Rapping is not as popular as it was back in the ’90s although it still has a fairly large dedicated following. Becoming a rapper is fairly easy, there are plenty of people who call themselves rappers although they have never had a paid gig in their entire life, on the other hand becoming a successful rapper will be a challenge. A lot of people who know how to rap, just do it as a hobby, very few take the plunge to make a career out of rapping.
You can become a rapper with no money by promoting yourself on social media, it is free and if you are a good rapper you will have a large following in no time. In addition to this, you should focus on rapping at local events, even if they do not pay you. Once you have some social media following and your name is known at least locally then it is only a matter of time until you will sign your first record deal.
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If you know how to rap, and you are confident in your singing ability then my suggestion is to take the plunge and start working on your rapper career. Most singing genres have their own echo chambers, and getting into their respective echo chamber is fairly difficult, for example, to become an opera singer you will have to have several degrees and even an internship. The best part about rapping is that anybody with skill can make it.
Rap music has changed a lot during the past couple of decades, only a couple of decades ago, rapping was all about real life and getting out of poverty, and most rappers sang about the day to day experiences in the hood. Nowadays rapping is all about the bling and opulence, and honestly speaking there is very little talent in the rap scene, so you will have a lot easier time making a successful rapper out of yourself than you would have had only a couple of decades ago.
There are plenty of rappers who have come from poverty and made it big like 2pac, Notorious, and even Eminem. When you take a closer look at these rappers they have one thing in common, they started from nowhere and elevate themselves to international fame, most of the old famous rappers haven’t released a song in decades, yet people still refer to them when they talk about rap. As a rapper the one thing you will absolutely need is to find your voice, I will not go into much detail as I have already written an in-depth guide so check it out How to find your voice? ( Top 11 Methods ).
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Don’t chase the money as a rapper
A lot of beginner rappers are mesmerized with all the money they could make if they become successful. The problem is that if you are chasing the money then you will take shortcuts to make it as fast and possible, basically what you will do is building a sandcastle when the tide is low, sooner or later all your work will be washed out to the sea. There is a lot of money in the rap music industry, but so is in the music industry in general.
What I am trying to say is that if you have a day job do not quit just yet, I personally know rappers who after a couple of paid gigs they quit their job and wanted to focus on their rapping career, and all of them failed because they have taken the plunge way too fast. Getting a couple of paid gigs is good but instead of making yourself money, you should first focus on making a name for yourself. There are plenty of rappers who make money with paid gigs without becoming famous internationally if you want to know what are your options then check out my recent article How to make money by singing ( Top 27 Methods ).
Becoming a rapper only a couple of years ago was fairly difficult as you didn’t have a lot of options on how to promote yourself. Back in the day’s rappers would make promo tapes and send them to different radio posts and music produces in hope that they will get noticed by somebody. Luckily for you today, you can use social media to promote yourself and to make a name for yourself. The bigger the social media platform is the better your odds are of getting noticed.
A lot of people will tell you that in order to get noticed on social media you will have to use some fancy high-tech equipment to record yourself. This is far from the truth, people can and will notice if you are a good rapper no matter what the quality of the recording is. Just pick up your smartphone and start rapping, upload it to social media and see if people like it. One thing to keep in mind with social media is that you will have to post fairly consistently, if you upload only one or two of your recordings do not expect miracles, on the other hand, if you keep uploading for 6 months regularly then you will get some following. If you want to make some cover songs then my recommendation is to check out my recent article How to do a cover of a song on YouTube? ( In 11 Easy Steps ).
If you want to be a rapper with no money then stand out of the crowd
Being a good rapper means that you can sing in tune and correctly. A lot of people will tell you that you have to be naturally talented to become a rapper, this is not true, with hard work you can easily beat a naturally talented singer who doesn’t practices like you do every day. If you are a rapper and you are not sure that you sound good then you have to let other people hear you rap, and by that, I don’t mean your mom and granny.
Just upload to social media some recordings on how you rap, and you will get some feedback, some might be funny, some helpful and some mean, just take them with a grain of salt.
Use word of mouth to become a rapper without spending money
Word of mouth can easily elevate you to the status of a local celebrity, but what you have to keep in mind is that you should be known for being a good rapper rather than to some other unrelated stuff. A lot of singers keep their singing as a secret hobby, and not even their close friends do know that they like to sing, most of the times they do this because they are not sure if they have a good voice or not and they do not want to be judged by anybody.
One of the easiest ways to get the ball rolling with word of mouth is by rapping at social events and at parties. I can already see some of you rolling their eyes and saying to yourself that “I don’t like parties”, well, in this case, how are you going to be a successful rapper if you can not even sing in front of your friends. Just keep it simple and short, make sure that you rap at the appropriate social event, so don’t be making beats and raps at your grandma’s funeral.
My personal recommendation is to rap at parties, just do not overdo it as there is a fine line between good rapping and cringe level rapping, if the audience doesn’t like it then you can make a joke out of it. In case they like it you will probably get invited to other parties in the future, and sooner or later somebody is going to invite you to sing at a local club, and this is how you make a name for yourself without investing even a dime.
Hang out at a recording studio where other rappers are
I have only added this because I see a lot of websites saying that you should hang out at local recording studios in order to learn the multiple aspects of rapping and even recording. This was fairly common a couple of decades ago, as there were a lot of people setting up small home recording studios and some of them have even made it big. The problem today is that anybody who has the money to invest in a professional recording studio works with artists and they do not have the time to “hang out”.
Know how the music industry works for rappers
If you want to make it big as a rapper, without spending any money then you will have to know everything about how the music industry works and know what are your chances of making it big. The problem is that most rappers love to rap but they hardly ever know what it takes to be in the music industry, they keep singing the same old beats for years, hoping that they get lucky one day, which for most people will never ever happen.
Get better at rapping
You can always get better at rapping and singing, the problem is that most rappers do not actually focus on getting better, they would rather get famous as soon as possible no matter what. There is big competition in the rapping scene, you will have to stand out somehow from the crowd, and the best way to do it is by improving at rapping. The good news is that most people who rap do not actually have a good voice, this is why almost all of them sound the same, almost like they are barking rather than singing, so take advantage of this and get better at rapping.
Freestyle rap to get noticed
Freestyle rap is also known as rap battles are a great way to get noticed and to make a name for yourself. A lot of rappers love to freestyle, the problem is that most of them do not actually use their freestyle skills in front of a crowd, there is a big difference between freestyling in front of your friends and freestyling in front of a crowd of strangers. Your main goal as a freestyle rapper is to entertain the crowd which will be a lot harder than entertaining your friends, but with some experience, you will have no problem entertaining a crowd of strangers.
Plan for success as a rapper
One thing that will help you out at the beginning of your rap career is to plan for success. Not a lot of rappers plan for success, and even the successful ones became famous either because of luck or because of the amount of money they have invested in their careers. As a rapper, you will have three stages which you have to achieve, get your name out, get a following and the last stage is where you are actually getting paid for rapping.
Be consistent as a rapper
No matter what industry you work in if you want to become successful then you will have to be consistent. A lot of rappers quit way too fast, they either upload a couple of their raps on social media and hope they get lucky, or they don’t even rap in front of others and expecting that somehow they will become a successful rapper one day. As a rapper you will have to work every day, I know that most of you do not have enough time, but even one hour a day practicing rapping will be still better than nothing.
Learn the rapping business
Rapping is business, and it is big business, although you are probably rapping because you love it, but once you are starting to make some money from rapping then you will have to treat it as a business and the biggest asset in your business is you. The branding of your business will also become your persona and you will have to know how to manage both your business and your brand.
How to become a self-made rapper
If you are at that point in your rapping career where you had a couple of paid gigs, then you might get approached by some record labels large or small. Most rappers at this point would think that they got their lucky break and they are only one step away from being famous and extremely rich. They probably got it right at the being famous part, but as for money you will see only a couple of nickles, and for a lot of artists, their career as a singer will actually end at that point.
The problem is that the music industry is all about profits, once you sign with a recording label they basically own you, they can change your style of singing and how you are perceived as a rapper. Basically, if the next big thing is country singing then you might be forced to sing that, and that would be the end of your career. The music industry churns and burns thousands of singers every year, most of them are not focus on long-term investments and want to make as much money out of you as fast as possible.
Use free beats for rapping
One problem with which I see many rappers struggle is that they don’t have money to invest in beats or that they do not have the time in learning and making beats. The truth is that you do not actually need to pay for beats, especially in the beginning. My recommendation is to make cover songs and you can simply skip the part of making unique beats. If you are at the point where you also want to make your own music then you can either find free beats only or you can hire an artist to do it.
Rapping at local events
Rapping at local events is a great way to get your name out, as long as you do not expect any money in return for your rapping then you will have no problem rapping at a lot of local events. Most rappers will not want to rap at local events if they do not get paid, although this is normal for rappers who already made a career from rapping but for new rappers, this would be an excellent opportunity.
Most local events do not have the budget to pay you, even the ones that do will only pay you a couple of dollars. On the other hand, most organizers will allow you to sing if you do not want any payment, as they will have to fill in the gaps between paid performers.
Become the master of rapping rhymes
One important aspect of rapping is the rhymes with which you can come up, some rappers have a natural ability to come up with rhymes while others will struggle for a while. If you are a beginner rapper and you do not know how to make your own rhymes then try reading some poetry and listen to hip hop actively. Everybody has the ability to come up with rhymes, and the more you focus on rapping with rhymes the better you will be.
Hang out with fellow rappers
If your friends are also into rapping then it will be a lot easier to become successful, although you can still do it alone but it will be more difficult. The main reason why you should hang out with other rappers is that you will actually get better as a rapper. If you only practice rapping alone in front of a mirror then you do not have a challenge, on the other hand, if you make a rap battle with your friends then you will have to become better in order to beat them.
This way you will not only improve your rapping skills but it will make you come up with lyrics extremely fast, especially if you are doing freestyle or improv rapping.
Stand out of the crowd
As a rapper, you will have to stand out of the crowd in order to get noticed and to become successful. If you look at the rappers today you will notice that almost all of them go to extremes to stand out from the crowd, the problem is that most of them look the same, and instead of standing out of the crowd they become the crowd. Basically, at this point, most rappers look like the desk in your high school with all the tattoos on their faces.
There are two types of rappers, the ones who stand out of the crowd due to their amazing rapping and the ones that stand out because they look like a clown, so which one you would rather be, hopefully, the one that stands out due to their amazing rapping. I mean just look at the successful rappers from the ’90s and compare them to the ones today.
Practice rapping every day
One of the most important things which you can do as a rapper to make yourself somebody in the rapping world is to practice. A lot of rappers do not actually practice, they either freestyle or rap once in a while when they feel like it, but with only one hour a day of practicing you can become a lot better. My personal recommendation is to practice with the goal of actually getting better at rapping as there is no point in practicing the same old song which you already know how to rap.
To become a rapper you do not need any money or any university degree, all you need is passion and the above tips. Arguably to become a successful rapper you might also need some luck, while this is true but if you are a beginner rapper, you should not base your entire rapping career on luck. As a general rule, if something sounds too good then it probably is, so do not jump in the first record label opportunity you get, there will be plenty of better opportunities.