Reaching for success as an artist in South Africa – Tips for rappers
Majority of my posts are geared towards production and production techniques so I thought I’d get into writing for artists for a second. This is one of those topics I can speak about purely because I’ve seen a lot of things that rappers have done that haven’t worked. I’m going to use the things I’ve seen as examples. You may want to change your approach after reading this.
First of all, we don’t put in the hours we claim to Too many times I’m told that people are “grinding in studio” or hard at work on something new. The whole hip hop industry in South Africa doesn’t use its time effectively. I see it time and time again. I put most of this down to us not putting goals in place and even if we do set those goals, they aren’t specific enough. I’ll go into goal setting in another post. If you want to finish 3 songs in a session then make sure you get through your work.
All too often, I see South African rappers hunting for hand outs If you want something, go get it dammit! Sitting on your chair writing rhymes all day isn’t going to get your name out there. Worse still are the hours that rappers spend with their friends complaining about the industry in South Africa. If there’s a will then there is a way. Whether you take that part-time job to pay for studio time and decent production or whether you spend some time learning how to draft a really slick email so you can apply for that sponsorship. Make a plan otherwise you’ll wait forever for your hand out. FOREVER!
Too often I see our Rappers settling for substandard quality Bad beats, terrible production and no marketing plan will leave you struggling to get your work heard. Everyone can throw a song together, what makes your song unique? As a rapper, you need more than good bars. I’ve seen people with good bars do terribly because they record to bad beats or they don’t have a plan when it comes to releasing their song. Up your quality and you’ll see that you’ll move from hunting for 500 downloads to hunting for 5000 downloads. It’s not a lot to learn and when you learn it, you know how to do it forever. This brings me to my next point.
Rappers will read about what Kanye did last week, but will skip over a short article about helping them to succeed in their industry (like this one. Thank you for reading :P). Let me put a challenge to artists out there: google articles that have to do with promoting yourself as a rapper, what social media you should be on, what you should post on that social media, tips on song writing and how to structure your mixtape or EP. Read 3 articles a day for 10 days then do what those articles say. I guarantee you will see progress in the next 2 months.
Stop looking for a manager There’s this thing going around that you can’t make it as a rapper without a manager. Rappers will spend all their time looking for a manager, work with them for 5 months and then get unhappy because “they aren’t doing their job”. Stuff that! If you have no radio or TV airplay and a small following, there’s no need for a manager yet. Most of these managers are going to go out and struggle to make contacts for you. Why not just do it yourself. Managers are going to try and get you exposure wherever they can find it. Why not hunt for that exposure yourself? I mean, who knows your brand better than you? If your answer is “I don’t have time” or “It’s not my job to promote myself” or “It’s too difficult to learn” then you’ve failed already. Make time. It is most certainly your job especially in the beginning stages. It’s not difficult. Just read or YouTube and I promise you will find your answers.
I see artists spamming like it’s the only thing they know. I’m constantly cleaning my Facebook wall of spam. I won’t even get into what happens on my website, but at least I can filter that. Imagine that everybody’s social media page is like their house. When you dump a link on my wall it’s like jumping over the fence and spraying graffiti on my front door. It’s rude and you’re more likely to get blocked that way. Getting spam via email is worse. It’s like getting home and finding random boxes in your dining room. I’m always cleaning. Let’s think about this practically… When walking up to someone’s house for the first time, you’ll knock politely and introduce yourself. This isn’t the time to tell them what you want. The next time you come to the house and they invite you in you can slowly tell them what it is that you want. Even if they can’t help you, at least you’ve made a new connection. Try the same thing when dealing with people and tell me if it helps. This may be social media, but you’re still dealing with human beings here.
Rant = Over Thank you for reading