A question received from a Audio Masterclass visitor…
How can one become a premium quality rap artist in this hectic modern age?
Sender: Phyliss J Winklethorpe
Reply from David Mellor,
The key part of your question is in the word 'premium'. Where there are so many rappers of varying degrees of quality, almost floods of them, it's easy to be taken in by a distraction rather than focusing on the key person. A hard question to answer then, but in for a penny…
Naturally, one of the principal attributes of a premium quality rap artist is commitment. Anyone who isn't good at commitment should not apply. If you're wavering between rap music one week, and arty electronic music the next, then your chances are slim.
An essential component of rap is the tone of voice. Rap, although apparently spoken, benefits from an almost lyrical delivery. However, make sure that you cultivate a 'downtown' accent. Sounding as though you come from the suburbs, or worse still you're a country redneck will not cut it in rap.
Alongside the performance goes hand in hand the 'bling'. Bling includes a car, preferably a 4×4 with an engine capacity of no less than 4 liters. A 1200 cc urban model may get you to your date and back, but it's not going to impress the hip hop public. Bling naturally includes jewelry. A male rapper needs much – or none, for a startlingly different effect. A female rapper may make herself distinctive by cutting way down on the bling and wearing perhaps just a pair of tasteful earrings.
Rappers are always surrounded by people. A male rapper of an earlier generation would need a girl friend with a big butt. And she would need to know how to shake it in the preferred fashion. Things change however and the elegant/sexy look is much to be preferred. A female rapper, once again to make herself distinctive, may choose an arty, intellectual type, although he will need to be fit too (a small but muscly butt is OK).
Then there must be an entourage. The more the better, but no fewer than three well-built males as 'security guards'. They will need to be discreet as they may acquire secret knowledge into your lifestyle. A dog will help too.
Rap and hip hop are, as we all know, a lifestyle, not just a style of music. Rappers need to be fit, but working out with weights seems to be falling out of favor for activities such as yoga, which has been shown to produce excellent results in toning the body.
The final attribute of the premium quality rapper that I have space to include here is something that might bring notoriety if reported in the popular press. In an earlier era of rap, it was considered important to have a bad-boy image – no good looking like butter wouldn't melt in your mouth. However, modern rappers need something that would captivate the public interest. And there is nothing that would read better to your eager public than…
Regular sessions of all-day sex. (Preferably including outdoor, published with aerial photographs!)
For more practical get-you-started advice, I recommend Hip Hop Secrets, an NVQ Level 1 introductory text.