Rappers: 5 Reasons I’m NOT Going To Listen To Your Music
By: Chris “Chris P: Local Celebrity” Panayiotou
A little background on me, aside from being on the Dallas/ Ft. Worth music scene for years, I do radio and I write, therefore I’m a guy that artists should want to listen to their music. I can’t listen to everything, and really I don’t want to listen to much.
This could easily become a “your jeans are painted on” or a “you dress like my niece” rapper bash, but that’s not what we’re here for (but some of y’all really do dress like my niece, wtf?) Anyway, these are 5 rapper faux pas that will cause your music to not be heard by me, and probably not heard by other DJs, bloggers and radio personalities.
1. You Don’t Have Your Music Handy
The best way I can explain this is to give you an example. I was at a particular artist‘s show and there was another artist there (I won’t say any names) I had heard of, who had a slight buzz online. I thought to myself, “Let me see what the hype is about,” so I introduced myself, and asked him for his music. He tells me, “I don’t carry my music with me, but you can go to my website and check it out.”
This is the part of this post where I bring us to an abrupt stop, in order to make sense of what just happened. Now, the weedman sells weed and rappers sell raps, right? If the weedman doesn’t have any weed on him, he doesn’t expect you to pass up the other hundred weedmen between here and high, just for you to do all of the work so he can get your money, does he? And if he does, he probably won’t be the weedman for long, right? I mean, UPS is always hiring…
So by that logic, do you really think that I’m going to track down your could-be-wack-project online when there’re a hundred non-diva rappers between me and your web presence? FOH! That might work with your groupies or what not, but for me, not so much. The odds of me taking time out to Google you (and hope you spell your name close enough to correct English that my search results in you), just to be sent to your obscure website, to click a link that sends me elsewhere to download your “art,” are looking pretty fucking not in your favor. The burden of me listening to your music is not on me; it’s on you. Give me your music, don’t make me go find it, because I won’t, and then you might have to chuck boxes for a living. The irony is, while there are box-chucking groupies, there are no groupies for those that chuck boxes.
2. You Want To Sell Me Your Music.
I am not buying your CD. I understand that you are trying to make money to further finance your career (or to support your habit, i.e. drugs, alcohol, tricking or excessive materialism), but I’m in a position to help spread your music to others (I do radio, remember?). So by giving me your $5 or $10 CD for free, you are investing in your own promotion, that is unless your music sucks, then you just wasted your time and mine.
If you can’t afford to give me a copy, because you are in real need of getting these few dollars from the people that WILL buy your CD, I understand. If this is the case, refer to reason 1, and ask me for an email address you can send your music to. But FOLLOW THROUGH! Don’t just get my email and never send anything, because then you take the decision of listening to your music away from me entirely.
Side Note: Before I had a platform, when I might invest in buying someone’s CD, this jackass that sold me his mixtape for five bucks and it was a blank CD. When I find you…
3. Labeling (Really, Lack There Of)
So, you’ve made it to emailing me, or actually putting a CD in my hand? Congratulations, as you have come farther than many of your peers. Hell, half the battle has been won, right? Slow down.
So this CD you gave me… it’s a Verbatim CD-R. What a coincidence, I use those too! And yeah, there is no label, print or even handwriting on this CD-R to distinguish it from the other hundred CD-Rs in my life. This is not looking good for you. “But there’s an insert in the slimline case,” you say… a lot of good that does, as in order to play it, I have to remove the CD from its case. Maybe it makes it into the deck in my car, but once I take it out, even if I did listen to it and like it, it’s gone, lost in the mix. Sorry homie, but it is what it is, do better next time.
So after reading this, you think to yourself, “Well hell, I’m good because I shot him an email of my music.” So yeah, it is conveniently sitting in my inbox for me to listen to at my earliest convenience, right? (Notice if repeated variations of the word convenience?) So I open your email, and there it is… wait, no, it’s a link to Datpiff, so I can download your mixtape. But wait, it’s one of those that I have to log in with, huh? Who remembers their Datpiff login? I’m not jumping through the hoops of reset my password to get to your music. Sorry.
But wait, your fellow rapper friend sent me an email too, AND he attached his songs to the email… Good job! Until I look at his email and there it is, “Track 01.” Do you see where I’m going with this? I have more Track 01s on my hard drive than I have unlabeled CD-Rs, and when you neglected to tell me you stage name and song title in the body of the email, you’ve really set yourself up for failure. Better luck next time guys.
4. I Was At Your Show And I Recognized All The Beats
Yeah, I recognize all of the beats, because I’m a HUGE fan… more like you’re rapping on the instrumentals of every song on the radio. In 2005, lots of songs over others’ beats might have been acceptable, but in 2014, if you don’t have original production, I assume that you are not taking your career seriously, so why should I?
Now I’m not saying don’t use others’ beats for your mixtape, but to perform these songs, and nothing but these songs, is amateur no matter what year it is. Save the best verses for YOUR songs, the ones whose beats you have purchased. Plus, how amateur do I sound playing your mixtape track on the radio? If you are an established artist, okay, maybe, but you better have wrecked it.
And while I’m on the subject of you not making me appear as amateur as you, here is a bonus reason why I won’t listen to your music: The DJ is yelling over the track. Again, it’s 2014, there are only a handful of DJs you can get away with hosting your mixtape, but there are none that you can have hollering over the song that I’m going to play. I’m a de facto DJ, even though I don’t work turntables or mix, I do choose the playlists for my show, therefore for me to advertise another DJ’s exclusive is not happening. So when I pop in your mixtape, as soon as I hear DJ WhoeverTheFuck say whatever the fuck, I’m like, “What the fuck?” and out the fuck goes your CD. There is no reason to waste my time to listen to it if I’m not going to be able to use it, so be sure to only submit NO DJ versions of your music, to me or to anyone in a similar field.
5. Your Tracklisting
I’m not one to judge. Okay, I very MUCH am one to judge, but I don’t do it out loud, so that counts for something, doesn’t it? Exactly. So I was looking at your tracklist, for those of you that have made it through the first four obstacles, and I can’t help but think, “I’m not gonna get shit from this project.”
Why? Well, when was the last time you heard someone say, “The hit single, ‘These Hoes?’” I understand that this may be a street song, without an edited version, and that’s cool, because that’s not my point. Here are some selected song titles from a few randomly selected mixtapes from Datpiff. Like no bullshit, this is a real sampling:
I Got It
I’m A Star
Lots of Guns
And maybe you have a witty take on these topics and you spit that Dylan fire, but when your body of work is littered with generic track titles and/or titles that suggest extremely simple subject matter, it’s a deal breaker. Plus, what separates you from the other guy with the “My Bitch” song? Seems like y’all have all run through her, and therefore I’m not interested. Even if the song is about your lady-friend, or your gun, or whatever, you can do better with the title. Fool me into listening to it, at least then you’ll have gotten me to play it and I can judge the song based on its merits and not by anything else. It may be harsh, but I’m just trying to help.
So take all of this in and apply it to your marketing strategy, or don’t, it really doesn’t matter to me, it’s your career, not mine.