Rapper 101: Your express route to making millions
ESTABLISHING YOUR BRAND
Don’t ruin your street credit with a weak name. If a word or phrase embodying your lifestyle doesn’t come to you, try adding ‘Lil’ or ‘Young’ to your initials or incorporating your favorite number or symbol into your name. If you’re still stumped, give this formula a shot: the street you grew up on + your favorite candy. Examples: Colfax Nut Roll, Arapahoe Kit Kat. Even if it doesn’t make sense, run with it and never back down. Note: don’t shy away from different stage names; with multiple personas, your fans can pick and choose which one of you they think is the dopest.
Let a city call to you. Whatever it turns out to be, represent that shit. No matter how big you get, never forget about your local fan base. Some artists wouldn’t have made it to the big times if it weren’t for repping their cities; Nelly had St. Louis and christened his followers the St. Lunatics. Try to avoid choosing big cities like New York or L.A.—the competition for claiming turf is too crazy and you need to stand out.
Make it in the movie biz. If Ice-T had “New Jack City” and Ice Cube had the “Friday” franchise, you’d do well to name yourself Ice-something and start showing up to some auditions. All you have to do is talk gangsta, look gangsta and feel gangsta. Show ‘em what you got.
Start a Twitter war. Pick an opponent, someone you can burn and continue taunting—just be sure your beef doesn’t put you on the wrong side of public opinion. And don’t threaten: just push some buttons. Let ‘em know their rep is being called into question and that there’s a new rep in town.
PICKING YOUR POSSE:
Your posse is a cult that that everyone else will worship. Pick a name that’s irresistible. Remember: your boys are the newest crew on the scene—and you’re their leader. Dangerous sounding nicknames are always a good way to bolster everyone’s authenticity—or at least ensure people won’t question it.
Don’t pick famous people or up-and-comers. If your posse consists of people who are more attractive, harder or more talented than you, you run the risk of being overshadowed by your crew. Stick with average street kids with no ambition and you’ll always be on top—even if you’re not on top of the charts.
Let your posse crash at your place. All day, every day. You’ll get sick of them, but you need to stick with them as long as you’re making music—they’re the backbone of your image. Luckily you live in a 15-room house that has a guesthouse by the pool.
If they want to make a record, let them. Your fans will see that you are the one to listen to, and it’ll make you look like you know what you’re doing. Just take it from 50 Cent, who knew his G-Unit wasn’t going anywhere without him. He never let any of them rise above him; he just stood his ground and kept the pimp hand strong.
WRITING A HIT SONG:
You are awesome. And everyone else thinks you’re awesome, too. Your new hit should reflect how incredibly awesome you are. Embody the rap mindset: me, myself and I.
Find a sick beat we can dance to. Make people want to shake that ass, as well as back it up. This should be one of your ultimate goals as a rapper. Then when you flow over your new hot beat, people will get even more hot and bothered. Soon, you’ll become known as a panty dropper.
Don’t try and be Dr. Seuss. Just start rhyming words with anything that sounds similar—even if it doesn’t make sense. Soon, you’ll be rapping in your sleep and Seuss will be rolling in his grave.
Find another dope M.C. to back your sweet ass up. When you’re dropping your new shit at the club, a featured homey can help take your single to the next level. Call up Tyga for some help with insightful lyricism.