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Why New Musicians (Rappers) Fail: Three Reasons and Solutions
Despite the title of this article, the 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 the list down to three specific to new emcees.
The three reasons simply put are:
1) The Hobby Factor
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 the 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 the world play poker. Of those, only a few thousand are professional. The remainder would probably like to be?they sincerely like the game, yet they don't have a passion for it?for them, poker remains simply a hobby.
This is the case with a good many aspiring emcees. They love rap, they have favorite rappers, know all the 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 the 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 the most amazing rhyme, he does seriously analyze marketing strategies, distribution outlets, promotional events, etc?all part of the 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 the problem?a mind that is not preparing itself for the big picture. It goes back to the 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 the 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, the 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 the 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, the 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:
This problem is very common among new rappers.
In the hood you might hear a 12-year-old kid spitting a raw 16 bars. That's because 12 in the hood is like 21 anywhere else.
A lot of new emcees are hesitant about what to actually write about because of a lack of experience. They haven't really seen the world first hand. It's hard to write good raps when you don't really know yourself yet?because part of what a rap does is communicate to the listener the personality and character of the rapper. Still, not knowing who you are is nothing to be ashamed of.
So while the 21 year old from the outskirts of New Zealand may be intelligent, he may not be quite sure he knows who he is, what he stands for and what really matters to him, perhaps precisely because he thinks too much.
On the other hand, the 12 year old from the slums of Tokyo may be illiterate, irrational, and arrogant, but he has already come to understand himself?he's comfortable in knowing who he is (regardless of whether he is wrong or has limited his growth).
The Experience Factor - Solution:
Have fun, live, read, and think about who you are.
The best way around this obstacle, really, is just to put yourself into various situations, open your ears to knew ideas, learn your history, etc?All the while asking questions, analyzing things, finding out what in this world matters to you?
Everyone gets around this problem eventually, but for many it's too late. Try to understand who you are at any given time, and spit your rhymes in that image?amped up a few notches?that's what makes it art ;)
3) The Focus Problem:
We've realized that a lot of people who are interested in rapping are simply naturally artistic and expressive. I personally have always enjoyed drawing since I was a child and could always appreciate a well-written book as well as various types of music.
Being as I grew up in the "hip-hop generation" I naturally gravitated towards the art form of rapping. I loved it, the rhyme, the rhythm, the meaning and wordplay?
However, I actually dove into my obsession with rap before I fully developed any of my previous interests.
There is a negative side effect or problem that comes about here.
An aspiring rapper, for example, might be naturally more skilled at or inclined to being a poet, novelist, journalist, public speaker or other type of musician. He or she might then decide to pursue an interest in rap, essentially ignoring their other talents. This is not fundamentally problematic, however?
Rap is NOT (contrary to some beliefs) the same as poetry. It is poetry and more. There are innumerous factors involved in making good rap music. One factor is the fact that it is a form of music?which separates it from other forms of literature on a number of levels.
Furthermore the skills necessary to writing well, speaking well, etc?are all forgone if one decides to skip these optional outlets for expression. This is a HUGE mistake.
The Focus Problem - Solution:
Stay on track and stick to what you're good at.
This not only applies to the above-mentioned outlets of expression but ANY outlet of expression. Dance, art, ANYTHING. You will learn tremendously from these. I can't even begin to explain how much you'll be missing out on if you decide to forgo these means of expression.
Everything that you learn about being a good public speaker, for example, can be effectively applied to rap?whatever you learn about developing a good storyline?can be used in rap, non-verbal communication techniques you might subconsciously pick up in dance class?they help in rap?the list goes on and on.
So there you have it, 3 of the biggest reasons why new rappers fail or quit?
Another additional reason why rappers fail to succeed is that they don't fully understand the business of music. Our section www.thestateofhiphop.com/rap-industry.html can begin to help you understand the workings of the music business. We'll refrain from further detail until a future article.
Until next time, stay on the grind and you should be fine?
See you around!
TheStateofHipHop.com was created out of the tremendous worldwide demand for practical advice, pointers, rap tips, and more that aspiring musicians need on their journey to learn to rap.Visit http://www.TheStateofHipHop.com for more great articles, tips and information on the music business all 100% free!
Hip Hop fans, don't forget to sign up for our FREE E-Zine where you'll get free hot new and classic rap songs sent to you, rap tips, hip hop news, rapper and producer interviews and more!Check it out at http://www.TheStateofHipHop.com
Copyright © 2005 TheStateofHipHop.com All Rights Reserved
Free, Legal Music Online
Almost everyone has heard about the massive crack down on Internet music piracy that has been occurring over the past few years. Napster was taken down (although it has now returned as a pay service), other file sharing programs now require users to pay for a license and the RIAA and other similar organizations are doing their best to hunt down copyright offenders and put an end to their crime sprees. The consumers on the other hand argue that their actions hurt nobody, that there is no damage done to anyone by their not buying an album. Furthermore, they claim, MP3s allow them to sample a CD before purchasing it, thus actually helping sales.
Why Do Music Lovers Still Prefer to Buy Records?
In the late 1940's, the 45-RPM record replaced the 78-RPM record. The 45 was smaller, less breakable and could be made and sold more cheaply. Despite these advantages, it took ten years before the 78 became obsolete, and in the meantime, record companies sold their product in both formats. In 1982, the major record companies introduced the compact disc, which offered a smaller size, "perfect" sound, and less likelihood of damage in day to day use. As the compact disc offered a much larger profit margin than did the long-play record album (LP) the record companies were eager to rid store shelves of records once and for all. Given that the 78 lasted ten years after the introduction of the 45, it seemed likely that the LP would be gone from the market by 1990. The expected disappearance of the LP never happened. Despite the efforts of the music industry, music fans and collectors not only continue to buy records today, but sales of records and record-playing equipment are on the rise.
Guitar Facts: A Glossary of Terms
It is said that the forerunner of the guitar, the lute, was created by the Greek god, Apollo. In India, it is believed that the sitar, another stringed instrument from which the guitar is descended, is sacred to the goddess Saraswati. And one of the most popular tales about the guitar is the story of how it was pressed into service to play a hymn of praise to Jesus Christ at a Christmas Eve mass when the organ of the church broke.
Making Music As A Lefty
Author Interview with Ryan Thomson, seacoast New Hampshire resident, and author of a new book advocating left handed violin playing by lefties. - Playing Violin and Fiddle Left Handed.
Music licensing can be a very confusing subject. My intent with this article is to give you enough details on what music licensing is and what are your rights to use music in advertising and / or video productions. A few months ago I was contacted by a company that was celebrating 20 years in business. They wanted to put together a radio commercial that highlighted their celebration. Their request was to use Kool and the Gangs song Celebration in their radio spot. I explained to them in order to do this they would have to obtain a licensing which would cost them quite a bit of money. This was not an option for them due to their limited budget and ultimately they told me that they "went another direction" with their advertising. If I had agreed to use this song without obtaining a licensing I would have put both of our companies at risk. It was not worth the risk just to make a sale. Beware that there are unscrupulous production companies that will do this type of illegal activity so the best protection you have is knowledge. The copyright law protects writers of music by giving them exclusive right to their music. Once a piece of music is under copyright protection it is illegal to use it without getting permission to the owner of the copyright. There are actually two types of copyrights in the United States. One is the actual copyright which is denoted with the familiar C with a circle around it. This protection is for the actual melody, lyrics and arrangement of the music. The copyright is usually owned by the actual artist that wrote the piece or their publishing company. The second form of copyright is the actual recording itself. This is denoted by a P with a circle around it. This protection covers the performance of the song caught on tape or digital media and released on CD or other media. Many times a record or production company will own this performance right. If you want to use a song in a production, you need obtain a Master Use license from the owner of the copyright and a Synchronization license (often called a sync license) from the owner of the performance of the song. The fees for synchronization licenses vary greatly. Low-end TV usage (music is playing from car radio in a scene) can cost up to $2,000. In a film, the fee may be as high as $10,000. A popular song is worth more, possibly $3,000 for TV and $25,000 for film. A song used as the theme song for a film might get $50,000 to $75,000. Commercials can get even more money. Fees for a popular song can range from $25,000 to $500,000 plus per year. The typical range for a well-known song is $75,000 to $200,000 for a one year national usage in the United States on television and radio. I think you will agree with me that that is allot of money and usually way over budget for many video and radio productions. To get around these outrageous fees, music production companies sell buyout music. When you purchase a buyout CD you do not need to obtain a licensing to use the music. You can use the music hassle free and at a much lower cost. Buyout music or royalty-free, as it applies to my products, means that for your one-time purchase price, you can legally use the music in your productions for life of ownership. All copyrights of the music remain with Zebra Music LLC. My jingle licensing agreement allows a protected area of 200 miles. By doing this no other companies in a local market will have the same jingle. Many other production companies offer a similar buy out music licensing. I would advise you to read the licensing agreements with other production companies and ask questions if you have concerns. Network broadcast and international broadcast of buyout production music is cleared through a performance organization (like BMI or ASCAP). The revenue that these songs produce when they are aired is paid directly from broadcast station licensing, NOT from you as a producer. These performance organizations then in turn pay each artist based on the amount their song or songs were aired on the radio or TV. I hope this article has cleared up any confusion or questions that you have had about copyright and music licensing.
Guide to Finding Music Online
Are you frustrated because finding your favorite songs on the net has become more of a chore than an enjoyable activity? Read this simple guide to finding music online and your troubles will be out of mind before you download your next Green Day hit!
1959 Stratocaster Vintage Guitars
Mid 1959 Stratocaster vintage guitars have a slabrosewood fingerboard with white "clay" positiondots. The fingerboard radius of this Fender guitaris 7.25". The bottom fingerboard is flat. VintageFender Stratocasters made July 1959 and afterbasically will have rosewood fingerboards. Theneck now has a very thin "D" backshape, by theend of 1959 it gets even thinner.
The Gong - An Instrument Everyone Can Play
What exactly is a Gong?
Piano Lessons For Adults: More Fun, Easier, & Faster Than Piano Lessons For Kids
Piano lessons for adults is generally LOTS more fun than it is for kids, primarily because the only adults that play piano are people who really want to, which is certainly not true of most kids that take piano lessons because their parents want them to.
Beginning Clarinet: The Very Start
Like starting with any instrument, beginning clarinet is a process of learning that involves both great achievement and the occasional setback. However, if the beginning clarinetist follows a few tips relating to clarinet care and clarinet playing, the success is sure to outweigh the setbacks.
The Death-Defying Warehouse Party Life: An Interview by William of Orange
About an entire local music industry that's rarely heard from, briefly navigated by a remote being that coalesces, rarely, around music scenes and their absurd atrocities; published by "The Stranger" weekly newspaper of Seattle, WA.
Piano Playing and Performance Anxiety
I'll never forget the first time I played the piano for an audience.
If Seals Can Sing, Why Cant You?
It sounds like a side show, doesn't it? It does to me. But it's true; researchers have discovered that some varieties of seals really do sing. Indeed, male leopard seals have been heard singing complex melodies in their lonely search for a mate. Likewise, male Weddell seals, which are a very social creature, lure their mate by improvising original melodies the way a master musician would in front of an audience.
How To Play Guitar Like a Pro!
Having taught the guitar for many years, I see the majority of beginners experiencing the same problems and making the same mistakes over and over again in their quest to learn how to play guitar. It's my job to steer them through these problem areas.
What is Music?
That's a fair question!
Be An Organized Church Pianist
Playing in front of a congregation each Sunday is no easy feat. Make sure you are well prepared before giving your best for God and before others.
How to Download Music From The Internet
Most of you have probably heard of the RIAA's quest to crush online music piracy. The illegal sharing of copyrighted songs via the MP3 format over the Internet costs the music industry billions of dollars. This is conventionally done using illegal file sharing programs like KaZaa and iMesh. This article explores the legal ways to download and enjoy music from the Internet.
50 Cent G Unit
His lockjaw delivery makes him look as gangsta as Marlon "the Godfather" Brando, but 50 Cent is no actor, folks. In fact, his unique articulation has to do with a hole in his jaw, the result of having taken a bullet in the face (along with eight other shots taken to the rest of his body). He managed to defeat the odds by leaving the street hustle behind before it was too late, transforming his life of crime into a profession in rhyme. Whether rapping about the streets, the clubs, or even certain candy shops, 50 has quickly emerged as one of hip-hop's most dominant and talked about superstars to date.
Growing and Keeping Loyal Fan Support
Fan support for musicians is a two way street. You make the music, release the CDs, and play the shows. You need fans to show up at the gigs, buy the CDs, or spread the buzz about you or you don't have an audience. When these two elements are out of balance, your musical endeavors can get sidelined.
Alternative Sales Sources for Your Music
Following, is a list of alternative sources that may be interested in carrying your music for sale for their particular clients and customers, if only they were aware of your music.
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