Throughout the years of working in an over saturated music industry, you wouldn’t even begin to imagine the things that publicists, managers, A&Rs, and promoters hear on a day-to-day basis from artists, especially rap artists. We’ll go through a list of the “The Different Types of Rappers” that industry professionals come across on a daily basis. Don’t get us wrong, this will be entertaining, however informative. If you’re an artist, read through this and be sure that you don’t fall into ANY of these categories! If you do, it’s definitely time to make some serious adjustments.
The “Seeking Management but Don’t Know What Management Really Does but Need One to Save My Life” Rapper
The scenario usually goes something like this:
Artist: Can you manage me?
Exec: What are your stats looking like? Why do you feel that you need a manager?
Artist: This is my life yo! I swear I’m the hottest thing since Pac! I just need someone to help me! Can you just give me a chance?!
Exec: What do you mean by help you? What are you looking to accomplish?
Artist: Can you get me signed?
Exec: But you don’t have a following. Have you performed anywhere?
Artist: No, that’s why I need you! I need you to book me shows and promote my music and get me signed! Please I just need someone to believe in me. I swear my shit is hot!
Artists often feel that a manager is exactly what they need to get further in their career, when in reality they aren’t even at that point where they need a manager. They feel this way because they don’t know what a manager’s role is. They just feel that the manager is the gateway to their success and they don’t have to do anything but create, when that is far from the truth. A manager is not an investor or a magician, and is not your “get-out-of-jail-free card” to success. The manager comes along when you have already built a firm foundation for yourself. They take the greatness that you have built to the next level using their knowledge and connections. If you are not making any money as an artist, you don’t need a manager just yet. Managers will come looking for you when the time is right. Just keep up the momentum!
Which also tends to go hand in hand with the…
The “Delusional Mixtape with Too Many Tracks and Freestyles on Overused Industry Beats” Rapper
Rapper: Yo check out my mixtape!
Exec: How many tracks on your mixtape?
Artist: I got 15,890,999 something tracks on this jawn. It’s FLAMES!
Exec: Do you have a single that I can check out first?
Rapper: Oh yea my poundcake freestyle I just released!
Exec: How about an original single?
Rapper: Oh, I’m working on those now, I just wanted to release all these freestyles first to build up my fan base, and then I’ll release the good stuff later.
Exec: Sooo you’re gonna build up your fan base with the weak stuff instead of releasing the good stuff?
Rapper: Yea, why would I give them the good stuff?
Who usually happens to promote like…
The “Spam Artist” Rapper
Rapper: Check out my video!! *tweets and tags everyone with video link*
…. 2 weeks later:
Rapper: Yo check out my newest video! *tweets and tags everyone with video link*
Three mixtapes and 10 videos later, said rapper still can’t bring out 20 people to a show, still recording and releasing without any progress, still has no website, and still pays to perform.
Now, while there is absolutely nothing wrong with creating a mixtape, there is something wrong with the mindset of an artist that feels that releasing a mixtape is their key to success. Also, most artists release mixtapes without any build up or anticipation, and then they try to shove the whole tape in everyone’s face, on everyone’s Timeline, in everyone’s mentions, and it becomes the most annoying thing ever.
The “I Got Money, But No Budget” Rapper
Rapper: Can you listen to my mixtape, give me feedback, help me come up with a plan to release it, and get it on a ton of blogs?
Exec: Ok, I can definitely help you with all of that. Can you give me an idea of your budget?
Rapper: BUDGET? Can’t you help me for free? I promise my shit is dope! I just need someone to believe in me!
Or it goes something like…
Exec: Let’s focus on branding. You have no electronic press kit (EPK), website, professional photography, etc. We need to build your image to better market you. You also need your tracks mixed for your next project. I know a few professionals that can help you.
Artist: Nah, I’m cool. My neighbor up the street gon’ mix my tracks, my aunt will style me, my brother gonna do my shoot with his new iPhone 5s, and my squad gonna promote my shit.
This is the mindset of rappers that haven’t taken the time out to learn how the music industry really works. Starting a career in music is a lot like starting starting your own business – you must first invest in order to see that return of investment. Promotion, marketing, public relations, professional music videos, quality graphics, mixing mastering, travel – it all costs money!
The “More Focused on Mainstream Rappers than My Own Career” Rapper
These are unsigned/unknown rappers that spend more time debating about mainstream artists on and off Twitter than putting the time effort and energy into their own career. These rappers are always ready for a music debate. They will jump up out of a high/drunken sleep and start spitting out bars, facts, Billboard charts, BDS radio spins, record sales, etc. (i.e,. Kendrick vs. Drake, Jeezy vs. Rick Ross, Joe Budden vs. Fab). These cats are like a walking Hip-Hop Wikipedia.
These rappers are so brainwashed by what they see the mainstream artists doing that they turn into…
The “Fake Social Network Statistics but Expect Real Fans” Rapper
Artist: You should book me for a show. My video has 300,000 views.
Exec: Oh really. When was the last time you booked a show?
Artist: Five months ago.
Exec: Five months ago? But how do you have 300,000 views, 60k Instagram followers, but you don’t book shows? PAUSES* Wait a second, I see your pics on Instagram have only 20-50 likes and no one is retweeting you on Twitter and your one Youtube video has 78 thousand views but only 5 comments, and the rest of your videos only have 145 views.
Artist: What you saying?
Exec: It looks like you bought fake views and followers.
Artist: *No response*
There is something called “social proof” which basically means that people tend to gravitate towards brands that seem to have the most attention. Because of this, artists often feel that buying followers, likes, downloads, and views is in fact that right thing to do to boost their chance of success. In reality, this makes you look bad for a few reasons. Number one, it shows that you cannot build a genuine following. It also gives everyone a bad impression if your brand, since you now look like a fraud and/or liar. If I were you,, I would stay far far away from anyone that tries to sell you “real” followers, likes, etc. Work on creating the best possible product and then build your fan base a little at a time. Focus on making that initial one-on-one connection. One genuine fan per day is way better than 1000 fake followers.
And please, PLEASE don’t fall into this category!
The “Waste Money for a Feature” Rapper
Artist: Guess what?! I just got a feature from (INSERT KNOWN RAPPER)! And he only charged me $15K!
Exec: Oh wow, what’s your plans for promotion? Is he going to help promote the record?
Artist: Ummm, we didn’t discuss that, but he should right? Since he’s on the record?
Exec: Not necessarily. That’s usually worked out when you negotiate the price of the feature.
Artist: Well, I need to talk to him then! Because I spent all of my money on this feature!
or the convo goes something like this…
Artist: Guess what? I’m opening up for (INSERT BIG-NAMED RAPPER)!
Exec: Oh, that’s cool. How did you manage that?
Artist: I paid three stacks. I’m On Son. Turn Down 4 What!
Famous artists don’t promote records; PROMOTION promotes records. If you’re going to pay for a feature, make sure it makes sense. Make sure that artist has a fan base that would enjoy your music, and make sure that the artist and/or producer is in agreement to promote the record. Also, instead of paying thousands of dollars to open up for a larger act, focus on building up your fan base and buzz in your area so that promoters in your area will start to book you to open their shows.
Believe me, we’re on your side. But sometimes it takes something to strike a nerve before a change is made. If reading this article has pissed you off in any way, that means you probably fall into the last category…
The “Can’t Handle Constructive Criticism” Rapper
Artist: What did you think of my track?
Exec: The mixing is off, the track is not mastered properly, the hook is not catchy, and the lyrical content is cliché.
Artist: What do you mean?
Exec: What I just said. The track needs to be reworked.
Artist: My girl and my squad thought the track was hot, but you on some hating-type sh*t.
Understand that if everyone told you how great you are all the time, that leaves no room for improvement. If you can’t handle constructive criticism, the music industry is the wrong industry to be in. As an artist, you should take heed to all of the feedback and constructive criticism given to you and use it as guidance and motivation to do better. If your team likes everything you do, you may want to reconsider those who are in your corner.
This article is courtesy of:
Brianna DeMayo, CEO and founder of Exclusive Public, LLC. and Christion Miller, Drexel University electrical engineering graduate, CEO and Founder of artist management firm ChristMirr Enterprise. Both have experience in artist management, development, branding, music marketing, and executive producing music projects and events.
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Brianna | ExclusivePublic.com | Twitter & Instagram: @breezyb215 @ExclusivePublic
ChristMirr Enterprise | christmirr.com | Twitter & Instagram @christmirr @CMEnterprise