I Established rappers can afford to be lazy and relaxed but you can’t, you’re not there yet (you must be aware of the hit rap "you rappers should fix up your life by M.I Abaga"). I have listed a couple of things that a lot we upcoming rappers are guilty of;
Mistakes upcoming rappers make
1. Poor lyrics
As an underground/upcoming rapper with a relatively small fan base you cannot afford to be lackluster with your lyrics. I have seen and worked with friends who used to rap deliberate gibberish, they would have a full verse of sentences that don’t make any sense when put together.
I felt it was okay as long as it/we sounded good. It could work at the moment but we’re going to get called out pretty soon, and embarrassingly too.
I observed and established that, "Hiphop is not for the weak and for you to hold you own you’ve got to be deliberate with the things you say. You need to know that your lyrics will outlive you for a long time. So why not take your time to write it".
Don’t head to the studio without a verse and end up delivering whack freestyle. Write your bars, not everybody is a freestyle rapper.
This, I had to figure out.
2. Not defining a genre
When you’re starting out your career you need to represent a specific genre. Without an area of specialization, you’ll be very difficult to recognize. Even your producer may not understand you.
This does not mean you can’t be versatile, it simply means you need to have a musical signature, something that you are most known for. Listeners should not have a problem categorizing you.
Big names can afford to stray into other genres and make experimental albums but that’s because they already have a trademark and a loyal fan base, you have none of those.
So spend time now developing the side if your game. It feels really bad when you spend your data to download a rap mixtape only to find that the songs are made of pop and reggae. I wouldn’t want to make the mistake of downloading that artiste next time would I?
3. Spending too much energy on trends
Trends are seasonal and will come and go in no time. I know it is wise to maximize the opportunities presented by a trend by creating music for the purpose.
But Its really stupid to build your whole career structure in a Trend. Media attention moves on really fast and you stand a risk of getting forgotten when everything about you represents the past. Do you still want to do a panda cover? How well can you promote it?
If you’re going to invest your time in a trend then do it timely and effectively. When a song becomes a hit, you should do a cover for it while its still hot.
Imagine building your work on the infamous “Oga at the top” incident that rocked Nigerian news space in 2015, your work would be obsolete by the time you’re reading this.
If you have a unique style, put more effort in promoting it. Become the trend that other people want to copy. Good music cannot die and you know that.
4. Being too selective
When you are starting out fresh, you need to put your head down and accept as offers as you can provided they comes your way. You need them more than they need you and you’re going to be using them to your advantage because it’s an opportunity for you to get exposure.
I’m not asking you to undervalue your work, I’m asking you to maximize any opportunity to your advantage. Its understandable that you want to work with big names.
You could get lucky to have Ice prince in your mixtape, but be careful because you might get carried away by that false feeling of achievement. Do not refuse the opportunity to do a collab with smaller local guys.
Having ice Prince on your song is not a guarantee that you have made it, he has done songs with many other guys like you.
A collaboration can deceive you, you can spend a lot of money trying to get a top artiste to drop a verse on your song. Or you can use all that money to promote your own singles.
Think about it, a lot of artistes don’t blow up from big name collaborations as most hits are made by upcoming acts. Ice Prince’s Oleku featuring Brymo is a good example. No one knew both of them before the song.
5. Focal topic
Your songs should have a focus meaning as an upcoming rapper, without this you might have a branding problem later. You first album or mixtape should announce your character more than anything else.
I’ll explain, in Nigeria there are too many artistes doing the same things. Someone might decide to start copying your style and that’s not your fault. But your depth, rhyme patterns and wordplay will remain yours.
Personaly, am glued to the sounds of M.I Abaga because of the depth of his lyrics...
You can have hits without having a focus topic but you could be better placed for relevance if you are known to have a focal point. This is the branding problem afro pop artistes like Biggiano and MP had. Praiz has love for the girls, Young six possesses an annoying god complex and Timaya’s got his enemies. Yet everybody loves Ice (Ice Prince Zamani)
Before you begin to think of taking giant steps in your music career, you should be sure that you have had a substantial amount of experience as an independent artist. You shouldn’t consider a tour when you don’t even have an EP to your name.
So don’t make hurried moves, stay calculated and thoughtful. The hard truth is this, your music is your responsibility. No one owes you anything so take care of it independently.
If you can't fund your music career yourself, nobody will. Don't allow the pride of calling yourself a celebrity could you. Get a job, learn a trade, invest in a legal business. I bet you even that big name artiste you want to hangout with has a business, some sold plantine(Timaya), some halked sachets water/pure water(Pantoranking), some were domestics or casual staffs (Don Jazzy) and only a few were given millions as start up capital (Davido).
You must do what is needful to make it happen for you.
I am Chidike Edmond (Eddy Ice), and this my vibes.
Download: Reasons by Eddy Ice(A poetry in mp3)
1st Track (Hey Mama) drops soon...