What does it take to be a successful artist? Furthermore, what does it take to be a successful Rap artist in 2017? Who better to ask than the A&R who signed a whole host of hit making artists including successful Rap duo Krept & Konan, but before we get to that let’s start by taking a look at the fundamentals.
As with any craft you must first master the basics. For a Rap artist this is:
- Live performance
Bars without flow, or flow without delivery is a no go. Most listeners may not be able to pinpoint each element, but you can recognise when the bars are so basic that it has no level of storytelling, paints no pictures, and you feel nothing but for it to stop. A great flow is like a new instrument in the track conveying an emotion and placing importance on what is being said, whilst the all important delivery is where the artist shares their personality with anything from a shouting or whispering style to a slick or cheeky style. Ad libs can also add to how the verse is delivered by creating the atmosphere of the track.
Once the first three elements have been mastered, many times this is honed in playgrounds or on the block without a backing track, next is the ability to ride a beat. I’ve heard rap artists get so caught up in their own flow that when attempting to match it to a beat it sounds like a complete mismatch. The art here is to find Instrumentals that convey a similar emotion to your lyrics, get the mood right and just vibe on the beat. Choose tracks that are right for you. They don’t have to be over produced or something sounding a million miles away from who you are as an artist, just music that shares the emotion of who you are.
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Deb McKoy is the Founder and Consultant at Peppergrain Ltd, London, UK. She began her career as a recording artist, achieving success in the UK national charts before going on to help businesses and individuals maximise their brand.