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1. You’re NOT a Rapper

Of course it’s your profession, but it’s not who you are. You may spend 11 hours a day in the studio, but it’s just a means to an end.

Before you got on, you may have told people you were a musical artist, but that’s because it was cooler to say than “Subway sandwich artist.” Now that you’re a professional rapper, tell people you’re not a rapper. Life is all about being a step beyond your peers. You’re a hustler, or a preacher, or a revolutionary. But you’re not a rapper.

2. Focus on How You Look

Before you write anything down or even call a producer, figure out your look. That’s what’s important. What aesthetic are you going for?

Ponder what you want people to think when you walk into the room. Do you want people to think “how long did it take to put those jeans on,” or “is he about to ask us for change?”

Note though, if you decide to get tattoos, find an artist and put them on speed dial. You’re going to need a new tattoo at least every three weeks. Get a “fuck the world” one, get a “loyal” one, and then prepare to be unpredictable. One week, you might want to get artwork of the latest Black celebrity to pass away, the next week a random algebra equation.Maybe you could even be inventive and get a crossword puzzle one.

Also, if your aesthetic is “a gettin money nigga” you’ll need to carry a stack of $1000 bills with you everywhere. Be prepared to throw them on the floor and prove they’re all $100s on demand.

Your look is more important than anything else as a rapper. It’s truly all that matters these days. All you have to do is look whatever part you want to play, and as long as your label markets you right, you’re in!

3. Use Black people as a bridge

Black people will be your first supporters, so for a time, support them back. Speak on the issues afflicting your race. Make pro-Black records, reference victims of police brutality, and maybe even take a picture with Farrakhan. Whatever you do though, don’t blame anybody, and never, ever utter the words “white supremacy.” Why?

Once you start to achieve a modicum of success, you’ll need to think about your crossover. Most of your Black fans will support you no matter what you do, so appease a new audience. Try not to even talk about race. If someone asks about systemic racism, deflect the question. Better yet, ponder whether your race will ever learn to love itself first.

When asked about police brutality, speak on Black on Black violence, because that’s what really matters. Find yourself some white friends, maybe a white producer, and show the world that racism is in the past. Tell people if you can be a Black millionaire with white women willing to show you “affection,” then oppression is a myth!

This will help with your Blog friends by the way, because if you start speaking frankly on race and white privilege, you’ll make them uncomfortable and lose them. You don’t want to make them upset, because all lives matter.

Tell your people they need to stop protesting for the end of mass incarceration, Black predation and the capitalist system that depends on it and jump in front of some Crip-Blood bullets. Tell them to go outside and smack their neighborhood drug dealer, or else they really don’t care about making change. I mean really, what about Black-on-Black violence?

4. Keep the Blogs On Speed Dial

Who else are you gonna call when you and a rapper peer decide to contrive a subtweet beef? Who are you gonna call when you just recorded an instagram video threatening said peers life? Who are you gonna call when you need to blast the “truce” record you and your peer made over drinks and laughs at duping consumers?

There’s so much music out here, people barely know where to look. Why would they choose you? Because you have a message? Because you’re “real?” Try again.. People don’t want to think for themselves. Most fans have a couple trusted outlets they get all their music from, and you have to be on there to even be a blip on their radar.

Find the “taste-makers” who runs these sites and kiss their ass. Never, ever call out their content no matter how dumb or racially unaware it is. When they call you to do a video interview, say yes. You know they’re going to purposely make the interview awkward to highlight your low class upbringing, but don’t punch them in the face. You need them.

If they like you, they’ll give you a 8.28908908 album rating no matter what.

5. Focus On Your Partner’s Girl

Look at your engineer and his girl one night, talking all sweet on the phone. She may even be in the studio rubbing his back, or giving him encouragement. One night, after a late session, you’ll start talking about life with him, and he’ll probably talk about how happy he is with her. He’ll say she’s the best thing that ever happened to him, and a whole bunch of other sweet talk.

While he’s talking, just nod politely, tune him out and think about nothing else but her in your bed. Think about showing up to the studio dressed to the T, him going to the restroom, and you and her sneaking away to vacation in the South of France. Think about how crummy he would feel that the love of his life is with some rapper who has millions of adoring women fans, but wants his girl.

Why? Your guess is as good as mine, but other people’s girlfriends is what you need to be focused on.

It’s all about the bag. Don’t worry about rest until your first major health scare.

Fuck sleep. There’s marathon studio sessions to be had, clubs to take pictures in, bottles to be popped (in the view of a camera), and Insta-groupies to be used by. Most importantly there’s money to be made. The bag! How are you gonna live it up 24/7 if you’re wasting 8 hours a day? The world is your oasis of hedonism my guy.

aIf you’re ever questioned about your lifestyle, just talk about how staying up for the bag tonight is more important than being 81 years old. Who wants to be an old, washed nigga anyway? Your fans will respect that. It’s about the bag. The bag. The bag.

Pour up, roll up, turn up. But you might want to chill once you seize up.

6. Don’t Worry About The Music

As long as you do everything else on this list, you’ll be fine. “Quality,” “bars”, or whatever else no-ass getting clowns talk about all day is irrelevant. Who wants to be a lyrical miracle riddle-rapper in 2016? They got no bags, fam.

When it comes to making music, just mimic someone else I guess. Who? I don’t know, shit you want me to think of everything for you? I told you about the important shit.

 

Andre G is a freelance writer, poet, music producer and co-founder of ColorTheFuture.org, a platform for young artists of color. @melaninaire