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    How to Make It In The New York Rap Scene

    Navigating The New York Rap Scene

    Rap is now officially the most popular musical genre in the world, and if you have talent, there’s a chance that you could have a career as a rapper. One thing with rap; however, is that it’s incredibly competitive, especially if you’re in New York.

    Rap is a genre of music that’s easy to do, but very hard to master, so you’ll have to deal with thousands of artists in this city alone who want to make it just as bad as you. The rap business is also notoriously treacherous and music labels will try to take advantage of you, so you have to be careful and understand the business side of the music as well. Let’s look at what you’ll need to do if you want to make it in the New York rap scene.

    Make Good Music

    This is the most important part. You might think that anyone can be a successful rapper these days, but most rappers who are popular now know how to do at least one thing right. Some have great production, others understand how to craft melodies, while others are all personality. If you don’t have the kind of personality that attracts people on Instagram, or a compelling life story, your music is what will get you attention.

    This is why you need to make sure that your music is up to par before you even start. The first thing you should do is look for good instrumentals and start recording over them. Then, ask people around you listen to your compositions and look at their reactions.

    If they seem genuinely excited about your music, then it’s a good sign. If they look like they’re trying to be nice, or they flat-out suggest that you do something else, you’ll either have to reconsider a career as an artist or continue working on your craft.

    Find a Producer and a Studio

    If you feel like you have something, you will need to look for beats. One of the best ways to do this would be to go on YouTube and look for instrumentals mimicking your favorite’s producer or artist style. This will allow you to get comparable production for a much lower price.

    You can then directly approach a few producers and ask them how much they would charge for beats. Some will allow you to buy or lease the beat and leasing a beat can be a good option if you only want to get noticed by label heads, so consider this as well.

    Next, you will need to find a New York recording studio. If you’re looking for an affordable New York recording studio where you’ll be able to record freely, we suggest you give Pirate a look. They have some of the best installations in the city for aspiring artists who want something that will give them professional-grade sound for cheap. All their studios are self-serve, so you can go in with your team at any time of the day or night and start working.

    Build an Online Presence

    These days, having a solid Instagram following is almost as important as having talent, so you will need to work on your online and social media presence. You don’t need to have hundreds of thousands of followers, but you need to have some sort of following to show labels that there’s a demand for your product.

    But, before starting an Instagram, you need to have music already published online. Having an Instagram page is nice, but if you don’t have material that you can link people to, it will be a waste. Have a nice website built with some of your music on it and have a SoundCoud and YouTube channel. You can use your YouTube account to post personal videos and bring your fans closer to you.

    Get Active in the New York Rap Scene

    You also need to get active in the local community if you want to get seen and start building a network. Try to attend as many events as you can, whether it’s industry events, conferences, or shows. Try to go to small concerts of artists you like and try to get in contact with them, and always have business cards with you.

    Approach or Work for a Label

    Approach or Work for a Label
    New York City, New York United States – August 29 2021: Spotify Lorde popstar yellow billboard music album advertisement in Times Square with logo.

    Another thing you could do is go directly to labels. Some artists will use guerrilla marketing tactics to get noticed. Some of them will camp around music labels headquarters or radio stations, for instance. This is a controversial method, but it can work if you can do it right.

    The most important thing when doing this is to find a way for people to know who you are as an artist in a split second, as you won’t get more than a few seconds of a music executive’s attention when they’re going in and out of a building. One thing we would suggest is that you have your music playing or even performing right there. If you have true talent, someone might eventually spot you. They might not be an exec, but they could still open doors for you if they have access.

    Another thing you could do would be to ask to work for a label. One of the ways you could do so would be to work as an intern or an assistant. Some labels will ask that you have some sort of credentials to be an intern, but if you have a good online presence and a professional website, some will consider you.

    Consider Going Independent

    Consider Going Independent
    Non-Caucasian African emcee rapping into a microphone in front of concert lights

    You should know that signing for a label is not all that it’s cracked up to be and you could have a better chance at succeeding as an independent artist. If you can build a following, you can start releasing music on your own on Spotify and book your shows. And, if your goal is to be signed, having success as an independent artist is the best way to get a label’s attention.

    This is all you’ll need to do if you want to make it in the New York rap scene. It’s not easy, but if you truly have what it takes, go for your dream, and ask for as much help as you can along the way.

     

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