Over the years as an independent artist there are a few things I’ve seen people do and that I have done myself that guarantee success. In an age where almost everyone raps it’ s not easy to have voice by simply throwing a reverbnation link.
The clicks on your music is disturbed by the other independent rappers that people have clicked before that didnt sound as good. Being reviewed in a local blog may boost your hits but since most Zimhiphop blogs do nothing except hype the song as long as it’s reviewed. People no longer buy the opinion. However here are a few steps. Break them at your own
1. Make Good Music & Have A Song With A Renowned Producer
Make good music with quality mastering. Don’t rush through a minimal quality 16 track album when you can do 2 quality singles with some of the most renowned producers. While you may want to promote your homeboys/girls who make better beats. These guys are renowned because they have produced quality and expect to pay more. When you’re now famous ( since you will now be a renowned artist), put on for your local homeboy.
2. Perform & Make Use Of The Exposure.
While I always blast at getting “exposure” it can be a tool if you get it right. If it were not for Synik’s perfomances at Mashoko; a lot of people would not know him. He already had used exposure to get famous; he used step 1 to stand out better because the Beta Version; his demo had good lyrics but poor mastering.
Perform at open Mics keep a few cd’s with your quality singles. Give a few useful contacts present at the show; its like your resume. Ask the audience to follow you on twitter and pass around a mailing list for with numbers and emails.
You may email them or text them in time for your next song or song release. You can get bulk sms from sms.co.zw
3. Have A Website Or Blog
Have an informative website or blog. It must have a page that shows your weekly posts, a contact page and links to your social network accounts (facebook; twitter; google plus). A page with your musical history is needed and optionally a video or photogallery page will do much to boost your image. You may use Blogger or WordPress to create a free blog; both are upgradable to your own domain name if you hate to see the .blogspot.com (like I do).
For starters; see if you can manage a free blog before you can pay for one. A blog will make it easier for people to find out about you and for you to do your press releases. You may also embed a music player and email collector on the side bars. It did wonders for me a while back. It works.
4. Build Relationships
Most fans of independent hip-hop are other independent artists. In fact they are the ones who will share your link. So identify other independent artists on twitter and facebook. Visit their links and review them via inbox. Usually they will return the favour.
Make sure your review is genuine. Share ideas; promote them. Those who don’t return the favour will naturally fade out of your circle and you will begin to meet artists who aren’t self centred.
Suppose you are in hip-hop and would like links with artists in Ghana. Go on twitter and type the keywords #hip-hop #ghana a lot of results will show and you can check out these artists pages: tweet to them what you think. Naturally they will tweet back till you follow each other. They will also be glad to hear your music.
If they don’t ; it’s okay keep going. Win some and lose some. You may also get relationships with dj’s and key people that may give you a portal to mainstream media or a local paper.
Remember radio stations, promotion companies, event venues are run by people like you and I. It’s not a secret you get special preference when they are your friends.
5. Have An Image
Now I have seen many independent artists that try to pursue multiple images in one album. Track one is about vanity, Track 2 is about gospel, Track 3 is a rapper badly trying to put a raggae feel…. You call it diversity but it does not work.
Let’s look at succesful musicians so that my point arrives.
50 Cent – Gangsterism and Money
Drake – Addiction to Fame, Women
Pusha T – Even the name should tell you he’s about cocaine, heroine, money and drugs
They don’t try to reach everyone. They reach a certain niche. People who want Christian Rap will listen to Lecrae. If Lecrae tries to be diverse by doing a party song about crack… He will lose his Christian audience and the club banger audience will find him unfamiliar.
I know one person is a lot of things. You have love songs because you have loved; party songs because you have partied. Be you and align those into one theme only then will you find loyal fans.
Or do seperate albums to represent your different personalities.
6. Be An Opinion Leader
Whatever your image is; there are always current happenings locally and around the globe surrounding that image.
If you are a social commentary rapper and speak for the ghetto; if in that season there is so much talk for example about power cuts. Address it in your music.
You cannot be a conscious artist if you do not research what going.on in your community or in the news; mainstream and underground.
You cannot be a bling rapper and not know the slang that is trending. Subscribe to a blog that tells you what is going on around your topics of interest and even when you dont write music about it. Post it online.
Your core audience will appreciate it be sure they followed or liked the same person. That’s why Lecrae writes Christian posts that his audience will share. Make sure your posts are profound
These tips will take you places if you practice them. It is one thing to know them and it is another to put them into action. Please subscribe to our website we share poetry, independent hip-hop insights and reviews.