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How do I Become a Rapper?

Kate Monteith
Kate Monteith

The music industry is always on the lookout for the next rising star, and almost anyone can become a rapper with the right course of action. A hip-hop music career requires more than rapping talent; a rap artist must have knowledge, confidence, determination and style. If you want to become a rapper, it pays to understand the people who run the rap music industry and how the business works.

The rap music genre began to take hold in dance clubs as early as the 1970s in New York City. At the time, a form of rhythmic music from Jamaica called “dub music” was being introduced by emcees (MCs) and disk jockeys (DJs). This early form of rap music used samples from other recordings interspersed with percussive drum sounds. Young hip-hop artists soon learned to speak in poetic rhythm to the musical beats, and the musical style of rapping was born.

Ludacris, a rapper.
Ludacris, a rapper.

Professional rap singers make it look easy, but rapping is an art that takes a great deal of practice to master. The best rappers will spend several hours daily honing their rhyming skills and developing their vocal abilities. The rap artist must have a unique musical style and a confident stage presence that cannot be duplicated. It also helps to be a good dancer.

Lupe Fiasco, a rapper.
Lupe Fiasco, a rapper.

Live rap competitions can be a great way to practice rapping and prepare for a musical career. In hip-hop clubs, amateur rappers are often pitted against one another like prizefighters, sparring with musical skills rather than fists. One-on-one rapping competitions require quick wits and an ability to slay opponents with verbal barbs. Audiences can be brutal in their assessment of a rapper’s abilities and will quickly dismiss a contender with weak verbal skills or little sense of style. If you are a skillful rapper, however, you may be chosen to perform professionally.

Rappers may have a history of gang violence.
Rappers may have a history of gang violence.

Once you have gained some professional stage experience, you can increase your chance to become a rapper by broadcasting your songs online. Internet radio stations are a good place to submit audio of your songs, especially the hip-hop stations. Additionally, you can promote yourself on social websites, where your audio can be uploaded for visitors to sample. The boldest move would be to mail a press release about yourself and a CD to several professional music producers, along with free tickets to your next show.

Getting a job as a rapper means you will interact with club owners, producers, and talent agents who will expect professional behavior. The greatest talent cannot overcome a rap artist who consistently wastes time, is belligerent, or disrespects the wisdom and power of industry leaders. Although it is accepted for rappers to have a public reputation for being scofflaws, you are more likely to become a rapper if you exhibit good character in all your business dealings.

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Discussion Comments


I'm a 15 year old rapper who has just started to record, and my crew feels like we won't make it. They are really making me regret becoming a rapper. What to do?


I've been rapping ever since I was three. I have written over a thousand songs. I study rap music and I even have battles at school.

I have friends who know people, but don't want to help. I just want to be heard and I'm starting a crew.


My dream is to be a rapper. Eminem/Marshall Mathers got discovered by Dr. Dre by wanting to record together. I have what it takes to be the next rapper.


I used to want to rap. A friend of mine was discovered and was signed (I don't know how successful he became as we lost contact with each other over the years).

But as the years went by, I felt college was the better decision for me. So I went and earned a PhD.

If you can't get discovered by a certain age, school provides a better opportunity than being an unemployed rapper.


So this doesn't answer mine and other people's questions. We want to know how to be discovered basically, but I'm reading stuff about the history and everything else.


they say sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you get back up.I'm from wyoming but live in texas. i feel i hit rock bottom but the only way to express it is through music. i freestyle a lot, even to prince lol, but seriously what does it take?


I wish to be discovered .I rap harder than anybody in my town (San Antonio, Tx) and my dream is to make it big. I've been rapping ever since I could hold a pencil. --Erika


how can a smalltown girl get discovered because i've got skills but no one here raps.


so how does a guy like Marshall Mathers get discovered by Dre? How does a kid like Greenie get discovered by Krs-One ?

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    • Ludacris, a rapper.
      By: Eva Rinaldi
      Ludacris, a rapper.
    • Lupe Fiasco, a rapper.
      By: Eva Rinaldi
      Lupe Fiasco, a rapper.
    • Rappers may have a history of gang violence.
      By: Monkey Business
      Rappers may have a history of gang violence.