta be clever. Especially if you're in a battle. You gotta know how to take anyone's insults towards you and completely flip it effortlessly.
Rhythm: This goes along with "flow". But for this one.... let your rhythm change on almost every song. When you rap in the exact same rhythm allllll the time, it will get QUITE annoying. Biggie always switched up his flow. Busta Rhymes always switches up his flow. The only person who never needs to switch his flow is Twista.... because the speed is impressive to people every time. lol
Stage Presence: You either have this or you don't. If you don't. Sorry! You have to know how to move a crowd in order to be successful. The test of your stage presence is with the reaction from the ladies. Women don't give a damn. If they don't like you on stage.... they won't even bother "booing", they'll just act like you don't exist. Honestly.... this might sound crazy to some... but the most honest people in the crowd are indeed the Black folks! Perfect example.... The Apollo! Your ass will get booed before you even say "Yo" if they sense you're not any good.
Topics: Please talk about different things. Talk about pain, love, happiness, spirituality, bad relationships, job experiences, friends, family, enemies, jealousy, lonliness, infedelity, loyalty or whatever. Just DON'T TALK ABOUT THE SAME THING ALL THE TIME!!!! Clipse was a dope ass group! But all they talked about was "cocaine, cocaine and cocaine".... where are they now???
Upgrades: All MC's who last in this world reinvent themselves consistantly. Whether it's through the music, your delivery, your physique, hairstyle or fashion sense. Surprising your fans is always a lot of fun... and when you do it right, you gain even more NEW fans.
Voice: Whether your voice is deep, high, nasaly, raspy, nonchalant or loud. Regaurdess... your voice has to command attention. This also is a natural thing.... but the more you use it, it gets better.
Wordplay: A lot of people question what this means. You want a perfect example???... listen to the first verse of "Till I Collapse" by Eminem, and you'll hear exactly what great wordplay is.
X: We're gonna X this one out, because there ain't no words that start with an X that is coming to mind at all. LoL.
Youthfulness: Ain't nobody gonna pay attention to a 40 year old rapper lol. Well... that's if you look and sound 40. As long as you keep that youth in you, you'll have longevity. People like L.L., Dr. Dre, Snoop and Jigga can go on and on, no matter how old they are... because they stay youthful.
Z: Um.... Uhhhh.... zzzZZZZZzzzzzZZZZZzzzzZZzzz DONT SLEEP!!! HUSTLAZ NEVA SLEEP
- Writen by: Spontane of (YESSURR)
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Self-Explanations has just begun the recording phase. I started balancing time with my 9 to 5 (Costco really isn't a 9 to 5 job). I went to 17 Hertz Studio, which is a great atmosphere to concentrate on making music. Many studios enable you with that environment to concentrate. That is the most important thing when you are recording at a professional studio. You will fly through the session if you are extra prepared. I have the very first two songs recorded. One of the songs is called Hat Game Produced By Beat Catererz. Beat Catererz produced tracks for artists like Boes, AG The Hustla, John Brown, Ya Boy, Bigg Jigg, Lil Wayne, Yo Gotti, 334 Mobb, Young C, Affiliated Hustlas,Junior, Adam Boggs, Knowledge, and Melanie Mineau. For the artist you don't know about go to http://www.myspace.com/beatcatererz