Wednesday, October 18, 2006

So You Wanna Be A Rapper???

I’m biting off my own self this time. A while back I wrote a satirical piece about a class for stalkers. This time I’m going at the music industry. Check it out.

Good Afternoon, Class. I’m Dr. Deniro. I assume everyone is here for Black Hit Records 101? Good, lets get started. In this course, you will learn how to make a hit record and get thousands if not millions of adoring fans. I’ve broken this class up into 3 sections: Rap, R&B, and Neo Soul. If you came here looking for how to breakthrough in the rock or pop music scenes, I suggest you drop this class now. We haven’t quite mastered those fields in a long time, with the exception of Hootie. Our area of expertise is with the contemporary Black music fields and we have an abundance of knowledge to share with you. So, you with the black fingernail polish and you in the shiny suit, you guys can leave now. Now that they are gone, I want to give you an overview of what we will be covering. I’ll attempt to answer any questions you have along the way.

The first thing we will cover in this class is how to make a hit Rap record. First thing, I will be teaching you is how to spot trends. This isn’t as easy as it seems. Half of making a hit record is copying what’s already out. But you have to be careful. For example, right now, if you wanna be a star, you should be from the South, or at least pretend to be. I would suggest listening to some TI or imitating Lil Jon’s synthesizer sound as a start. If you watch Rap City’s Top 10, at least 8 of the songs are gonna be from Southern rappers. You would be wise to emulate their style even if it’s not yours. This is not a new thing. A few years ago, sounding like you were from the Midwest was a surefire way to sell records. The same thing with NY and California. The important thing is to recognize what’s hot, and getting in where you fit in. Yes, you in the front row. Do you have a question?

Aspiring Rapper #1: What if you aren’t from the South? How do you make a hit then?

Great question. It doesn’t matter if you are actually from the South, Just do a collabo with a Southern rapper and you can claim their style. It worked for E 40. And do you really think Jim Jones listens to Southern rap music? It just works for record sales.

Aspriring Rapper # 2: Should I worry about a certain style of rap being over exposed? Eventually won’t people get tired of hearing only one type of music?

The most successful rappers are able to adapt to the changing tastes of the rap audience. Look at Ice Cube for example. He was a pioneer of that West Coast gangsta rap. He realized that he had to adapt and started working with the Bomb Squad outta New York. When that West Coast was resurrected with Snoop and Dre, he then switched back to being a West Coast rapper. Now a days, he is riding Lil Jon’s coattails for hits now that the South is running things. You may not have bought his album, but I bet you listened to his music in the clubs.

Another secret to being a successful rapper is money. I don’t care if you just got fired, owe your bookie $10 K, or are collecting welfare, if you want to be a successful rapper, you have to act like you have money. Materialism has been running rampant since Puffy hit the scene. You have to up the ante. If the next rapper talks about having a platinum chain, then you have to have a titanium ring. Don’t be afraid to get outlandish with it. Put diamonds on anything that will hold them. Mention an obscure type of liquor that nobody has heard about yet. Customize your car in a completely excessive way. While it may not make sense to you to have diamonds in your teeth, if you wanna sell records, you gotta do it. That’s what them Texas dudes are doing and you see how they shut down the rap game in ’06. Bottom line is this: Rap fans listen in an attempt to escape reality. It is your job as a rapper to let them live vicariously through you.

Aspiring Rapper # 2 – I don’t know how comfortable I am portraying that image. Doesn’t this contribute to the lack of morals that our youth are facing.

That may be true, but you have to remember the Rappers Code. Now I expected you to already know this before enrolling in this class, but we’ll review it. Can somebody tell me the rappers code?

Aspiring Rapper #3 – I am not a role model – Charles Barkley 1992

Very good, does anyone have anything else to add?

Aspiring Rapper # 4 – I rap about what I see, I am the ghetto CNN. – NWA -1991

That’s right too. You can’t worry about what anybody else gets from your music. Your job is to entertain and sell records. Rappers are only responsible for themselves and their economic well being. This leads me to my next point: Drugs sell themselves.

Aspiring Rapper #1 – What do you mean by that?

Quite simply, the core of your audience has either seen drug dealers, wanted to be a drug dealer or actually dealt drugs in their lifetime. Rappers have to have that larger than life Tony Montana/Frank White persona. If you look at some of the recent popular rappers, they all use drugs as their subject matter. Look at Jeezy. His entire album was about selling cocaine, and his first album did 2 million and now he trying to do 3. If you are especially clever, then you can even mention drug dealing on supposedly wholesome R&B tracks. Look at Jay-Z! On Beyonce’s song, he said he “used to run base like Juan Pierre.” Because his simile was so obscure, most people didn’t realize he was talking about drug smuggling. Now that is clever. Who even knows who Juan Pierre is?

Aspiring Rapper #3 – Who is Juan Pierre?

He is a baseball player for the Florida Marlins and he is known for stealing bases. The simile is comparing Jay-Z’s aptitude for selling drugs to Juan’s aptitude for running the bases in baseball. I wouldn’t suggest any of you to try to do something like this just yet; that is an advanced example of talking about drugs on the record.

Class: AAAAAHH!!!

There are a few other things you need to do if you want a hit record. Make sure people can dance to your music. You may be a lyrical genius, but unfortunately that doesn’t sell. You have to get the ladies on the dance floor. This means that you have to dumb it down. Make sure you have a repetitive hook that people can easily remember. Hit songs are not meant to make the audience think, but make them move. Look at Laffy Taffy... or Shoulder Lean…or Chicken Noodle Soup. These songs are about dancing. You can expect to hear these tracks at 1 AM at the club. They aren’t gonna make you any smarter, but they will make you rich. You may lose your hip hop credibility, but really, who needs respect from some backpackers when you have loot in a briefcase?

Aspiring Rapper # 3 – Some of my favorite rappers used to have lyrics of substance and still get the crowd moving. Why can’t I do that?

I’m sorry, but times have changed. Kids now a days don’t wanna hear that Native Tongue stuff. It’s all about the beat, not the lyrics. De La Soul may have been the shit, but did they ever get rich? It’s all about priorities. If you want to struggle to make a living and constantly change record labels for the sake of your art, go right ahead, but I think you are in the wrong class. You may want to go check out “Hip Hop Purity” being taught by KRS ONE down the hall. This class is all about making hits.

I think we need a break. When we come back, we will go over how to make a hit R&B record. I’ll give you a hint: it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with talent. We’ll meet back here in 5 minutes.

It was written…


Blogger Miz JJ said...

I can't wait to read the R&B version. I am guessing it will have something to do with dying your hair blonde and wearing little to no clothes. Post had me giggling this morning. Thanks!

Wed Oct 18, 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Royce's Daughter said...

This was great!! And the timing was perfect as I just watched the Hip Hop Honors last night and it brought tears to my eyes. MC Lyte was on FIYAH!! Just made me miss real hip hop, the true art form of rap...this mess we got now is hot garbage! Looking forward to the R&B portion of the class...and I hope you don't plan on dissin my Boo (Beyonce) LOL!!

Wed Oct 18, 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger NegroPino™ said...

mAN U stay killing me...and got me fiening for more......but what u say is so true......its no longer a lifestyle, its a business

Wed Oct 18, 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger G. Mo said...

Good read bruh. The sad thing is that the Hip Hop Purity class being taught by the Blastmaster KRS-ONE will probably be the first one to be cancelled due to low enrollment. I bet 90% of these 'rappers' today no nothing about his battles with MC Shan back in the days. They probably couldn't tell you one thing about Boogie Down Productions or DJ Scott La Rock.

Everything heard for the most part nowadays is popcorn and bubblegum rap. There's no substance whatsoever. It's like drinking a tall glass of Red Kool-Aid with no sugar on a hot summer day.

Wed Oct 18, 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Dynasty said...

This was great. Now I have to go back and read the stalker one. Damn! I missed the Hip Hop Honors, but I'm sure BET will play them over, and over and over....

Wed Oct 18, 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Honey-Libra said...

Umm what if I wanna do country do I break into that


Wed Oct 18, 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger ShellyP said...

Anxiously waiting for the next part of the class.

Wed Oct 18, 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger fallen angel said...

i see you! ever insightful ass! i remember hearing that jay-z line too and was like, i see the obscure drug shout out! that's why certain stations have bleeped that line out! "you cant ban the snowman!" LOL!

you forgot to mention that no matter how many tracks are on your cd, you have to have five staples:

1. "i'm better than you" song
2. song for the ladies
3. club song
4. rep your hood song
5. "thank you lord" song


i too cant wait for the r&b version.

Wed Oct 18, 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger ----- said...

Patiently awaiting the next section of this class! ;o)

Look at YOU baby your thing!


Wed Oct 18, 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger The L said...

That one is a classic, T! I was definitely a backpack toting hip hop head back in my day and I am truly disappointed by the way the music has gone. KRS-One said it best last night there is a difference between Rap and Hip Hop. Rap is something you do, Hip Hop is how you live. People don't realize that anymore. I posted a poem on my MySpace Blog a few months ago about the death of the real female lyricists, I think we are on the same wave legnth.

Wed Oct 18, 02:18:00 PM  
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Wed Oct 18, 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger ----- said...

LOL@you getting SPAMMED! ;o)

Love ya!


Wed Oct 18, 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger i like liquor and tv said...

lol...that was great. Don't forget to warn those cats about Industry Rule

I cannot wait to read the Neo-Soul lesson. That one should be great. Incense, candles, head wraps, weave 'fros and weave dreads, lack of

Wed Oct 18, 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger SynSational said...

LOL...lovin' it. As I watched the Hip Hop Honors last night, I was kinda thinking along the same lines...hip hop isn't the same, no matter what people say. I had so many good memories last, guess I won't skip your next class. LOL

Wed Oct 18, 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger T. Cas said...

@ miz jj - the little to no clothes is definitely in there.

@ RD - I won't talk about Beyonce... err maybe i will, we'll see.

@ Negropino - its definitely a business, although I find myself rocking some of the popular stuff too.

@ G Mo - the SHAN-BDP battles were classic. I ain't even mad if the youth dont know about that, but at least try to have some intelligence about you.

@ Dynasty - the stalker one was brilliant if I say so myself. Hip Hop Honors is on VH1, so they will play it over and over and over

@ Honey -Libra - Ummm... I can't help you with that one. LOL

@ Shelly - thanks, I hope I write it tonight.

@ fallen angel - that line was genius to me. I don't have anything against drug dealing rap, just be clever with it. Oh and the rep your hood song has to have bout 3 or 4 of your non rapping friends on it.

@ Trizzy - hey, love! I got my swagger back. Stop laughing at my spam. LOL

@ The L - I tried to fit in the whole rap vs hip hop argument, but I couldnt find the right place for it. I definitely agree with that though

@ liquor and tv - Stop stealing my material! LMAO! I definitely had the head wrap and incense. What about the ambiguously gay dudes like Maxwell and Javier. They look a little homo to me. I shouldnt have typed this comment cuz now you gonna know whats in the neo soul post.

@ synsational - I missed the show, but I gotta catch it. I only saw the Rakim part and I was loving it.

Wed Oct 18, 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Miss Ahmad said...

it's no wonder that i haven't paid any of my own money for a rap album since Tupac died...

Wed Oct 18, 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Tenacious said...

LOL T you know I love your "classes"...I'm patiently waiting for the R&B class...

@ T

LOL...Yeah it was nice that he claimed me but did he really need to palm the breasts? I mean big ass hands were showing that the boobies were obviously an illusion...

Wed Oct 18, 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger TTD said...

i knew u were going to say something about the southern rap style! lol. that's sooo true!

Thu Oct 19, 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Knockout Zed said...

Hot damn! I read this in reverse, but I likes, I likes!


Thu Oct 19, 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger i like liquor and tv said...

lol@the Neo Soul material. You can pull some more material from your boys Little Brother. The song where he's talking about coffee shop chicks and dudes that wear sandals and capris. "Even though yall don't cuss like me, at the end of the night yall still tryna f*** like me".

Thu Oct 19, 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger SandyBaby said...

Rap has indeed changed. I love your perspective... and your imagination! Great post!

Music in general was so much better when we were coming up. So am I officially "old school" for saying this?????

Fri Oct 20, 12:27:00 PM  

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