Hey aspiring Nashville hip-hoppers, grab your pen and pad, because we've got a little lesson about how to pop off straight out of the gate, courtesy of Sam & Tre — and you'll want to take notes. See, we know that you, the up-and-coming MC, think you're God's gift to the rap game — most do — but we're going to be frank: You're not. Bragging about how much money you have and then sending us to a busted-ass MySpace page to get your mixtape isn't helping your case, either.
First and foremost, stop trying to sound like other rappers, or at the very least, try to sound like rappers our mom wouldn't recognize. Think that new verse you wrote sounds just like Drake, and the hook sounds like it could've come from a 50 Cent track? Rip it up and throw it away. As an example of the right way to do this, take Tre, the vocal half of Sam & Tre: That dude obviously has his reference points — this is still hip-hop after all, the most referential of all genres — but there isn't a point where you think about any rapper other than Tre. His cadence is his own — indebted to masters of the form like Biggie and Bun B, but definitely Tre through and through. His timbre is his own — there's nothing forced, and it feels like he's in the room telling jokes over beers. His stories are his own — not hyperbolic Scarface crib notes or Skinemax summaries. Tracks like "New Kid," "Radio Ridin Home" and "She Left Me" offer a glimpse into a complicated persona — especially when put up against bangers like "Party Time" and the debut single "We Do" — that's way more interesting than yet another cardboard cut-out gangster imitation.
Lesson two: Make your own music and make it sound good. For real, we never ever, ever, ever want to hear another over-compressed streaming MP3 that was recorded in Fruity Loops using keyboard pre-sets. Same goes for looping instrumentals from Top 40 hits and "features" from famous artists that you straight-up jacked from the Internet. And while we're at it: Stop listening to hip-hop all the time. There's a whole world of music out there, and hip-hop is at its best when it's pulling from the whole thing — folks like RZA, Q-Tip and Dre didn't become legends by sticking to the same songs everybody knows, so it's no different for you. Don't tell us you're "hustlin' " and then drop some lazy, recycled pop shit.
Lesson two-and-a-half: Write your own damn songs already. The reason we're all up on Sam & Tre's self-titled debut and we're reporting your emails as spam is that we've never heard this shit before. It's new, it's exciting and it's original — not just for local hip-hop but for hip-hop in general. Sam & Tre's style pulls from dubstep and electronica, combines reggae riffs with rock guitar solos, and carefully crafts each sound for maximum effect. Attention to detail and a willingness to go beyond the work of your contemporaries and peers go a long way, and when those are coupled with anthemic choruses and big meaty beats you can count on us to get your back. Recycling Rick Ross? Well, you can count on being blocked from our news feed.
And our third and final pro tip: Get yourself a copy of Sam & Tre. Those dudes could probably teach you a thing or two about how to make rap right.
The link seems to be down. And by the way how come nothing about Lincoln…
Thanks Lance.. Let us know if you wanna come out tonight on us... Anthem
This is the first time I've heard "Chicken in Black," so I'm no apologist, but…
no d-pat, it's "fun with a 'k'"