Well, this article will be all about failure and what you should do, to make sure you don’t go anywhere near it.
The music industry is tricky. The success rate is extremely slim and knowledge on why people fail is vital for those of you wanting success.
1. Your Rap Career is a Marathon, not a Sprint-Never Quit
Many new coming rappers think that all they need to do is drop a song and just watch the number of views increase by the minute. As most of you know, this is hardly ever the case.
You drop a song, you get a few people, you start working on another one, you have to advertise, you start networking and so on. Being a successful rapper doesn’t happen over night.
Some people, expecting that kind of beginning to their “career”, lose hope from the moment they don’t get the first reaction they expected. This is what I call “wasted talent”.
These aspiring rappers might have actually been good. Their flow might have been good, but their lyrics could be bad. Their songs might be good, but they lacked the promotion. Listen, nobody is born a rapper. We all learn and get better over time. Don’t expect any short term success, look at the big picture and don’t lose hope when you don’t have your dream start.
When Eminem dropped his first album, it bombed. Nobody wanted to sign Jay-Z. The average rapper would’ve given up, if he was in their shoes at the time. But they kept on going and that makes the difference. Keep on hustling and it will eventually happen.
2. Technical Issues
Another reason why rappers don’t succeed is simply because they don’t sound good man. It’s that simple. I know that rapping is a pretty complex subject, but the bottom line is that if you sound good rapping, you have a better chance of succeeding.
It’s funny that I keep on watching people who know everything about compound rhymes, metaphors, wordplay and so many other things, but when you hear them rap, they still can’t sync in with the melody, they still can’t count music and so on. People don’t lie.
You will eventually encounter haters, but don’t look at the individual comments. Look at the general tone of your comments-is it positive, is it negative, what is the main issue these people are talking about. They might be right you know.
Some rappers fail because they do not wish to understand that they don’t sound good rapping and when somebody tells them this, they automatically call him a hater. No man, listen to your listeners. Make sure that you’re on point on the technical side of things. Don’t fall from this cliff. Don’t stay on one place. Seek improvement all the time.
3. Lack of Knowledge
In order to be a successful rapper, who is known(at least locally), you have to be the jack of all trades. Like the Shaolin master, who knows all the combat styles, you have to make sure that you know all the aspects that are vital in this music industry.
People who can only rap, hardly make it. You have to be lucky to have a person who will market you, a person who will promote you, a person who will let you know of the opportunities you can use to your benefits.
This is hardly the case, don’t you agree? The reality is that nowadays nobody gives a shit. You can rap? That’s great, I know five other rappers who are just as good as you, so why should I promote you?
You have to be willing to do this by yourself in the beginning, since there will be nobody there. Kanye West did an interview, where he admits that at the start of his career, he and his crew, were the only people who were listening to his records.
You have to get those business skills in man. Knowing all about mass appeal, marketing strategies, playing with controversy, alternative sources of income and so on. People who never take the time to gather that knowledge and develop those skills, are the ones who FAIL. They make a great song and wonder why it’s not hitting as hard as they thought.
Rap is like an iceberg and you have to go below the surface and get all wet, if you want to know how it actually operates. Research the strategies of Immortal Technique. He is an independent rapper, who manages to get a considerable amount of exposure.
4. No Use of USP(Unique Selling Point)
Let me explain this by giving you an analogy. If you sell milk on the market, why would people buy your milk, instead of the milk from your competitors? What makes you different and appealing?
This is a concept that rappers who fail don’t get. If everybody is rapping about money, clubs and girls, of course it’s extremely easy to make a song about that and get an initial positive reaction from the people, simply because that is “the hot product” at the time.
What they don’t understand is that they don’t win followers, they win fans and fans will leave you the moment you slip up and your identity is a secondary matter in the whole process.
When you create a Unique Selling Point though, people will choose you over your competitors, simply because your Unique Selling Point resonates with them. Let me give you an example.
2Pac’s USP at the beginning was his controversy. His audience kept on getting surprised at the charges, the law proceedings, the problems, the jail time and so on. Since he rapped about that fearless THUG mentality in his songs and when people saw him actually doing what he was preaching, he got respect as a real dude.
Plus, it was interesting to watch what he’ll do next. After that, he noticed that his female fans seemed to double up. Maybe because of his bad boy status, maybe because of his six pack, but they liked him. So what did he do? He changed his USP to creating those “lady songs”, making big money. Very smart move. More people would hear his other songs, if he made a couple of songs for the ladies.
Immortal Technique’s USP is to talk about the conspiracy subject. His lyrics are about corrupt governments, faceless corporations, racism, activism and so on. He is being the person who raps about what is happening in the big picture of the world.
You know why he is successful? Well, one reason is that he filled in a niche, that nobody could. There was nobody out there who was saying all that stuff about the government. You see the Occupy Wall Street Movement? You saw all those people?
Well, those people will eventually go home and listen to something. Don’t you think that the politically charged lyrics of Immortal Technique wouldn’t be tailored towards them? Someone who shares their views, hell yeah man, he is becoming their spokesman.
Remember, a niche is when you have demand, but no supply. If you manage to get there fast and fill in that gap, by using that USP, you will reap benefits. This is probably the most important reason why some get famous and some remain nameless.