Since the first installment was so popular with folks and because I had a little more to add, I decided to drop the sequel. As I said last time, it takes a lot of courage to put your music out there for the world to hear and criticize, so it’s important that artists aren’t wasting their shot at greatness by making simple mistakes that get their work ignored. Here’s a few more tips to get your music heard by bloggers.
- Show Face – I talked a little bit last time about quality artwork and visuals, but I don’t think I was specific enough and didn’t stress the importance of putting a face to your work, especially if you don’t have a video available. A lot of the artwork I get that comes with songs is totally missing the rapper’s face. It can never hurt to let people put a face to the name and a name to the music and in some cases, the listener may remember you on face as opposed to name or vice versa, so you need to be working to get both out there as much as possible when marketing yourself.
- Production Matters – To keep it 100% honest, nobody cares about your raps if you’re sprinkling them generously over trash beats. Though it’s never been easy to make a good beat, with all the technology available to beatsmiths, a cheap beat or one given to a rapper on the strength doesn’t have to sound cheap. If you’re a rapper, go out and network…aspiring producers need to get their work heard just as much as you need your rhymes heard, so one hand should be washing the other. No need to pay top dollar for professional beats if you just don’t have it like that just yet.
- Relax On The “Hot” Instrumentals – Speaking of beats, get something original…nobody wants to hear you being the 345th random rapper to rhyme over the “Started From The Bottom” instrumental. While I know it’s difficult to find an original and good beat for every track on a mixtape, you can always go left and resurrect a classic track to rhyme over. When you rhyme over a current “hot” track, all people do is compare your version to the original, professionally-done version. Why do that to yourself?
- Accept Criticism…In Fact, Welcome It – As with anything you’re putting out there for public consumption, you’re going to have people that like it and people who hate it…hell, you may not even have people who like it at all, but if everyone likes it, you’re making nothing of substance…and this never ever happens. Granted, sometimes people will go out of their way to be rude and overly critical and hip-hop fans are known for being heavy-handed with the criticism, but if that upsets you, maybe this isn’t the game to get into. Not too long ago, I posted a guy’s mixtape on my site basically because he had some features and production by some of my favorite artists. The next morning, I tweeted that I didn’t care for the guy’s flow, although the tape was good otherwise. No response or thank you for the posting of the tape, but in response to the (for me) very mild criticism, I get “eat a d*ck, f*ckboy”, after which I proceeded to drag the kid for a while, explaining that you don’t get in the game and search Twitter just to take shots at anyone who doesn’t praise your work and not respond with gratitude to people promoting your work for you. This is where I go from just not posting your material anymore to actively speaking about the incident to colleagues and ensuring others aren’t receptive either. Call it petty, but you don’t bite the hand. Bloggers are that hand. Speaking of…
- Don’t Diss The Bloggers – I see this more from established artists, but don’t diss bloggers in your music or otherwise. For the two jerks you’re referring to when you say bloggers are “hating” on you and your work, there are thousands who are posting your stuff and getting it out there to people who wouldn’t hear you otherwise. We’re not all bitter hipsters who don’t like anything. In fact, I don’t post much about what I don’t like as much as what I do, while others will rant and rave about artists they hate. So don’t make generalizations and don’t burn bridges. The world is changing and while I don’t recommend ass-kissing, I do think you have to realize that there are a lot of people that look to bloggers as taste-makers who can either be working for you or against you or ignoring you altogether. You figure out which you want for yourself.
- Be Unique…But Don’t Expect People To Follow You To The Moon – There’s an epidemic of artists who are just weird for the sake of being weird to the point that it isn’t weird at all…just a faddish gimmick. And gimmicks don’t generally have much longevity. There’s an art to abstract, but chances are you’re not the next Raekwon or MF Doom…they’re still being the current version of them anyway. Make sure people can pick up what you’re putting down. Your unique will shine through when you’re being authentic without you appearing in your music video wearing a pink football helmet and footed pajamas. All that’s going to do is make your image bigger than your material.