So you want to be a rap superstar? Join the club. You and a billion others share the same delusions. You’ve been spittin’ your little corny bars to your homies who got you believing you’re the next (fill in the blank) so you think you’re about to blow up. You got FL Studio, Garage Band, and an old mic so you’re now working on a mixtape and telling everyone that you’re what the game’s been missing. Wake up lil’ homie! Here are 6 reasons why you’ll never make it as a rap star.
1. You have no talent.
Just because your friends big you up doesn’t mean you’re good. They’re just as clueless as you are. After all, they think Chief Keef has skills so how can you trust their opinion. Find yourself one honest person who’s not afraid to rain on your parade to give you the reality check you so desperately need. You might find that you’re better suited for a career as a comedian rather than a rapper.
But let’s say that you do have talent…
2. You don’t study the art of rap.
You may be able to name the top 10 rappers in the game right now but do you know anything about those legendary artists who paved the way for your favorite rappers? How can anyone take you seriously if you don’t take pride in your art and dedicate yourself to learning as much about it as possible?
But let’s say you’re taking the time to learn about those who came before you…
3. You don’t know a damn thing about the music industry.
You think that having your music on SoundCloud and a video on YouTube is going to help you get discovered. You think that getting your mixtape on DatPiff is gonna bring you thousands of fans. You think that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the best way to promote your music. C’mon son! You’re embarrassing yourself. You’re going to have to learn this industry by reading, researching, networking, getting advice from people who work in the field. No one is going to put you on or hook you up with a deal overnight.
But let’s just say that you’ve done your research and learned everything you possibly can…
4. You don’t have any money to invest in your career.
You’re going to need the services of professionals to help you package and promote your music. Do you have a budget to mix and master your album? Do you have money set aside for a publicist? Do you have the means to pay for a professionally shot video and photography? Or were you just going to trust one of your homies who can’t even spell his own name to become your “manager” and handle all of your business? And please don’t depend on anyone who tells you that they’re going to invest in your project. You’re a nobody and no legitimate investor is going to put up money for your pipe dreams. You better save up your own paper if you mean business.
But let’s just say that you do have a budget to invest in your career…
5. You don’t have the discipline to stick it out.
There’s less than one chance in a million that you’ll become successful as a rap artist. The field is saturated beyond belief. You’re going to go through thick and thin on your journey to pursue this almost unattainable goal. You may lose friends. You’ll waste time and money. People will make you empty promises. You’ll feel like giving up. You’ll see a side of people, even those closest to you, that you never imagined possible. And through it all, you got to be willing to stick it out to eventually achieve your goal. Do you really have what it takes to go the distance knowing that you may never reach your destination?
But let’s just say that that you do have the determination to move forward…
6. You’re competing against millions of other rappers who are hungrier than you.
The numbers are stacked up against you. At any given time, there are about 20 rappers who are at the top of the charts, exactly where you want to be. With millions of aspiring artists around the nation all competing for the same few spots, the chances of you making it are slim to none. You have a better chance of becoming an astronaut!
This may be harsh but I’m trying to help you out with a dose of cold, hard truth. The music industry is not for the weak. And if it sounds like I’m trying to discourage you, that’s because I am. There are way too many people trying to get into the industry who have no business in it. The last thing we need is yet another dreamer wasting time chasing something that will undoubtedly prove to be in vain. Do yourself a favor and stay focused on your education, get a career, have a family, and live happily ever after. And stay the hell out of the rap game.
(I promise to be more positive in my next article! )
Sebastien Elkouby is a Hip Hop Culture historian, freelance writer and award-winning educator. Check out his educational program, Global Awareness Through Hip Hop Culture and his blog, SebIsHipHop.wordpress.com. For more info about his services, contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @SebIsHipHop (Although he rarely uses it!