Five Tips For Unsigned Rappers

By:

What’s gucci, Mike Bigga? It’s your main Animorph (No yeerks), Bauce Sauce, here. Now, I know in the past I ruffled a few feathers with my Don’t Become a Rapper if: A Checklist post, but I wanted to show y'all that I’m actually a nice guy who excels in snuggling. I’ve compiled a Five Music Tips For Unsigned Artists list for your benefit; many of these are inspired by mistakes I consistently see when I’m first introduced to an artist. Afterwards, we can all have some purple drink and play tummy sticks. Peep the five nuggets of wisdom below.

1. ID3 Info

ID3 is the technology used to hide all the metadata into .MP3’s. It’s how Winamp knows the artist is “Lil Sammie” and that the song title is “I Like It.” Among other things, an MP3 can hold the following details about your song: Album, Year, Track Number, BPM, Composer, Comments, Genre, Lyrics and Artwork.

Time and time again I download a song from a new artist’s link and NONE of the stuff is filled out and the title is “UpInDaClub_Master2.” Remember that most recording softwarez (Logic, Ableton, etc) don’t allow you to fill this out prior to bouncing your session. Soooooo…. either open the MP3 into iTunes/Winamp and fill out the information or download an ID3 Tag Editor program, which will allow you to do bulk edits. I’d like to also point out that I’ve seen several major label artists release projects online with the ID3 info messed up, including Travis Barker, Wale and Danny Brown to name a few.

Why is filling out this stuff important? Most people have more than 12 MP3’s in their music libraries and don’t have the time to edit all your stuff. When your song pops up onto their Zune you want it looking all pretty. After all, this is your brand. Take pride in it. AND YOU SPENT ALL DAY IN MICROSOFT PAINT ON YOUR COVER ART!!! BE PROUD!!!

There is no excuse to omit your lyrics if you write them on an electronic device.

Did you know that lyrics show up on an EYEPHONE? Yeah. They do! They scroll across the screen, and it’s awesome! People love to know what people are saying and appreciate their wittiness/poeticism. It’s simple. If you write the lyrics on an electronic device simply send yourself an email with the lyrics included and copy them into the ID3 info. MMMMMMMM kay?

2. Rap Genius

If you weren’t aware, I’m one of the OG moderators of RapGenius.com (the reason I have my LUMENNAUGHTY Union Card). And, as you already know, it is a site that interprets Hip Hop lyrics as poetry. Unsigned artists, especially those who are writing very clever, at least in their minds, punchlines or songs that have a hidden meaning to them, can use this site to upload their lyrics and explain them. I’ve done this for a few of my own songs and have even explained songs of unsigned artists I like: godAWFUL and Kardi. Hell, I’ll even explain your song thoroughly with plenty of lolz and English Major insight on da cheap! But seriously, it’s here to use for free. It’s a great way to engage with and give back to your fans and to easily distinguish yourself/brand from others. USE IT! Plus, we often free promo artists who do a good job of utilizing RapGenius on our Twitter account. Get to work and @ us.

3. Links On Twitter

This should be common knowledge, but I see it time and time again. Make sure to add the http:// before your links on Twitter or they are unclickable. You can’t expect a person to highlight, copy then paste “youtube.com/Ub34n00b” for someone they aren’t familiar with. You have to make it as easy as possible for users to access your content.

In fact, your best bet is to use a service like http://bit.ly that shortens URL’s (crucial for Twitter; it’s all about characters). Furthermore, you can give it a custom vanity url like http://bit.ly/TrackName or something. The benefit of this is to make it look more appealing to users, because then it doesn’t look so much like a random Spam link. Moreover, bit.ly gives you the ability to track and analyze where your traffic is coming from, giving you a better idea what websites and from where your clicks are coming from. Knowledge is power; metrics are king.

Another great idea is put a link to ONE song/video that you want people new to see. People don’t have time to check out your Facebook, BandCamp, YouTube, ReverbNation, Official Website, Tumblr, etc. to find a song to sample to see if they like you. Make it easy for them. Go to your Twitter profile and change your Homepage URL to a YouTube video or MP3 of the song that bests represents you and your brand/movement. If they enjoy it, they will ask you where they can get more.

4. Getting on Blogs

Most blogs have a Submit Page, and any of them worth their salt usually have guidelines for submissions. Those aren’t suggestions that you can either abide by or not. Take the time to get familiar with them and make sure all of them are met. If your submission is on the fringe of maybe not getting posted, a properly addressed/formatted/interesting e-mail may save you. Blogs like mostly junkfood get AHUNNEDTHOWSANDTRILLYUN emails a day. They don’t have time to send reply e-mails like “Hey I was going to post this song but you didn’t attach the….” it simply gets deleted; they shed a thug tear and then they move on. This is usually your first impression; make it a good one. Write a well-crafted, succinct e-mail and personalize it to each blog you are sending it to. Personalization is key (sometimes cajolery works, as well). After all, you are hoping to foster a long-term relationship with them. Try following on Facebook or Twitter. Interact a few times so you can refer “to that time we shared a moment.”

You also want to make sure your music mixes well with the blog you are submitting to. If they don’t post frat rap music and you are considered by most to be frat rap, don’t send it there. Head over to Bro Bible or somewhere and get your shine on, Bro DiMaggibro.

Also, if you really do insist on trying to send an e-mail with a “Yo, I love the blog.” generic e-mail… for the love of god learn to use the BCC: function on an e-mail. Seriously, no blog wants to see 35 other sites you are sending your stuff to.

AND NEVER POST ANY MUSIC TO A BLOG'S FACEBOOK WALL.

I’m only hitting on the big points… For a thorough examination, I defer to the Columbidae Conossieur, Confusion, over at Pigeons and Planes:

Do’s and Don'ts To Getting Your Music Posted On Blogs Part 1 and Part 2.

5. Mislabeling

From Julius Caesar Act 2, scene 1, 28–34:


Brutus:
And since the quarrel
Will bear no color for the thing he is,
Fashion it thus: that what he is, augmented,
Would run to these and these extremities;
And therefore think him as a serpent’s egg,
Which, hatch’d, would as his kind grow mischievous,
And kill him in the shell


If my first experience with your music is being tricked into listening to it, I assume you are a cheating son of a bitch who does not care about the relationship you have with listeners. Mislabelling YouTube videos to trick people into hearing your song or seeing your videos is deceitful. Zipping your album and throwing it on MediaFire and labeling it “Drake Take Care Leak” is downright imbecilic.

All you have accomplished with these tactics is making me feel cheated. Granted, your stuff may be good, but have you ever taken a sip of Sprite thinking it was water and that shit scared you? Sprite isn’t bad; you love Sprite. But when your expectations are set for one thing, it can come as quite a shock when what is delivered is different. This is just bad business principles. I don’t know how many fan conversions you get with this type of marketing tactic, but I imagine it is “very low.” Don’t do this ever. If you ever trick me, I make it my life’s mission to destroy your name and reputation and make sure no one ever listens to you again.

Conclusion

There’s my quick five music tips for unsigned artists. What y'all think? Anything here new to you? Any other suggestions or pet peeves you see with unsigned artists? Or perhaps something you, an unsigned artist, do that has proven to be successful? Leave many comments so that I can feel good about my existence and interact with you.