Rap isn’t just talk
Val Hicks, Staff Writer
May 9, 2012
Filed under Opinion
The problem with the rap industry is there’s too many, “talkers” and not enough “doers”.
In the music industry today you need to manage and excel in every aspect of your music– promoting, marketing, and performing.
You can’t expect anyone to push you further than you’re willing to push yourself. I can tell you through my own experience that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication.
I went to San Diego in pursuit of a career as a music producer. I graduated in 2008 with a degree in music production, now what to do with it?
I started producing my own beats in Vallejo. This led to recording my own songs and mixing and mastering them. In Vallejo, where some of the local artists include All American Mob, Mr. Apher of E.A.R. (Everybody’s A Rapper) Entertainment, Money Bag Management/Purple Session Entertainment, and Bay Boy Entertainment, I created Young Hicks Productions.
If you’re an artist, producer, engineer or promoter, the work you do day-to-day is going to determine how far you’re going to get in this business. As an artist, your pay is a result of your lyrics and performance. As a producer, your pay is based on the quality of sound arrangement and as an engineer your pay is a result of your mixing and mastering skills. The promoter gets his/her money due to his/her hustle in arranging venues. If you’re not signed, these are things you’ll need to pay for. Don’t expect someone to hand you a meal ticket if you’re not investing time and money in your own business.
You have to be clear with yourself as an artist. You have to have purpose and intent. What are you making your music for? Who is the target group you want to listen to your music? What is the message you are communicating to your listener?
Most importantly you need to own up to your words, actions, and credibility. It’s an honor when someone listens to your music and understands where you’re coming from. When you’re able to express a part of you that you don’t share all the time or allow everyone to see.
Recently I had a spontaneous run-in with Hip-Hop artist Redman, who had listened to some of my tracks and gave me feedback. It meant a lot to me that someone in the industry took the time to do this.
“It was an honor to meet you, and I love your songs,” said Redman. “Keep doing your thing and stay focused.” I never asked him to listen to my music, and to receive feedback, just from running into him randomly, is a blessing and shows progression for me. It’s not about how many people you know, it’s about who you know.
Music plays a big part in everyone’s life, whether it’s listening to music or making music. The key to this relationship between music and people is experience. Going through bad times some may listen to slow music to get through what they’re going through or put on something to make them happy. Looking to party, some may want faster more uplifting music. People relate most to what’s real, the truth, and what’s honest.
Anyone can make a dollar, how to maintain it and make it work for you is another topic entirely. Welcome to the music industry.
Val Hicks, a.k.a Young Hicks, is currently producing a three-part series, offering three mixedtapes for free. Download, “The Struggle,” available this July, “The Hustle” to be released in September, and “The Bubble,” available on I-tunes and other music download sites in November.