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Rap Beat Making – Emulate The Greats And You'll Be Straight!
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Rap Beat Making – Emulate the Greats And You\'ll Be Straight!

Rap beat making, ever since the inception of what we now know as the hip hop culture, has always been about being creative, innovative, and having a profound influence over the masses. A Tribe Called Quest was onto something when they named their fourth album Beats, Rhymes and Life, that album basically was an introduction of the new hip hop culture to the world; telling everybody that hip hop music was here to stay, and also that this was more than just mere music, but instead a cultural movement; and even more so, a way of life.

You know there had to be some validity there, especially being that corporate America quickly picked up on what they mistook as a trend; trying to cash in on something that they knew nothing about, they had no clue as to what hip hop was, nor what it meant to the people that lived it. They initially thought that it was some buffoonery fad that would soon faze out; so they wanted to cash in on it while it was still hot.

Those miniature historical tidbits are very relevant to the topic of rap beat making; because both entities have played a very intrinsic role in the way our hip hop music has been produced, how it's created, and not to mention what you hear on the radio as well.

Corporate vs. Independent

You basically have two veins, firstly being the corporate vein, which is provided by the major labels and the television and radio outlets, and then you have the independent vein, which is fueled by nothing more that the culture, the movement, and a true love for rap beat making and hip hop music. You would be surprised how much urban radio is controlled by corporate entities that decide what will be played and how often; getting major radio spins is big business, and only the big acts get those prime time multiple spins in your larger markets such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Clear Channel pretty much runs everything, and that's why you hear the same songs over and over again, sometimes twice within an hour. How inspiring!

The corporate vein tells you, the artist and producer, what to make, how it should sound, and by when it should be complete. That's the least inspiring way to operate when rap beat making, but I get it, it's the way that many producers get that money. Problem is, you're basically a slave to the label until you recoup that $3 million dollar advance that's now gone because you bought two Bentleys, a house for your mama, and spent the rest on lavish hotels, partying every night with the most beautiful women the world has to offer. The money is now gone, you have to make it back and make it back fast with the most rap beat making that you have ever done in your life, an basically, it's not gonna be fun or easy for you.

IF you have a hit record from Artist A, the label wants you to deliver five more records that sound just like the hit that Artist A put out. That has never been what rap beat making was supposed to be about; rap beat making is supposed to be about capturing the magic in the moment.

Capturing that magic is usually when the hits come about, just ask LL Cool J, Rick Rubin, and Russell Simmons how they felt about LL Cool J's classic song entitled “I Need Love.” That song was a song that was supposedly not going to make it on his album “Bigger and Deffer”, but fate would have it that the song would go on the final cut due to some error, and as you may or may not know, “ I Need Love” is one of LL Cool J's greatest hits of all times. It's played frequently today, even though it was written and performed back in 1987.

I felt as if this needed to be talked about, because many of the great hip hop artists of our time like LL Cool J, Dr. Dre, A Tribe Called Quest, Ice Cube, and even Jay Z all went about creating their own lane, ignoring what the media outlets, record labels and corporate America tried to push onto our culture concerning rap beat making, by trying to create some misogynistic image of what they (Corporate America) thought that hip hop music should sound and look like, and how it should be portrayed. Many of those artists were forced to even create their own companies, simply because the major labels didn't believe in what they had to offer.

Bring It Back To The Hood of Things...

But that's not the original makeup of the hip hop movement, and that's why the record companies are scrambling to take a more independent approach to rap beat making, songwriting, and creating albums as a whole. More artist control as well as partnerships between the artists and labels are far more prevalent now in the internet age than it was even fifteen years ago; simply because with web 2.0, anyone can become a star and drive their own movement and make their own money selling and promoting music on the internet, all without the major label backing.

So young playa, before you get in this game, realize that if you're going to start rap beat making, do it for the love, and don't let anybody just sell you on a dream. Do it because you love it, and the money will soon follow, trust me.

Don't give into the corporate vein, grind it out on your own with your rap beat making, stay independent, that's the best way to get rich in this thing. It might take longer, but baby, once you're on, you are ON! Then it will be up to you if you want to EXPAND your operation by incorporating the corporates and the record labels into your mix; then you can totally turn them down because you'll be winning, doing your own thing...

Regardless if you listen to me, in the end you'll see. Better beats ahead.


Street Talk

This article is amazing, as a dj and a hip hop fan i really enjoyed reading it. Hip Hop changed so much these days, how did we, the consumer, let it go so terribly wrong!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Another great article man. Your passion for hip hop really comes through in your writing. I like hip hop too and once again I really enjoyed the article. The only bad thing I can say about it, is that I wish I wrote it:)

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks Mike! I appreciate your insight on my writing, I really try to give a true and transparent perspective in my writing.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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