This article will help you learn what you need to know to kick-start your rap career with a good first song.
We’ll go over: (jump to any part by clicking on the links below)
How to count bars
Pin point the beginning and the end of a bar, by recognizing the repetitive manner of the instruments played.
1. Recognize the repeating musical pattern, by listening closely to the instruments.
2. Pin point the start and the end of this pattern.
3. Then dissect it in 4 equal parts and identify the instruments being played exactly on those 4 points.
Once you know that, you can write your lyrics within the limits of the bar.
Examples of Bars
In order to clarify the concept, we’ll go over a few beats and I’ll tell you where is a bar starting and ending on each of them.
The instruments here are very well defined. You have a drum and a snare. The bars are:
drum snare drum snare-(1 bar)
drum snare drum snare(1 bar)
The bar starts at 0:11 and ends at 0:14. You have drum and hat. The bars are:
drum hat drum hat-(1 bar)
drum hat drum hat-(1 bar)
The following methods will help you learn how to count music faster.
1. Find an Instrumental
-Browse through Youtube for “Rap Instrumentals/beats” or go to various beat providers and play a beat from their selection.
2. Feel the Rhythm
-If you don’t know anything about music theory, don’t worry. You don’t need it right now. Just feel the tempo and the feeling of the instrumental.
3. The 4 Beats
-Recognize the 4 beats and count them out through each bar, until the instrumental ends.
1. Choose one of your favorite Rap Songs
-Browse through Youtube and find it.
2. Find the Lyrics to that Song
-Google “[Song Name] Lyrics”
3. Order the Lyrics
-In most cases, the lyrics would be written in a disorderly manner, meaning that their actual position on the instrumental would be different from the way they’ve been displayed on the site.
Your job is to write them down correctly, so each word is placed on the right beat. For example, the lyrics of Biggie I found on one side were written as:
“Also known as the bon appetit
Rappers can’t sleep need sleepin Big keep creepin”
While the correct placement, once you hear the instrumental is:
“Also known as the bon appetit Rappers can’t
sleep need sleepin, Big keep creepin”
This would be a great practice for figuring out how to count music, as you’d have to identify the 4 beats and the words that are placed on each of them.
1. Find an Instrumental
-Browse through Youtube for “Rap Instrumentals/beats” or go to various beat providers and play a beat from their selection.
2. Write one full bar, which starts from beat 1 and ends on beat 4.
-An example of this would be “This is one full bar and I will write it so you see”
3. Move the beginning of that bar.
-Instead of your bar starting on beat 1, why don’t you start on beat 3 and have it spill over.
This will help you learn the spots of the beats.
1. Find an Instrumental or a song you like
-Browse through Youtube
2. Count out how long is the song in terms of bars/couplets/quatrains/verses.
-Just listen to the beat and count your bars. Figure out how long (how many bars) is the first verse, how long is the chorus, how long is the bridge and so on.
Here is another exercise on counting music that I have done as an example
The exercise is consisted of:
- A Rap Song
- The Lyrics to the Song
The trick is that the lyrics that you’ll be provided with, are not written with the correct bar structure. Meaning that the bars are messy and written with a different length, than the actual bars. Your job is to:
Reorganize the bars, so that they have the correct structure
If you know how to do this, you have to know how to count music, since you’ll be able to figure out which rhyme word is on which beat.
2. Raw Lyrics(Messy)
This shit is wicked on these mean streets
None of my friends speak
We’re all trying to win, but then again
Maybe it’s for the best though, ’cause when they’re seeing too much
You know they’re trying to get you touched
3. Correct Lyrics(Ordered)
This shit is wicked on these mean streets None of my
friends speak We’re all trying to win, but then again
Maybe it’s for the best though, ’cause when they’re
seeing too much You know they’re trying to get you touched
As you can see, all of the bars start with the correct word and all of the rhyme words are on the right beats. Remember that each bar is 4 beats. What I just did was a quatrain-4 bars.
Now It’s Your Turn!
2. The Lyrics(Messy-Start of 2nd Verse)
We used to fight for building
blocks Now we fight for blocks with buildings that make a killing
The closest of friends when
we first started But grew apart as the money grew, and soon grew black-hearted
Try to re-order this quatrain in the correct way, where all the bars start with the correct words and the rhymes are on the right spots. Listen to the track, count the 4 beats and locate the words accordingly to what you hear.
If you are still finding it hard to understand, just watch the following video. It is explaining the concept in a very simple and easy to grasp way.
How to create and present the main topic for your song
Well, this is easier than you’d think.
The first thing you need to do is asses the emotion of the instrumental.
Once you know the emotion, you can tie it to a topic, which you can relate to. For example:
The energy of the beat is anger. You can think of someone/something which made you feel that emotion recently and just write about that. At the beginning of the process, all you need is a short phrase or a pointer, which can remind you of your main topic.
One of your friends insulted you in some way and made you feel angry. This is your main topic.
Now, just like a mind map, all you need to do is divide the topic into many pieces.
- Why did he do that?
- How did he make you feel?
- What did you do?
- What did you want to do?
- How did the others react?
This works with any topic. Get the main idea and then dissect it, so you can have material for all the elements of your song.
The Next Step
Once you have that, assign each signpost to one of your elements.
On the first quatrain, I’ll talk about how he made me feel. On the second quatrain, I’ll talk about what he did.
Once this is done, you need to go into a creative mode. Don’t analyze no more, just look at the guiding phrase and let your pen go. This way, you can have great logical progression in your lyrical structure, plus the creative genius of writing bars as they come along.
Staying On Topic While Writing a Rap Song
It’s a matter of focus, backed up with a system, that prevents you from losing it. So, we’ve all been there-you write one bar, then look at the last word, think of a rhyme and carve up a second bar which doesn’t relate to the story at all. For example:
I love being with you honey
When I pee I think of money
Of course, that’s an extreme example, but you know what I mean. There are a few methods of fighting this tendency.
Method 1: Write about something that fills you up with a powerful emotion.
If you write about a subject, or a topic which is really close to your heart, something which is still bubbling in you perhaps, you don’t have to worry about losing the focus of argument, because the feeling will navigate it without your conscious control. For example, when I was writing “Forgiveness”, I had an initial argument, but at one point I just said screw it and left the emotion to write the song.
Method 2: Carve your argument structure and follow it.
By an argument structure, I mean the things you’ll talk about within the frame of your song. So if you have 3 verses, assign a topic to each verse and a sub-topic for each quatrain. This way, you have 4 bars to write about something and even if you go off-course for a little bit, there’s always the next sub-topic, which gets you back on track.
How to Write My First Rap Song
Embrace The Feeling
If you’re writing a song for the first time, the first thing you have to accept is that you’re depending on feeling and not on techniques.
This is because you wouldn’t have any experience or expertise in writing bars, while your feeling is so strong that it made you want to write a song.
So You Gotta Depend on the feeling.
Write straight from your heart. It might not even be in rhyme form, just spit it out, expressing everything you’re holding inside of you. So, the first step is to write a block of text, guided by your emotion, for example:
“I don’t know what to write here, but I will continue moving my hand, up and down, up and down, am I masturbating, no I’m not, I’m writing and I love it. Life is one big spectacle, where you come to create, perform and once you’ve played your part, you’re out of here. Let’s do this right, don’t stress bitch, don’t stress. “
The Second Step is Syncopation
Once you have it written, you can turn your sentences into bars, by first evolving them to a version with syncopation. Syncopation is pretty much putting rhythm into the mix.
You can change words, add words and really play with their stressed syllable, so you can churn out something reminiscing of a rhythm, for example:
I don’t really know, what am I supposed to write here. But i’ll keep on going as im moving my hand, up and down, am I masturbating, no, I’m not.
Okay, you can do that with the whole text.
The Third Step is to Make it Rhyme
Once you have the words flowing, change the ending of your sentences, so they rhyme with the next sentence. Then you can say you have you bars done. So, this would look like:
I don’t really know, what to write on this flow, you watch me
go, move my hand am I waxing hell no
This one had a bit more rhymes in it, but the rule of thumb is to keep the meaning of your sentence, but replace the words, so it rhymes. There are no restrictions here, so change whatever you feel inspired to, but remember – don’t sacrifice meaning for rhymes, because then it just becomes a rhyming exercise, rather than a song.
The Fourth Step is to Introduce Some Structure to Your Bars
After you have your bars written, look at your instrumental and figure its structure. How long is the verse slot, how long is the chorus slot. Cut or boost your bars, so they can fit in these slots. You gotta know how to count music ye?
Just count the 4 beats of the bar and then add the number of bars there are in each slot, so choruses are often 8 bars, while verse slots can be anywhere from 8 to 16.
Once you know the number, you might have to add a bar or two, cut some, or just change their places so they fit.
There You Go, You Have a Song
It might not be a technical masterpiece, but it’s full of emotion, it flows well, it rhymes and it has a clear structure.
Those are the basics of a rap song. Over time, you’ll gradually add new things and improve the overall process, but if you’re able to do the basics for your first song, I guarantee that it would end up as something to be proud of.
How to Start Your Rap Verse the Right Way
1st. Dazzle them with technique
The first way you could get a good first start is to try to think of the most insane rhyme pattern you can.
This works, because your focus shifts from “what should I say” to “how can I rhyme this better” and the latter is much more liberal in terms of creativity.
Once you have your first couplet written in an intense rhyme scheme format, then your self-judgment on “saying the right thing” will be diminished, allowing you to write freely.
2nd. Draft it out
The second way to start a verse is to first write down your argument on a piece of paper, in the form of sentences.
When you have that, then you can look at what you’ve written, change what you don’t like and only after that, proceed to transform it into a bar with rhythm and rhymes.
So, just play the beat and start writing your thoughts on a piece of paper. Don’t put a filter on them, whatever comes-jot it down. Then look at it, evaluate your arguments, order them so they follow a structured train of thought and then start writing your bars, based on that argument draft.
3rd. Understand why you can’t start
In most cases, we don’t know how to start a verse, because we want the whole thing to be perfect, right from the start. You want the meaning to be intricate, the rhymes to explode, the rhythm to be on point – I mean everything!
Well, that doesn’t happen right away man. Realize that if you want all of those things, you have to write, then evaluate, change, improve, then write again, then remove something and so on. That’s if you want everything to be perfect, it takes time. Even after that, you can still find something to touch, I’m telling you – you can definitely make yourself crazy over that. If you’re really serious about a verse and you count on it to get you somewhere, you have to do rewrites, no question.
If on the other hand, you want to write directly from your heart and don’t care that much about making everything perfect, just start with the first word that comes to mind and go from there. For example “rich”. What phrase can you think of that has “rich in it”?
Rich is my favorite color. Okay, then you write a bar, complimenting that phrase and let the flow of ideas and associations guide your lyrics. Just let go of the control and let go of the expectation that there is a “perfect verse”.
There isn’t man, that’s art.
It’s not an equation which needs a solution and boom, you solved it perfectly – great job young man. No, that’s music, it’s feeling, it’s energy. Whatever comes out, as long as it carries the right energy, you’re good.
Going in deeper into the idea of starting strong..
Have you ever noticed what you do when you see a new song for the first time? What do you actually do, when you’re checking it out for the first time?
We can conclude that the beginning is very important. If the rapper doesn’t “win you over” within the first quatrain, you’re more than likely to stop listening and move the the next one.
The average process of playing a song is:
1. Press play
2. Wait for the introduction and feel out the beat. If the beat matches your current emotional state, you let it play.
3. Then you listen to the first couplet.If you like it, you keep on listening. If you don’t like it, you press stop and never feel like listening to anything from that specific rapper anymore.
The Golden Rule
The first couplet/quatrain is the golden time.
That’s the place where you have to capture the listener. That’s the time when you have to gain his trust. The time when you have to shock, make him laugh or impress him with your intricate rhyme scheme, so he sticks around.
The first impression is everything in music.
That’s the time-your window of opportunity. From those two/four bars, the listener decides whether or not he likes your voice, your style, your flow and his overall perception about you is formulated within those first seconds of your song.
I see so many people making the mistake of not paying the needed attention at the start of their song.
Some of them feel like the song should progress and grow in complexity and story-wise, that’s why their first bars are always quite simple and less than remarkable.
You might find this working against you, because most people don’t care about you and if you don’t give them a reason to keep listening after that first couplet, they won’t waste any extra time on you. The upside is that they’ll forget your song as soon as they move to the next one.
So make sure you pay attention to the start and make extra effort to create something spectacular.
It’s very important. Show as much of your skill as you can in that short period of time and captive them. Think about how YOU listen to songs and you’ll see the validity of my argument.
The actual title of the song is important too.
Not as important as the first couplet, because if your song is well-made, people wouldn’t pay that much attention to its name. I can call my next song “I have sex with muppets” and it still wouldn’t matter if the song is good.
Having said that, if the title is intriguing, people would be interested. If it’s something unique and out of the ordinary, people might get curios.
How mainstream rappers write their songs
There are so many different ways of flowing on a rap beat and all of us are doing it differently. It all depends on the preferences we have, but you have to agree that there are some rappers, that flow better than others.
What’s their secret?
The biggest difference between the rapper with a great flow and the rappers with a bad flow is the way each of them connect with the instruments on the track. It’s all about the intensity of their connection with the melody and how well do they fit in the whole arrangement of sounds.
The problem is that when you’re trying to put in the words, the contact between you and the beat is lost, since you’re engaging your mind. It’s not intuition and feeling no more, it’s which word fits here, which word fits there. They have to rhyme, where should I put the rhyme. How will it sound good and so on..
This is the skill, which separates rappers from rappers.
I know people, who’ve been rapping for many years, but still find it hard to connect with the beat, therefore, find it hard to get the audience their music deserves.
I recently watched an interview with Kanye West, where he showed his creation process. I was simply amazed at the method he used. Never seen anything like this before. It was both obvious and genius at the same time. Powerful, yet simple to do. Check it out.
Did you see how he does it?
He simply plays the instrumental, goes in the booth and starts scatting. He records the session, then plays it back and by closely listening to his scatting, he picks the moments where his flow was at it’s best. Then writes his argument and fills in the words.
This way of recording is something new. Recording yourself scatting, allows you to exploit your musical intuition. It’s very hard to think of a good flow, good rhymes and a good argument at the same time. One of them will falter.
The best thing to do is to divide your production methods in stages.
One stage for the flow, one stage for the argument, one stage for the rhymes. That way, you’ll be able to concentrate on each one of them. Focused attention is the mother of perfection.
So, why don’t you try this method?
All you need to do is:
- Choose an instrumental.
- Set up your recording gear.
- Press play and record your scatting over the beat.
- Review and pick best parts.
- Arrange them in verses
- Think of your argument and put in the words.
That’s it. Kanye West surprised us again. He deserves so much respect for being himself. This method of recording is just an example of his bravery to be an individual. I’ve personally tried this method and even though it’s hard to get used to at first, when you get to the third song, you’re starting to see the hidden gems in it.
How to keep the balance between flow and lyrics
This is a very common problem for people, who are just introducing themselves to this technique. They focus on one aspect and forget the other. It’s absolutely normal and you can be sure that you’re not the only one going through this.
If you don’t want your lyrics to sound emotionally crippled, make sure that you pour out your feelings out on paper first.
Write it the way you feel most comfortable with. It can be full bars with just one rhyme, it can be just bars with no rhymes in them. It can be bullet points or bits and pieces from your thought process. Depending on how your brain works, the method of recording what you really want to say would be different.
After you have your core body of work, full of emotion and brutal honesty, then you press play on the beat and scat. Get familiar with it.
After that, create a musical skeleton. The length of your bars, where would you pause and so on. How do you feel that it should flow? Use a rhyme scheme diagram for a draft version of your skeleton.
Once you have the feelings packed lyrics and the feelings packed skeleton, all you need to do is re-word the lyrics, so they can fill up the skeleton correctly. Try that and see what happens. Your problem was that you’ve forgotten to note down the actual meaning of the song.
Remember, it’s layer upon layer upon layer.
How to avoid writer’s block and fixes for when you have it
Recently, I just received a comment on the Facebook Page from Travis Burgard saying
“I wrote 470 verses in 7 months and past few weeks i stare at page for hours and nothing hits idk what to do!”
I felt the urge to answer his comment by writing a whole article, since I understand the fact that he’s not the only one fighting the writers block.
It’s an inevitable time period, which needs to be passed by every up and coming rapper. Many of us put a negative connotation on it, eager for the time to pass, not recognizing the opportunity presented to us.
First of all, let’s talk about the biggest factor, which leads to Writers Block.
It might be on a conscious or a subconscious level, but once it enters your mind frame, your desire for rapping and the pleasure derived from doing it, will eventually begin to disappear. You can recognize that you’re bored by examining yourself for a number of symptoms.
1. Lack of Content
You’ve been rapping about a particular subject for quite a while now. Eventually, you get to a point where you don’t feel like you have anything else to say.
What you wanted to express, has been expressed and your tank is empty. Ideas are not flowing like they used to and you feel that the subject is dead to you.
Look at Old Content from Another Angle
Look at your subject matter from another angle. Change the perspective. Change the feeling and you’ll get ideas flowing again. Maybe you can keep the feeling, but change the situation.
If you’re rapping about your personal problems, keep the feeling of struggle in, but change the angle of the content to “The People’s Struggle”. Now you can talk about your countries problems, or the planet’s problems.
Same principle goes on for all types of contents. Keep the feeling, change the setting.
2. The Feeling is Not There
Sometimes, the reason for your block might be that you have no emotional attachment to the content matter.
Simply put, you don’t care anymore. You’re no longer angry, you’re no longer feeling as relaxed as you felt while you started writing this particular content. People change and you’re no different. The factors causing that mood are gone. You’re in a different emotional state.
Write About What’s Interesting To You Right Now
What are you interested in right now?
What issue is bugging you at the moment? Is there something happening that you feel shouldn’t be happening? What are you feeling? Is there a new idea occupying most of your attention? Write about that and you’ll then be able to evaluate where is your interest and what inspires you.
If your family is going through a rough time, it’s impossible for you to write how great life is, or how good you are at rapping. You simply don’t care about that anymore, since you’re having real issues going on.
3. Got used to the old way of rhyming
The cause might be simply a call to evolve your rhyme schemes and techniques.
Cure-Change it up
That’s great, because it shows your progress.
-Include those internal compounds
-Morph the singles into compounds
-Look for new ways to rhyme, by listening to other rappers.
Remove Any Writing Restrictions
Most of the times, writer’s block occurs when you’ve placed a restriction on yourself. When you’re trying to write in a particular way, in a particular box.
For example, you saw that someone got huge returns from writing a funny song, so then you say: OK, from now on, I’ll write funny songs like this guy. I will write just the way he writes, so I can have the same returns he gets. It doesn’t work like that.
When you try to put a limit on your writing scope, you just add another layer of thought in your brain. You might not think about it consciously, but subconsciously, it’s there.
Once you start writing, you’re asking yourself-is this really funny? Does it measure to the standard I want to be writing at? What is the standard? What should I write then? The questions pile up, while the page remains blank.
The best way to write is to really let go. If you’ve been writing for a while, you know how to pour your heart on that piece of paper. It’s the same dynamic, when I’m writing these articles. I simply let go and write from my subconscious, letting the words flow.
“When I decide to write a story, I don’t think too much about what I want it to be, I just let things come naturally and this is how it turns out. It’s just how my subconscious works.”
I don’t consciously control what I’m writing. It’s just being written. So, the first thing you can do is simply remove all the restrictions you’ve imposed on your writing and start writing from your soul. The thing which comes out at first might be rugged, but over time, it flourishes into something very beautiful. Let go.
Write About Something Unrelated
I’ve used this cure many times and you can say that it unplugs you. If you can’t write the lyrics for your song write now, that’s okay. Take another piece of paper and start writing straight paragraphs about your day, your girlfriend, your family, something which is bugging you. Anything on your mind, just pour it out.
It will be much easier to write such a thing, because you’ve been thinking about it in your mind for a while, so putting your thoughts on paper won’t be that hard. Once you get it started, you’ll realize the freedom in your pen. You’ll realize that you can now write from the subconscious, letting it take over. Feeling that sensation, get back to your lyrics. I guarantee that you’ll find it easier to write.
Writer’s block might happen when you’ve forgotten the actual structure and flow of a written piece, whether it’s lyrics or essays. You’ve forgotten the flow. Go on youtube and play the songs of your favorite rapper. Get his lyrics and read it. Get lyrics and read.
This will get you on the right track again, because it acts as a guideline as to how lyrics should look. You don’t have to emulate it, but just give your mind a taste and watch how it gets hungry to write. Read the lyrics and then get back to your own creative endeavor.
What if you’re writing a private song that might offend some of your family members?
First of all, the truth is the truth, no matter what anyone thinks about it.
If you decide to tell the truth about an event or a person and someone gets angry, it’s the person getting angry that has issues to deal with. This is because the truth is a constant and if you get angry because of it, you cannot accept it.
Rap is all about expressing yourself, so if you always have to think who would this or that offend, you’d unconsciously put a limit on his own creativity.
Rap is about writing your thoughts, just as they come, as real as they come. Art is the freedom of expression, so the only thought that you should “be careful what you say” is limiting and will damage your rap career in the long run.
Write From The Heart
I think that you should write from your heart and if that offends someone, it’s meant to be.
Another reason for this is that listeners often respond to raw and honest bars, rather than politically correct ones. This is because the raw line corresponds to the unresolved issues of the listener and the honesty and boldness with which they’re being said, gives him(the fan) a feeling that:
- Someone understands him
- Someone is going through the same thing
- Bravery and honesty show character
- He can relate to someone
People Relate to Bars From the Heart
Songs are full of emotion if they’re done from the heart.
The truth is stronger than anything, so no matter who likes it and who doesn’t-it’s the way it is and trying to hide what is or what was shows lack of acceptance, unresolved issues and an under-developed spirit.
I recently wrote a song which addressed the three people that hurt me the most throughout my life. I went through the same question “How would they react?”. Then I told myself that I won’t disregard my opinion and my truth, just because someone might disagree with it.
The two easiest ways to remember your lyrics
We’ve all been through it. Maybe you want to record without reading the lyrics, or you’re about to perform live. Either case, you need to know your lyrics by heart. Here are a few techniques that can help you.
There is no way around it. If something is to be memorized, it has to be repeated continuously for a prolonged period of time.
The science behind repetition is all about neuron connections.
When you’re learning something, your frontal cortex is fully engaged. Once you start to repeat it, you begin to form new neuron connections and after a while, you have a network of neurons, which is responsible for the information/skill you just learnt.
Then, that information is transferred to your long term memory, freeing up your frontal cortex for the next new thing you want to learn. That’s why if you’ve learnt how to do something when you were a kid, you can still do it with ease, even if you haven’t practiced it for a long time.
Techniques to Remember your Rap Lyrics
Once you know that repetition is the key, you can branch out and tailor the process to your liking.
This technique is straight forward and relies on your mirror neurons.
Omitting the science mumbo-jumbo, all it means that if you look at someone carrying out a task, you can mirror him and learn how to do this task much faster. What you need to do:
1. Write your lyrics on paper.
2. Record your song, while reading from the paper.
3. Play the finished song and rap along.
4. At first, rap along while reading the written lyrics.
5. Then, try to look less and less at the paper.
6. After a few repetitions, you’d be able to rap along without looking at your lyrics.
Memorize Separate Chunks
Trying to remember the whole song all at once is almost impossible.
Be strategic about it and divide it into smaller, easy to digest parts. For example, chunks of 4/8 bars, just the 1st verse, just the chorus and so on.
In order to memorize the lyrics, just put that specific chunk on repeat and focus on the lyrics. After a while, you’ll be able to recite it without a problem.
When you feel confident enough, just go to the next one. Once you’ve gone through all of your chunks, combine them in a gradual manner. First recite the first two, then three, until you’re able to rap the whole song, without looking at your written lyrics.
Two cheap ways to test your rap song
We all have produced songs, which didn’t meet our expectations. We thought they would blow up and create a buzz for ourselves, but they flopped and didn’t do anything. Have you ever wondered why? Today, we’ll go over two ways, with which you can bullet proof the quality and impact of your song.
1. Do a dry recording
The first step to bulletproofing your song is to dry record it.
What is that? Well, after you’ve written the verses and the chorus, in most cases you rehearse it a few times and then go straight to the studio and record it. What you can do is right after you’ve written the lyrics, get a microphone(it can be the cheapest one) and record the whole project at home.
Then you can hear how it sounds. Then you can critique your own work and fix up the bad sounding places.
You can do the trial and error method until you’re satisfied with the song’s quality. Only after you’ve tweaked everything you felt necessary, you can go to the studio and record it, knowing how you should rap exactly, knowing how it’s going to sound good.
The dry recording will save you a lot of money too, because knowing what you want to do exactly would cut back on the studio time.
2. Have a test group
In the business world, they call it a focus group.
What you do is, you find a few people, who aren’t afraid to be totally honest and objective about your music. Be very careful when it comes to selecting the right people. Choose brutally straight-forward and honest people, who are not afraid to tell you when something is wrong and are glad to tell you when it’s good. This will ensure the quality of your feedback.
So after your project is finished, send it to a handful of people and ask them for their feedback.
Do they like it? Do they dislike it? What do they think about it?
Ask them questions and find out what’s right and what’s wrong. 50 Cent did this on his site thisIs50.com.
He posted a song over there and then monitored the feedback of his fans. If it was good, he started distributing the song to the other mainstream media channels. If the feedback was negative, he pulled it out.
Never release a song without having a clear picture of it’s future performance. It’s like being blindfolded. Don’t take any shots in the dark.
Three DIY ways to producing your first music video
The moment you decide that you’re ready for your first official release, a couple of issues take root. You need content for a great song and a video complimenting it. Adding visuals to your song is a sure way to increase its views, but how do you get to do one if you don’t have the money?
Videos nowadays are quite expensive and some rappers grow hesitant as to whether or not they should invest in a video. In this article, I’ll give you a few options, which will cut the cost of your new video and help you get moving in the right direction.
Why is it so expensive
The first thing you have to understand is why the video is so expensive. From the looks of it, it’s just a camera, lights and a guy recording you. Well, the most expensive aspect of a video is the actual editing part. Music video producers make mad money cutting scenes and adding effects to your production.
So the first step is learning a thing or two about video editing software. I recommend PowerDirector. Even though you have to pay for it, you can look around and find it for free. Just read some tutorials and learn how that software works. You don’t have to be the next Tarantino, but just learn how to cut scenes and add some effects.
The reason you want to do this is so you could edit your video on your own. This will cut your costs in half. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not that difficult, once you get the hang of it.
Before you start a project like that, just browse around the thousands of videos produced by high quality teams. Watch Jay-Z’s videos, Eminem videos, the best of the best, and just observe their techniques. Look how the video has been cut out and get an overall feel as to how you produce a video for a song.
How Can I Do It
I will tell you the easiest and cheapest way to plan your production. You have your song right? Ready for radio, now you just need a video for it. What you need to do is divide your song into quatrains or verses. For example, the first quatrain, you’ll be rapping while driving. The second quatrain, you’ll be rapping from the hood of the car. The third quatrain, you’ll be rapping surrounded by your friends and so on.
So what you need to do, is plan your production before hand, by segmenting it into parts. Okay, you know what would be shown on each quatrain, now you have to organize the people and the technology behind it. After you’ve imagined it, you have to make it real.
You can hire a professional operator, who’ll get the shots you need. Although this is not cheap, it will get you great quality videos. You have to think of the camera, which is the most important piece of equipment you’ll need.
I would recommend something along the lines of Canon SX150(which costs around $100). This is a preview of it’s resolution quality.
Another option, would be the Canon Rebel t3i(which costs around $500). If you get this, the quality of your video will be almost as good as the official industry standard. Check out the resolution, it’s crazy.
If you can’t afford it, you might try to rent it from someone. If you have a friend who’s big on photography, ask him if you could use it. Offer him some money in return. That’s a better option, relating to using a professional renting company, because they’ll likely be charging you more for it.
If you need lights, you can rent them out, that’s not a problem. After you have the vision, the camera and the lights, call up on the people. Try to call as many people as possible and still retain the original vision. If you put more people in your video, it’s more than likely that they’ll share your video with friends, simply because their face is on it.
Okay, you shot the whole thing and now you go home, having all those files on your camera. What do you do?
Since you have the vision of how you want to whole video to look, you just import the segments to your computer and piece them together with the video editing software. You can get fancy and add some visual effects, but that’s only if you feel it will benefit the quality of your video.
After you’ve put together all the pieces, boom, you have your very first video. It won’t be an award winning production, but it will just do the job.
So, what did you learn from this article?
-Dissect your song by quatrains and allocate the suitable visual for it. When you have a visual allocated to each segment, you have the overall vision of the video.
-After you have the vision, get the equipment. Canon SX150($100) and Canon Rebel($500), rent out the lights if needed.
-Call out the people. Get the operator, get your friends or anybody else, which was in your overall vision for the video.
-Go to the places and shoot it.
-Get back home and piece all the segments together with a video editing software