How To Be An Emcee (No. 1)
This week Eminem pushed over 700,000 records, following a week where rapper Drake almost sold half a million in a week. These numbers might reflect Eminem’s popularity among his white fans and Drakes ability to please the ears on your lady, but they still did numbers, and numbers don’t lie. What does it take to sell 400,000 records in a week? What kind of team do you need to get that thing in motion? How much marketing money is in the project?
Everybody is rapping to get money. Few are rapping for the sport. Whether commercial, independent, or underground, rappers are trying to make money in the hood, knowing a few more dollars in means a few more dollars out on studio equipment or at least a gold chain for the live show.
Cool. If you’re in it for the money, here’s a tip for you salesman. All I hear these days is rappers telling me how their cd got something for everybody, or how they are in their own zone and on some futuristic shit, yet its these same artists that are constantly running up to me asking me how they can get over.
“What am I doing wrong?” they say when their Facebook link ain’t clicked enough.
The truth is there is no formula. If you want to sell 400,000 records, make a wish, because that shit is truly a gift from god. Market all you want, if the music sucks, its not getting bumped. One thing is for certain, if your CD has something for everybody, you’re not going to sell shit. If you’re all up in your own zone, its going to be impossible to sell anything. You know why Em and Drake did numbers? They know they niche and they work it to perfection. I didn’t buy either album, but I know what I’m missing out on. Drake was all over MTV this week and if I didn’t know all 6 of Eminems songs from his video’s I might’ve downloaded his disc. Their niche just ain’t my niche, but if i ever feel like some R&B rap or some crazy flow, I know where to find it.
I ramble to say this: if I don’t know your angle, or your style, or your sound, and respect it for being uniquely yours, then I don’t trust you. I don’t know about marketing, and getting your own day on MTV2, but I know about a movement. You are the voice of your movement. If your message is unclear, why would I want to fuck with you. How you gonna get to Eminem levels if you can’t get your facebook fans to listen? If your music is thugged out and party tracks and something for the ladies, then you are lost homey, and I’m not going there with you. People aren’t stupid. How many people you know fight, fuck, and party all day? Its just not a story / message we want to hear.
So, poor, lonely, confused rapper, this is for you. This is your chance to do some soul searching and ask yourself what message you want to share to the world. Now ask yourself, does all your music speak to this point? Clearly? Maybe you need to dumb it down or maybe you need to tighten up your lyrics.
What are you trying to say to the people? Write down one line, one mission statement for your career or art. Now be real with yourself- will 400,000 people want to share this message? Is it a message that has been expressed before? If you can say yes to the first question, and no to the second, you might have what it takes to go platinum.
If not, just make music; Be an artist, not a salesmen. If your shit is hot, it will catch on.