Negativity in the rap business and commercial strategies: do’s and don’ts

I have been in touch with many artists through the years, mainly for promotion purposes. I have also been an active contributor to Detroit and Michigan hip hop for three years now.
A friend and fellow fan of the Detroit rap scene recently raised the question of the negativity coming from some emcees in particular. I myself have observed a lot of negativity within the Detroit underground rap scene.
This article is aimed at all the emcees who are interested in choosing the right strategy to increase their CD sales.
Most of the negativity comes from a bad jealousy aimed at each other. Everybody claims to be the best. Everybody claims to have the hottest skills and instrumentals. Everybody claims that their rivals are « whack as hell ». First and foremost, I have an important question to ask all of you: « how much realistic is that bullshit? »
If you are that good, how come that you didn’t even manage to get known on a national scale?
First of all, you all need to put your goddamn egos aside and analyze your weaknesses in a very realistic way. Take not only friend’s opinion, but value strangers’ opinion, even if it isn’t that favorable towards your music. This is the best way to stay honest and to have a realistic approach of your work.
Once you will be aware of your weaknesses, you will be able to work on them. That’s the first thing you should think about before running your mouths.
I also noticed that many of you prompt to diss your rivals in order to get some publicity.
In case you are incredibly skilled and you master flow and instrumentals, this sounds ok to me. It can be described as a good marketing strategy.
However, in case you are not that good, please reconsider dissing people.
If you have the lyrical skills of a four year old boy and you spell like a pupil of elementary school, all you will reach is make yourself look like a clown.
Remember Benzino tried to play this stupid game. He tried to get attention by dissing a talented emcee like Marshall Mathers and ended looking like the pathetic loser he actually is. Oh yea, he draw some attention from people- in a negative way, though.
I think that many underground artists should be able to take some constructive criticism when needed instead of growing big heads that are about to explode.
My advice to many of you are the following:
– ask not only people from your friends’ circle for their opinion about your music
– be ready to accept some constructive (and even negative criticism) from people
– improve your work…even when you think that it is good, you can always improve it
– only diss your rivals when you have the skills unless you want people to know that you are a « fucking loser ».
– use an image that fits yourself and your music…don’t play it gangsta when everybody knows you are not. In short…keep it REAL.
– make some REAL progress…then you will be credible on your musical scene.
Don’t take those advices in a negative way. I have observed a lot of wrong behaviors coming from emcees and I am just trying to help out.
I have been watching your scene for years from an external eye and my deepest wish is for all of you to make some real progress and to make it in the music industry.
Copyright © 2006 by Isabelle Esling
All Rights Reserved