How to Become a Professional Rapper

Posted: 2014-11-08T01:46:49Z

Rap music, usually hip-hop, has become a world-wide phenomenon. With successful rappers often making songs describing their vast wealth and party lifestyles, who wouldn't want to get in on the action? But more than that, rap is a powerful form of artistic expression that makes music out of the complexity of human language, not simply the human voice. From the profane to the profound, from light-hearted joke rhymes to violent tales of urban struggle, rap songs can be about anything—what matters is writing engaging lyrics and delivering them with style. Becoming a rapper isn't easy, however, and there will be a lot of haters and competitors out there hoping to make you fail. But if you try to focus, make great music, build a fan base and get the right connections, you too can make it big in "the game."

Here are quick ways to get you where you want to be.

Learn to put words together with rhythm, rhyme and patterns of meaning.its most basic level, rapping is reciting rhyming lyrics over a beat, but good raps use a variety of linguistic devices, such as alliteration, repetition and wordplay. Good raps also have a dynamism and flow that keeps the song interesting while also staying on beat.

Write every day. Write about topics you know and care about, but don't be afraid to experiment. Write down any lyrics that come into your head throughout the day, but also spend some time sitting and composing whole songs with several verses, hooks, and a bridge.

Practice, practice, practice your delivery.

Having the greatest lyrics in the world won't get you anywhere if you can't rap them with confidence, dynamism, flow and charisma. Practice rapping your lyrics loudly and passionately, and as much as possible. Try different speeds, volumes, inflections and places to pause for breath.

Study the greats. Listen to famous and influential rap artists and examine their lyrics. Look for the different techniques they use and how they structure their songs. Decide what styles you like and explore them until you have a good understanding of the genre. Learn the references and inside jokes behind many classic rap lyrics.

Get some next-level beats. Every great rap song should have a unique and catchy beat to set it apart from all the average songs that clog the radio.

Record your raps. You can do this best at a professional recording studio, but with a little work you can also set up a recording studio in your home.

Mix some songs. Get your recordings mastered and put your raps over your best beats. Work on your songs until they sound great, adjusting the beat and the vocals until they match seamlessly.

Make your first mixtape. Many people think of mixtapes as collections of songs by various artists that you burn together for your boyfriend or girlfriend. But to aspiring rappers a mixtape is a much like an album, just usually less refined and often distributed informally or for free. Once you have a number of songs you like, combine the best 7-15 of them into a mixtape.

Go to open mic events and rap battles. Get your name out there by rocking your local open mic events. All you have to do is sign up and sing. Make sure you pick events with a hip-hop audience.

Promote your music online. There is a vibrant world of underground and aspiring rappers who share and discuss their music on the Internet. Simply putting your music out online doesn't mean anyone will notice or listen to it—you have to work to promote it.

Book live performances. Ask around at music venues and try to get gigs with a hip-hop audience, perhaps opening for bigger acts. Try to earn some money from these, but don't be afraid to do a few shows for free to get your name out there.

Get a manager. Once you start to get some traction, you may need help taking your career to the next level. A manager can take over some of the work promoting your music, booking gigs and talking to record labels. Just be careful that your manager is looking out for your interests, not just his own.

Collaborate with other artists. Rapping isn't a solitary art—much of the time it is something you do with other people, producers, singers or other rappers. Network and build strong relationships with other people in the industry you meet. Do collaborations with them whenever you can.

Get a record deal—or make it indie! Landing a deal with a major hip-hop label is the dream of most rap artists. A record deal puts a ton of resources and clout at your fingertips and starts you down the track to real fame. However remember that record companies are out to make money for themselves, and sometimes you might be better off starting your own label or partnering with another indie to release your music.