So you want to learn how to start a rap career with no money? Without money, it can be difficult because you need to invest in a variety of things to create a decent sounding record.
With tens of thousands of people (or more) trying to enter the rap game, it’s becoming more about marketing and luck, rather than skill itself for the most part.
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Even when it comes down to skill, its very competitive and you have to have exceptional talent and a magnetic aura or “swag” sor to speak.
Even though I’m a music producer, when I was younger I had dreams of being a famous rapper/producer and spent a lot of time working in the music industry.
Like almost every person I grew up with, we just wanted a way out of the streets and poverty stricken environments. No different from a lot of NBA and NFL players.
Back then if you didn’t have money to invest, then you didn’t have a chance… Nowadays, you have social media. So even though you don’t have money, you do have TIME.
“If you focus your time and attention on PURPOSE, anything is possible.”
With that being said, I’m going to give you some tips that can help you in starting your journey as a rapper. But you have to be willing to work hard because you don’t have money to invest as of now.
How to Start a Rap Career with No Money
1. Find Out if You Have What It Takes
Before you waste your time and energy on starting a rap career, you first need to know if you have what it takes. Have you ever rapped on stage before? Have you ever freestyled in front of others? What were their response?
Ask your friends for their opinions when you rap a verse for them. If there are any open mics in your local area, then sign up and see how the crowd reacts when you perform.
Try rapping over your favorite artists instrumental and use the voice recorder on your phone. Let others listen to it and give you feedback.
2. You Have to Set Goals
If you want to be successful as a rapper (or anything in life), you have to set goals and focus on them. Schedule out some time to practice your skills everyday.
The best time to practice is when you have the most energy in the day. Create a routine that fits your lifestyle and stick with it.
Start with small daily tasks such as writing 16 bars everyday. Then work your way up to full blown songs.
3. Find a Local Studio Where You Can Hang Out
Obviously you don’t have money to invest in studio time or building your own studio, so you should find engineers, producers, or other artist that may have studio access (or their own) and link up with them.
Putting yourself in a studio environment is a good way to learn how to record correctly, do overdubs, ad libs…etc..
There’s a difference between being just a “Rapper” verses being a “Recording Artist”. Learning how to record efficiently is key to saving money on studio time and makes the workflow easier on the engineer/producer.
Soak in as much as you can while also helping them with things around the studio even if it’s cleaning up. When you bring something to the table, you may get free recording time.
Once you start making connections with the artist and producers, they may allow you to rap on their songs. Try to learn as much as you can about the technical aspects of recording like, mastering, mixing…etc… This will help you in the long run.
4. Get Free Beats on YouTube, Websites, or From Someone You Know
When you have no money to invest in beats, then you have to become resourceful. So even if you have friends that make beats that are not that good, work with them anyways.
Go to YouTube and download “Free Type Beats” even if they are tagged and try to get different styles of beats. When you learn how to write in a variety of styles, the more opportunities you will have to be on other artist work even if it’s not you “main” style.
You can also just simply “Google” free type beats and there’s a lot of website that will allow you to download free beats to use for demos and non-profit performances.
5. Make Music Videos and Post Them on YouTube
In this day in age, you have video streaming websites like YouTube. This is something you have to take advantage of. YouTube is free and there are so many )artist, singers, actors, comedians…etc…) that get discovered all of the time.
You can use your smartphone to record and edit videos. Put the recorded version on the video and upload it. This is a good way to start building up a fan base even if you’re just upload “vlog” style videos of you walking and talking about your life.
Quick Tip: Look for local video producers who are starting out and refer people to them in exchange for them doing some video work for you even if it’s just editing or shooting a few clips. Remember, you have to be resourceful since you don’t have money.
6. Network with Local Producers, Artists and Managers
Build relationships with as many local producers as you can because I guarantee that eventually you will come across one (or more) that are really good and matches well with who you are as an artist.
This can open up opportunities to create EP’s or Mixtapes without “upfront” money being involved. Meaning you can do a 50/50 publishing split and go from there.
Start building relationships with local managers and other artist. This will allow you to possibly feature on songs and well as open up for artist when they have concerts.
Quick Note: Remember, you’re building up your brand so even if you do it for free, do it anyways.
7. Promote Your Music Online and Offline
When you get some original songs under your belt and some Youtube videos. It’s time to start promoting your music.
Marketing is all about getting “Attention” to your product or service and there are two ways to get it. Paid/Advertising or Free/Earned attention.
Since you don’t have money to advertise or pay Instagram influencers for attention. You have to get on your social media grind and build a name for yourself.
Free or “Earned” traffic takes a lot of work, effort, and time before it yields results so you have to be willing to invest “time” into your business. And this is a business.
When marketing online, you need a “HUB” where all your music can be found. Since you don’t have money for a professional website, you can just use YouTube, Soundcloud or even a free website like WIX.
But you have to have somewhere to link from social media to your music.
8. Social Media
So make sure to set up an account on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. Those are the biggest ones when it comes to Hip Hop. You only have some much time, so don’t waste it on sites like Pinterest or Tumblr…
9. Local Promotion
Please don’t “run up” on any and everybody you see screaming “Yo check out my Shhh!”… This can turn out bad for your reputation and could get you hurt or even locked up.
If you’re at the club scene or at a local concert, you can start casual conversations about what THEY like. Are they interested in hip hop? Do they have a social media account? If they do then add them and give them a link to your music.
Find and network with local Djs and get there social and email info.. You can send them a link to you music. Follow up with them and see if they’re interested in interviewing you.
Quick Tip: Use “Storytelling” to your advantage… What obstacles have you overcome in life? What sets you apart from all the other rappers they know?
10. Start a Street Team
Word of mouth is a great way to promote your music online and offline. Get your family, friends, and other people who loves your music together and form a street team. Make sure they have copies of your music and/or your YouTube, Soundcloud and social media info to give them.
Make sure that everything YOU share, they share… Music videos, photos, vlogs, pics…etc… Everything… They should be sending people to your music constantly to create a buzz about you.
You never know… Somebody may know somebody who’s linked to somebody in the music industry who may find your music and see potential.
Starting a rap career will take a lot of effort on your part if you don’t have the capital to invest. Even if you live in a small town, you still have to make do with what you got.
With that being said, I’ll leave you with some final advice…
Always keep practicing no matter what. Stay true to your craft despite the haters and naysayers. Work on improving your techniques and you keep improving. Practice your tones, pitch, and volume levels.
Work odd jobs, cut grass, or whatever you have to do (ethically) to put some money aside to invest in your “business” because that’s what it is. And when you’re ready, check out how to release an EP independently. It’s a business, so treat it like one…
Don’t think about the end result, instead… Embrace the journey… Because at the end of the day, that’s all that matters… Thanks for reading how to start a rap career with no money Peace!