It’s tough to make it as a budding musician. From writing your own songs to securing gigs and distributing your sound, it can seem like one hurdle after another. Music mastery (aka sound mastery) is the final stop before your music hits listeners, and you need it to be perfect.
What is music mastery?
Music mastery is the final step of audio post-production. While mixing is like putting pieces of a puzzle together, mastering is like framing the finished product.
Balancing sound with stereo to help your music sound good across all systems and media formats
Equalizing (EQ) and compression to get rid of audio imbalance
Getting rid of background noise like clicks, pops, hisses, etc.
Preventing distortion when the listener turns up the volume
Creating different copies for different audio formats (vinyl, CD, cassette tape, streaming)
Quality sound mastery turns good music into great music. It can be the difference between a flop and a hit. No pressure!
Should you DIY your music’s mastering?
Thanks to high-powered laptops and online stores making mastery equipment available for purchase, it’s possible to DIY all of your sound mastery. Which brings up the question: do you want to?
A professional sound master has tons of experience from polishing hundreds, maybe thousands of pieces from start to finish. Experience means hindsight, and hindsight means that things they wish they did better on their last job will be phenomenal on yours. They’ve developed a sense of intuition for the needs of your genre, and they probably have better equipment than you could ever afford. And since music mastery is their job, they will be able to get the job done faster than you can.
If you have decent laptop and have invested in some sound mastery equipment, in theory you can do it all yourself. The biggest incentive to DIY is simple: money. Professional sound masters with the kind of experience discussed above can be expensive. And if you hire someone cheaper, you might end up with a less-than-impressive final result.
Owning your master rights
Signing away your master rights away used to be standard practice for new musicians. Sure, it eliminated the artist’s say in their music or how it was used, but they received funding and exposure in exchange.
Fortunately, signing with a label rather than DIYing an album recording isn’t the end of the world. You can still negotiate the terms of the contract to work in your favor (preferably with the help of an lawyer). One of the most popular negotiations is adding a clause which turns over the master’s ownership to the artist after a certain amount of time, usually 2-5 years.
Now, that you’ve downloaded a couple of my beats. I’m sure your asking yourself what do I do next?
Here is a step-by-step guide showing you exactly what to do with the beats you just downloaded and “how to become a successful rap artist” with the music you make with them. If you didn’t buy beats from my site, this article will still give you ideas on how to become a more professional hip hop artist in general.
This guide will also teach you how to get exposure to yourself as a rap artist online.
If you download my free beats, you can still follow this guide but some of the steps require $ investment and if you are going to put money into your tracks, you might as well buy your beats so you can go the full mile with your music.
Steps To Becoming A Successful Rap Artist:
We have created a list of steps to becoming a successful rap artists. Take a look at the steps and read more about each step below by clicking on the links.
1. The First Step of becoming a successful rap artist is “Create a Radio Quality Rap Song”.
There are a couple of different options on how you can record your own rap songs. Here they are below:
Different ways to record a rap song:
Record your own raps songs yourself using your computer and home studio recording equipment
Record your own raps using your I-phone or Ipad
Record your own raps using a digital recorder
Get your raps recorded in a professional recording studio
But, what should I do with my rap song after I’ve recorded it?
After you have recorded your song, to get it radio quality, you should spend money to get it professionally mixed and mastered. A&R’s will be able to tell if you’ve recorded your song in a home studio. Getting your song professionally mixed and mastered sets your tracks apart from the crowd.
What do I do after my rap song gets mixed and mastered?
After the mixing and mastering has taken place, your song is now in an acceptable quality for human consumption.
You can choose to start sharing your songs on music sharing sites like Soundclick and Soundcloud or social media sharing sites like Facebook and Twitter.
But, if I were you, I would already start thinking about your music in the long run. People love listening to music but they love watching videos even more.
Not only are you going to want to shoot a rap music video for your song but you are going to want to shoot promo videos for that song.
A great example of someone doing it right, is a rapper named “Futuristic”. Futuristic is an Arizona Rapper that is slowly making a name for his self all across the US. He is doing nationwide tours and meeting famous people left and right. Some of his videos have been shared millions of times and sometimes shared by famous celebrities on Twitter.
He not only creates high quality videos for his songs but most importantly makes promo videos to gain attraction to those songs. One of the promo videos he did for the song called “The Greatest” was one of his biggest victories.
He created a video of himself dressed like a nerd and titled the video “nerd rapping in Compton”. Compton, CA is the home of the well known rap group called the N.W.A. and most people would expect that anyone rapping near or around there better be bringing it or else.
Futuristic leaves you stunned because your expecting a weak rap but he surprises you by spitting out some pretty nice lyrics with some technical delivery which ends up gaining him the respect of the street crowd. You can watch Futuristic’s Promo video here:
You don’t have need the same approach as Futuristic but at least this should get your mind thinking about what way you want to draw in the crowd.
That style worked for Futuristic because it probably came natural for him to act that way. Think of creative ways you can set yourself apart from other rappers and that might end up being your meal ticket. Your next step as a rap artist is to create your first rap music video.
2. The Second Step of becoming a successful rap artist is to “create a rap music video”.
There are a couple of different options on how you can record your own rap videos. Here they are below:
Different ways to record a rap music video:
Record your rap music video using a digital camera and your home computer
After you record your rap music video, now its time to upload it to video sharing sites like YouTube and Facebook.
Upload Your Video To Facebook
Upload Your Video To Youtube
3. The Third Step of becoming a successful rap artist is to create a promo video for your rap music video.
This step is similar to Step 2 but, instead of shooting a traditional music video, you are creating a promo video. Which means that, you are doing something different in this video to create an attraction but the video still has your song in it in some way.
Example of Ideas for Promo Videos:
Create a video of you freestyling your song to elderly people
Create a video of yourself rapping your song to a baby
Make a video of yourself rapping your song really fast
Create a video of you rapping your song backwards
Create a video that shows each step of your song creation process (quick video)
Think about why people are going to want to share your video. People would want to share a video of someone rapping to an elderly person if the elderly person reacted in some strange way or disliked the rapping.
People would say WTF to a video of someone rapping to a baby and a video of you rapping really fast would be something talented that people already like to share etc…
4. The Fourth Step of becoming a successful rap artist is to get features on your rap music video.
You are going to need a way to gain more fans, more quickly than just uploading videos with no audience, especially in the beginning stages of become a rap artists. Features are a great way to come up quickly in the music game and increase your audience quickly. Do the right feature, with the right person, at the right moment and boom… It can get you seen by a lot of important people really quickly. Futuristic is already getting offers from record labels already just from the couple of videos he has done but is choosing to stay independent for now.
Buying features can get quite costly but some rappers do them for really cheap. A friend of mine got Afroman on his track for $800 dollars. Yeah, it’s costing him upfront but if he can grab some of Afroman’s audience and make them his, then the money was well spent. Plus, features help you get new audiences if you have one already and help grow your audience if you are a brand new artist. All the major artists do features and know the impact of them. Always remember, it takes money to make money.
5. The Fifth Step of becoming a successful rap artist is to get booked for shows.
Doing paid shows and touring is going to be the way you make the majority of your money as a rap artist. This needs to be your main focus after you have already created your songs, made your videos, gotten a couple of features and made a small name for yourself.
You want to set yourself up like a business. Build an artist website that has info, biography’s and contact information to book you as an artist. Be mindful of the type of people you want to book you and do your research to find out the type of people that book artists the most. These are the type of people you want to appeal to.
6. The Sixth Step of becoming a successful rap artist is to go on tour and get paid gigs.
Going on tour is basically getting booked on a major scale. You have to have clubs book you in all of the major cities you want to visit. These clubs will pay you a negotiated amount of money to come to their club to perform. Don’t think you are going to get paid a huge amount right away. I was talking to one of the club owners in Phoenix that told me he only had to pay DMX $15,000 to perform and he is a major artist.
Underground artists can sometimes make up to $500-$3,000 dollars per show depending on the amount of draw the club thinks the artist might be able to bring in. Futuristic has people lined up at the door just to get his autograph and clubs know that he will be able to bring in traffic to their club and that’s the reason they book him. Its not the question of what the club can do for you but what you can do for the club. Can you bring in more than 3 people to watch your show? No, well maybe not yet but follow the steps above and you will build an audience, you will get booked and you will eventually make money on tour performing your music.
Thank you for reading “How To Become A Successful Rap Artist” Stay tuned for more from Efreezee @ MusicBeats.Net. Leave a comment below or ask questions here.
Ever since I started making beats 15 years ago, all I ever wanted to do was get major artists to rap on them. It was actually super crazy how I ended up getting my first major artist on my beats but all it ended up taking was a little bit of luck and a whole lot of being in the right place at the right time.
It’s actually kind of funny how it ended up happening because it wasn’t the result of anything I had directly done to get a major artist on my beats. It was actually through networking and talking with people off-line that got me the placement.
I would’ve thought with as much traffic as my site gets, that I would’ve had a major artist on my beats by now, especially considering I already have placements and TV and film on various popular TV networks but that’s not what got it.
What had happened was… (always wanted to say that in a post) I became friends with a gentleman by the name of Adam Hunter a.k.a. Ad-verse of New Age X, who eventually introduced me to a rapper by the name of Andrew Adamson aka Miracle a.P.a., an Arizona rapper that Adam had recently recorded for and knew was looking for beats, so he sent him to me.
It’s actually funny because Adam and I originally met because he was looking for beats and ended up loving mine, and to go even further back, I had only learned about Adam because I had got his CD given to me from a guy I met at a counseling group I attended for a short time.
The guy at the group only gave me Adam’s CD because he heard me talking about me trying to get my beats out there and he wanted to try to help by connecting me with an artist he knew. Crazy!!
Alright, back to the main part of the story. Andrew actually ends up buying some of my non-exclusive beats. Awesome!! Then goes on to tell me that he’s planning on buying a major artist feature, like I hear most artists talking about but never do. So I listened to him but didn’t really believe him because I have seen my share of artists talking about all the big moves they’re going to make but never do.
About a year and a half goes by and Andrew buys a couple more beats from me. This time he seems much more serious about getting this feature he was previously talking to me about.
Next thing you know, he’s telling me that he’s chosen the artist that he wants to feature with and that he had already made a down payment for Afroman to feature on his song.
It was funny because I asked him if he knew for a fact that the artist he was speaking to was actually Afroman and not some scammer. I only thought to ask this because he said he was communicating with Afroman’s manager through email only.
He went on to tell me that he wasn’t exactly sure if it was Afroman’s manager or not. I immediately told him you need to make sure it’s the real Afroman and not just some scammer trying to sell you a cheap feature that’s too good to be true.
It’s crazy because Andrew was actually spending money to buy a feature before he even had a laptop to to download beats on. But that’s another story.
So I forget about it, a little bit of time goes by, and then all of a sudden I see Andrew posting on Facebook telling people that the track featuring Afroman is coming soon.
At this point, I’m starting to think “man, maybe he actually did get a hold of the real Afroman” but at this point I was still like “yeah right bro”.
So, A little more time goes by and then one day I see a another post from Andrew on Facebook that says “go get it” with a picture of what looks like, a single featuring Afroman.
So I go listen to the track knowing who the Afroman is and what his voice sounds like
(still a non-believer at this point) and I push play and what do you know, it’s Afroman and that’s my beat!!! (you know him as the “because I got high” guy!!
I’m actually writing this post minutes after this just happened.
I still can’t believe it!! This is freaking awesome!!
As most regulars to my site know that I usually only prefer positive artists or positive lyrics on my beats. And Luckily, this track is all about the high that Music gives you and I completely support that!
Thank you God for blessing me with this. Yes, they are talking about “some” marijuana use in the song but I can’t hate on that because it’s becoming legal all over the country and if using medical marijuana makes people’s lives a little bit better, I’m all for it. It’s the destructive drug use and alcohol use that lead to bad decision making that I don’t want promoted on my beats.
If you’re reading this post and hoping to get your first major artist to rap or sing on your beats, trust me, it’s totally possible and you never know where it’s going to come from so make sure you:
Get out to your local music venues and give people either a business card or a CD with beats on it and has contact information for you
Always share your music online on all the popular social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google etc…
Talk to all kind of people about what you do, all the time, you never know who you’re talking to and who they might know. I met this artist that got me the placement through someone I had never met in my life, who introduced me to someone else I had never met in my life, who ended up introducing me to a guy who ended up getting a feature with Afroman. If this doesn’t prove that The possibilities are endless, I don’t know what does
I definitely did not expect to get my first major artist on my beats this way, but I am totally appreciative of the fact that good things take time. If you’re a producer and you’re trying to get yourself out there, get your beats on TV and film. or get your beats place with major artists, just know that it is totally possible you don’t have to be a superstar to do it.
I’m just a big tall white kid from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Most of you probably don’t even know where that is and that just goes to prove my point that you don’t have to be anyone special to make a name for yourself these days.
It just as simple as making beats and telling people that you have them consistently. It took me 15 years to get my first one and 14 years to get my first placement on TV and Film. Not saying that it will take you that long. I have only been promoting my music hard for the past 5 years or so.
Any accomplishment I ever made or make, I will create a post about to tell people how I did it and how they can do the exact same thing them selves. It’s about spreading the love yo, that’s what we need these days more than ever.