Despite title of this article, purpose of it is actually to HELP new emcees AVOID some common traps on their journey to learning how to rap better. You can come up with a million reasons why new rappers fail…or why any artist fails for that matter, but we’ve boiled list down to three specific to new emcees.
The three reasons simply put are:
1)The Hobby Factor 2)The Experience Factor 3)The Focus Problem
Through dealing with countless aspiring rappers, we at The State of Hip Hop have noticed that most problems emcees face can in one way or another be traced to these three root troubles.
Simply stating problems is of use, but of more use is what I’m sure you all are looking for…a solution.
So let’s begin…
1) The Hobby Factor:
Millions of people around world play poker. Of those, only a few thousand are professional. The remainder would probably like to be…they sincerely like game, yet they don’t have a passion for it…for them, poker remains simply a hobby.
This is case with a good many aspiring emcees. They love rap, they have favorite rappers, know all words to their songs…but in reality, hip-hop is simply their hobby – enjoyable entertainment. Even so, there is nothing wrong with this.
There are a good many rappers who are successful and yet don’t take rap very seriously. For every KRS-One and Common Sense, you have a pair of Ying Yang Twins or a Master P.
The idea of “not taking rap seriously” does not necessarily refer to art of rhyme, but instead to rap as a career or business opportunity. So while Master P may not rack his brain trying to craft most amazing rhyme, he does seriously analyze marketing strategies, distribution outlets, promotional events, etc…all part of rap game.
But I’m jumping ahead. You may not think this pertains to you. You may think, “I’ll worry about that if and when I get that far.” But therein lies problem…a mind that is not preparing itself for big picture. It goes back to old “thinking ten steps ahead” philosophy.
Some common signs that a new rapper is stuck in this rut are that they try and come up with good ideas, have writer’s block, and stop. Or come up with a few bars or verses, think they’re no good, get upset, give up for a while, and pick pen up again in a couple of days or weeks. For these people rap is a hobby.
Rap is made a hobby by others because they are afraid to fail at it...Remember this! And it applies to everything you do; Success is achieved only after many failures. If you can't handle failure, you're not ready for success.
The Hobby Factor - Solution:
Make rap a priority, set some time aside to dedicate to it. This doesn’t mean “forget all your other responsibilities, but do write every day. Writing every day sounds very simple, agreed, but it is rarely practiced. The practice becomes understood to be “write a hot verse/song every day”…which it is not.
“Write every day” simply means that. Write down your freestyles, a poem, opening page of a short story, ideas for a song, literally anything! You’ll be amazed at how drastically this will speed up your learning curve.
Another good idea is to change your entire frame of mind. Let’s say you’re living at home with your parents. Things are pretty straight, you’re not starving. You plan on being a mechanical engineer…What then is motivating you to improve your raps?
Now let’s say you got your girlfriend pregnant, are living partially on streets, working two jobs to eek out a living…and you see rap as your way out. Well now you got some fire under your ass don’t you?
The point is not that you need to be in any particular circumstance to be a good rapper…but that if your situation isn’t motivating you, you need to force that motivation on you by some other means.
Rap with a hunger…like you literally need it to eat! Don’t treat it like a pastime. Whether you end up becoming a successful musician or not, time you dedicated is never wasted. Good rap skills and song writing skills are amazingly beneficial to developing a good ability to express yourself in any field.
2) The Experience Factor: