Self-Help: The Rap Album

Today, boys and girls, we’re going to explore what it is that makes a successful rap album.  Clearly, not every rap album is the same but recently, they all seem to have a few common threads which we shall delve into in hopes that, should you ever be consumed with the desire to release a rap album, you’ll have the know-how to make it a hit.

The steps, after the break.

1. NAME

It’s not as easy as you think to come up with a phenomenal rapper name.  It takes some people a few tries, Puff Daddy to P. Diddy to just Diddy, Old Dirty Bastard was also Big Baby Jesus and UGOD, even Notorious B. I. G. mixed it up a little bit with Biggie Smalls and just B.I.G.  They key to a good name is recognition.  It doesn’t matter if people think your name is the most retarded thing on earth, if they recognize it, it’s all good.  Look at the successful rappers out there now and we’ll see if we can validate my statement:  Chamillionaire, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent (I think his full name is 50 Cent Worth of Talent), Young Jeezy, Master P, Young Buck, the Dipset, and more historically Biz Markie, Busta Rhymes, Coolio…etc. etc. etc. ALL stupid names.  Although, rappers like Kanye West, Mike Jones and Talib Kweli are popularizing the use of real names again.  In general, if you want to come up with a good rapper name, you just take an adjective, and spell it wrong.  It’s a pretty fail-safe method… Fabolous, Ludacris, Sticky Fingaz (okay not an adjective but you get my point).  My suggestion would be keep it a positive adjective and make sure it stays phonetic – maybe something like Delishus, then people could just call you D.  Moving on:

2. LYRICS

Surprisingly, lyrics and content are really not important when crafting a masterful rap album.  To be honest, most people can’t understand what you’re saying, whether it be because: you can barely speak English, you have a thick foreign accent, you speak too fast, you slur, the beats are too loud, or maybe the gunfire going on in the background is too distracting.  Those who can understand all the words probably are already on board your cop killing bandwagon.  In any event, there are a few essentials you need when it comes to lyrics to make sure that your album hits platinum:

ALWAYS claim to have been there from the beginning – I’m 23 years old right now and I wouldn’t claim to have entered the rap game anytime after ’81 for fear of just being laughed out of the studio.

Make excessive use of the words “what” and “yeah”, these are the only acceptable filler words and can be used indiscriminately at any point on your album.  In fact, the more times you use these words in succession, the more popular you will become. its a direct correlation. Don’t question me on this, it’s science.

Degrade women.  Call them any derogatory term you can think of. All except your mother, she has to remain a saintly figure in your life.  If you show respect for your mother, you can call anyone else you want anything else you want and consumers will eat it up.  The more vulgar you are, the more demeaning you are, the dumber you sound when referring to them, the better. 

Talk about how much money you have.  Brag incessantly about your “benjamins”.  It’s imperative to let everyone know that even though its your first single you still are filthy rich already.  Allude that you only drink Cristal and Hennessy.  People will spend more money on people who already have it, rather than people who need it.

Claim to flagrantly violate laws that 99% of the population believe should be in place.  Avow and aver that you have slain police officers by the scores and have capped off rival gang bangers without a second thought.  Assert that you drive around summarily intoxicated while brandishing obscene amounts of firearms and indiscriminately mow down opposition.  Include abusing alcohol, drugs, and refer to your friends in ways that polite society would cringe at hearing, they’re players and pimps, they’re sick and ill, they’re racial epitaphs, all of which are somehow positive in this world of rap.  And you are going to need to utilize them when compiling your album.

Also claim to have the coolest whip (car) on the planet. Bar none. 

Other than those, just talk about stuff you like to do, play basketball, go to clubs, find a way to put Lamborghini doors on your Escalade, whatever tickles your fancy, its not like people listen to what you say often anymore anyway.

3. MUSIC VIDEO

You’re gonna definitely need a successful video to boost album sales.  This can present a problem if you’re not physically attractive.  Most rappers are lazy people, so they have a lot of free time, so they can work out a lot, and have good bodies, so get on that, starting now.  You can always take the Biggie Smalls approach and compensate for being out of shape by being more talented than everyone else and have hotter girls in your video, but that’s not exactly feasible for a first timer.  The videos should include some sort of transportation, whether it be a fast car, a speed boat, a train, even a spaceship will do.  Rap consumers love fast travel methods for some reason, who knows why.  Always flash your Rolex (you’re gonna need a Rolex) and shiny outfits are a must, if it doesn’t reflect the light, get rid of it, same goes for your bling.  Here’s the quick story on bling, just so you’re up to date on it.  Currently, Lil’ John has the record for biggest bling, his weighs circa 5 pounds.  Akon is challenging him by crafting bling in the shape of Africa that he claims will cover his entire chest.  He also has a flashing light where Senegal is, it will be solid gold, except for the light, and weigh in between 10-15 pounds.  I’m not gonna say you should try to compete with Akon, but if you can’t at least take down lil’ John, I’d say your career will be short lived.  In you’re video, along with bling, you’ll need to have girls shaking their moneymakers, excessively, everywhere.  The less clothing the better, and the more attractive the girl the better, but we’re willing to trade looks for a more morally casual attitude.  They’ll probably bang you also, so be prepared for that.  Always make it look like no matter where you go and what you do, a massive party follows you.  This will make other people want to follow you also, and by follow i mean buy your album. 

4. BEATS

The most important part of the album in this day and age and what can be the easiest.  “Sample” (steal) the background music from classic R&B songs from the 70’s and 80’s.  It’s really that simple, claim that you’ve always loved these songs and want to re-popularize them, then butcher them mercilessly with your vulgar lyrics and immoral messages.  Add a thumping baseline when necessary and some synthesizer.  Make sure it can be played in the clubs because rap is no longer about being listened to at home by the individual, its about being commercially broadcast so that people can grind to it.

5. ENTOURAGE

Who you surround yourself with is important because it will establish your credibility or “cred” as it’s called on the street.  It’s very important to make sure that at least one, hopefully at least two people in your crew have been to jail on major felony charges.  This makes it much more likely that no one will mess with you.  They need nicknames like Big boi (but not like the Big boi from outkast), Busta, Huey, lil’ X, Boss, etc.  In fact, it’s probably better if you don’t know the real names of most of the people you hang out with. Two words; plausible deniability.  Learn it, live it.

6. FEUDING

This isn’t necessary but it’s a good way to gain some recognition.  Start beef with some well established rapper, call him a joke, a trick, a mark, a trick-ass mark, a mark-ass trick, a skig, a skag, a skallywag, a skeezer, or just tell everyone he sucks and then rap about it.  The key is honing in your freestyle skills in this situation as it may come down to a freestyle battle, and should you lose that, your career will be in shambles.  I pity the fool who loses a freestyle battle, I think we’ve all seen 8 mile.  Go for Someone like 50 Cent or The Game. They’re arguably the least eloquent people I’ve ever heard, I’m fairly convinced they can’t think on their feet, should make for good targets.

 So that should do it, now you have all the tools and skills needed to create a multiplatinum rap album.  I wish you luck with your endeavor, and as always:

coz the boys in the hood are always hard
you come talkin that trash, we’ll pull ya card
knowin’ nutin in life but to be legit’
don’t quote me boy, coz i ain’t said shit.

(Image from Wittenburg Door)

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8 Comments

Filed under How To, Music

8 responses to “Self-Help: The Rap Album

  1. I honestly don’t know if you are joking or not about Akon and his chest sized gold Africa.

  2. Paul

    Shockingly (or maybe not), it is true. I read about it in Rolling Stone Magazine. He’s insane.

  3. Andy

    I never knew you loved rap so much, Paul.

  4. i consider myself an aficionado.

  5. chris

    hahahah thats some funny shit
    hip hop is thrash tell them illegal alies to get the fuck out of here

  6. aejae

    ODB and U-God are not the same person, n00b

  7. Abhi

    I love Rap ‘n’ my mother….

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