Becoming a rap music producer sounds like a glamorous job with all kinds of rewards, but you are going to have to master a myriad of different skills and knowledge before you can become a successful rap music producer. Mastering the skills below will set you on the path to becoming a hip hop music producer, but remember that two of the less glamorous suggestions — learning and perseverance — are perhaps the two most important. Both are something every successful hip hop producer masters.
Producing Hip Hop HowTo Guide
Purchase Rap Producer Software – Buy some rap production software like Fruity Loops and begin to experiment with it. Read the instructions, test it, master the basics and then begin to experiment with advanced techniques. Purchase Fruity Loops 7, 8 or 9, as of this writing. If, for some reason, you don’t like Fruity Loops production software, take a look at BUZZ software, MAGIX software, Propellerhead Reason or “Computer Music”. Whichever production software you buy, make certain to test it and master the uses of it. You’ll need to be able to use these tools effortlessly, in order to focus on the creative aspects of rap producing.
Don’t Be Afraid To Learn – Learn from reading books about rap producing and other rap producers. Learn from asking questions of others in the business. Learn from experimenting with your rap production software and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Most of all, learn from your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to admit (to yourself, at the very least) that you made a mistake and correct your future decisions based on that recognition. Just be willing to learn as you go. If you aren’t willing to learn, you’ll never get better.
Study Music Theory – You don’t have to get a degree in music technology to become a rap producer, but you do need to know the basic concepts of rap and the structure of hip hop music. Learn what rap “beats” are. Learn what “song measures” are. Master the concept of sampling and music samples. In fact, read about all the rap music terms are. Get a concept what they are on paper, then get a picture (or sound) of what they are in practice. Learning the theories behind the construction of rap songs will pay off every single day of your career. You’ll be able to get inside songs and understand why certain hip hop songs are more successful than others. Read, listen and study anything you can about rap theory.
Locate Well – Once you know which kind of rap you want to produce, locate to the part of the country where that scene is most prominent. For instance, if you decide to become a “west coast” rap producer, it makes no sense to live on the “east coast”. If you move to where the scene is strongest, you maximize your chances of succeeding in that rap genre.
Network the Business – The rap industry is a “who you know” business, like any other. So network by meeting other rap producers and meet every rapper and DJ you can meet. Make friends and contacts when you can, because you never know where your big break will come from. Also, the more people in the business you interact with, the more you learn about the business. Listen as much as (or more than) you talk and absorb the information you’re getting.
Keep An Eye Out For Talent – Always keep an eye out for new hip hop acts. Another reasons that an up-and-coming rap producer needs to network is you need to spot good young hip hop talent. A newcomer to rap producing isn’t going to produce for established rappers who’ve already had commercial success. That means you have to spot talented new rappers and DJ’s, because these are the people whose rap producers you’ll produce. The more hip hop artists you meet, the better your chances of “getting lucky” and finding the next big name in hip hop. Rappers are important to find, but finding a good DJ might be more important, because you can learn more from them.
Learn To Manage Talent – When you begin to produce rappers and DJs, you’ll need to learn when to tweak their work and when to make suggestions. Sometimes, rap lyrics need improving, to make them better fit into the rhythm of the song. Sometimes, a DJ’s beats need improving or rearranged. You’ll have to get comfortable enough with your knowledge of hip hop to make those suggestions, and you’ll have to develop a talent for spotting holes in a hip hop artist’s art and how to make changes on the fly. Obviously, you’ll have to learn a little bit about human psychology when tackling this aspect of being a rap producer, because you’re going to be dealing with talented and sometimes sensitive artists.
Don’t Get Discouraged – Rap producing is a competitive field. Rap producing won’t make you rich overnight. In fact, you’ll probably have to support yourself for years in some other career while you’re becoming a successful rap producer. You have to love rap production to stay in the business. You also have to be patient and persistent. If you’re in it for the money, you’re in rap producing for the wrong reason. If you expect to become rich and famous and meet a lot of women in a few months, you’re not going to succeed. Approach becoming a rap producer with the right attitude, learn the business from the ground up and prepare for the long haul of hip hop producing.
Studying Rap Music Production
By studying successful rap music production from your field, you’ll learn what makes a successful rap single and a successful rap album. I’m talking about honing your “ear for good music”, because you’ll develop your own ideas and theories about what makes a rap song a good rap song. Figure out which song you like and which you don’t like. Analyse the melodies you like. Get to the underlying reason that a song sounds good. Also, listening to new music in the industry allows you to keep up with the latest trends and the hottest tunes in the rap industry, as well as predict where the trends are likely to lead. Form your own ideas about what makes a catchy song and what makes a successful rap hook.