The future of music

How to Become a Rapper: Comprehensive Guide

December 29, 2023
how to become a rapper

One thing is for sure – rap music is dominating the industry.

But that also makes it difficult for new rappers to stand out from the crowd.

On the other hand, this is the perfect moment to try to find your spot on the music scene. 

With that in mind, today we will tell you what it takes to be a professional rapper and what’s the best way to get things started.

So, if you want to get useful tips on how to become a rapper, read on!

How to Become a Rapper

Hip-hop music was an exciting new genre for a while, and then it became a central part of the music industry and American culture.

Hip-hop and rap songs are dominating the charts now, and new rappers are always emerging on the scene.

So, how to become a successful new rapper in an oversaturated music industry?

And how hard is it to become a professional rapper?

Before digging into specific steps on how to start a rapping career, let’s tackle some of the common questions regarding this topic.

What Do Rappers Do?

Before starting to build a rapping career, it’s important for you to understand what being a rapper actually means.

Of course, if you’re passionate about rap music you’re already on the right track.

However, choosing rapping as a career path takes so much more than that.

Rapper recording in a studio.

Generally, a rapper writes and performs rap music.

And many rappers are specialized in a particular genre of hip-hop, including jazz rap, old-school hip-hop, gangsta rap, rap rock, trap music, and so on.

Being a rapper also entails the following responsibilities:

  • Writing lyrics 
  • Putting words together with rhythm
  • Producing beats
  • Performing live
  • Recording
  • Touring
  • Collaborating with other artists

The exact responsibilities and qualifications depend on the type of career path you’re interested in.

But most aspiring rappers want to distribute their music or sign a record deal.

Either way, you’ll have to work on your rapping skills.

In fact, there are many things for you to learn if you’re just starting out.

Some things you’ll learn in the process, of course, but there are some other things you should know before getting started.

How Much Do Rappers Make?

Another question that usually pops up is: how much money can I make as a rapper?

Well, as you might assume, that depends on many factors.

According to Comparably, a rapper makes $60,000 on average.

However, if we’re talking about small and indie rappers, the number is significantly lower.

So, how much you’re going to earn as a rapper depends on your specific goals.

But you shouldn’t think about the rapper’s salary too much – focus on your goals and skills instead.

That way, you’ll start making money as a rapper before you know it.

So without further ado, let’s go through some basic steps you can follow to start your career as a rapper.

12 Tips for Becoming a Successful New Rapper

First of all, becoming a successful rapper is not easy.

You need to learn how to rap and write compelling rhymes, but you also need to learn about the business side of it all.

Getting around in the music industry can be tricky.

And if you’re a beginner, there are many things you should keep in mind.

On the other hand, if you follow the following steps, you’ll be well on your way to stardom.

1. Learn the Genre

Before launching your rap career, you need to do your research.

Rap is a wide music genre with many sub-genres.

So if you want to be able to find a rap style that suits you best, you need to become familiar with all of them.

Of course, you don’t need to study for hours – glancing at all the possibilities and learning more about those that spark your interest is enough for now.

Rapper performing on a stage.

You can also explore more about famous rap artists and the most successful acts who’ve entered the rap game.

Learning how other rap artists started out might help you start your own journey.

Furthermore, you should familiarize yourself with different rapping techniques.

As a rapper, you need to know how to put words together with rhythm, rhyme, and patterns of meaning.

You should become familiar with cadence, imagery, and pentameter.

And you need to practice a lot – that’s the only way to learn how to phrase things in a new and unique way.

Luckily, there are many ways you can learn the craft.

For instance, there are many great online courses for you to explore – from private hip-hop lessons with expert teachers to effective and affordable online rap programs. 

Whether you want to learn how to write your own rhyme or you want to improve your rapping technique, there’s an online course for you out there.

Just choose a program that fits your goals, budget, and learning style.

Either way, improving your skills and learning more about the genre will ultimately make you a better rapper.

And it will prepare you for the next steps.

2. Read

Another thing you can do to prepare yourself for writing and distributing your music is to read.

Yes – reading books is indeed an important part of improving your writing skills

And writing compelling and memorable lyrics is one of the most important skills you can have as a rap artist.

Reading books to become a better rapper.

You don’t have to read long classics (unless you want to) – but pick a book that will challenge you as a reader.

That way, you’ll expand your vocabulary and learn more about various literary devices.

Reading will also help you incorporate new ideas and references into your lyrics.

3. Write 

But writing is arguably the most important thing you can do as an aspiring rapper.

People don’t become skilled rappers overnight – and should go through a lot of bad writing before actually writing a good rap song.

That said, you should practice as much as you can.

Write about things that inspire you, but also try to get out of your comfort zone.

And try to write every day – even if it’s just a couple of rhymes.

You can also carry a notebook around with you in case something good pops up in your head. 

Pay attention to the world around you, and think about the issues or ideas you’re passionate about.

You can also learn more about songwriting and composition – this might help you look at your music from a different perspective.

4. Practice 

Besides regular writing, you should also do regular rap exercises.

Some of the common rap exercises include:

  • Reciting a long list of words
  • Pronunciation exercises
  • Performing rap songs you love
  • Reading and rapping backward
  • Trying different speeds and volumes 

Try to integrate rap exercises into your daily routine.

That way, you’ll constantly be working on your rapping skills, and you’ll eventually become more confident.

And if you want to learn how to rap fast, practicing regularly is a must.

5. Look for Opportunities

When you feel confident in your skills, you should start looking for opportunities.

One of the best ways to showcase your rapping skills is to go on a rap battle.

A rap battle is when two rappers take the stage, go head to head in “battle rhyming”, and use intricate and creative punchlines.

A freestyle rap battle is a great way to test your skills, and it’s also a good way to get noticed.

Man with a bandana rapping.

Rap battles and open mic events will connect you with fellow artists, but they will also give you a chance to promote your music and find new listeners.

More importantly, performing live will allow you to practice – rapping in front of the mirror and in front of a live audience are two different things.

To become a professional rapper, you need to gain experience.

That said, you should perform live as much as you can.

But you should also keep an eye out for competitions, auditions, and other opportunities.

Remember – success is when preparation meets opportunity. 

6. Find Your Style

One of the most important things you need to do before distributing and promoting your music is to find your style.

Finding your unique rap sound is not easy though, and developing your musical identity takes time.

But for starters, you can think about the styles you’re generally interested in.

And you should experiment with different hip-hop genres.

Eventually, you’ll find a style that fits your natural abilities.

Alternatively, you’ll find a style you’re interested in and you’ll work toward acquiring the necessary skills.

Either way, finding your own rap style is important.

If you know who you are as an artist, it will be easier for you to promote your music and build a fan base.

If you’re not sure which direction you want to go, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • What kind of rapping style am I good at?
  • What message do I want to convey?
  • What topics am I interested in?
  • What rap artists do I look up to?

7. Choose a Memorable Name

Your next step should be thinking about your rapper name.

As you already know, there are countless famous rappers with unique, memorable names.

Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Cardi B, Ice Cube… Just to name a few.

So, if you want to start your rapping career, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to come up with a stage name.

Coming up with a good rapper name can be fairly easy – the name might just come to you, or you already have a unique nickname.

But if you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry – a lot of rap names change with time.

For starters, choose a name you’re comfortable with or a name that matches your style and values.

Here are some of the tips for choosing a rap name that might help you:

  • Use your real name as a guide
  • Use alliteration
  • Think about your childhood nicknames
  • Think about what you want to be known for
  • Ask your friends for advice

8. Network 

If you want to make it in the music industry, you need to connect with the right people.

Networking is an important part of the rap music scene.

And forming industry connections can only bring you benefits.

For instance, you can get valuable information or come across new opportunities.

You can start by going to events, rap battles, concerts, and festivals.

A crowd of people at a rap concert.

Try to get in touch with songwriters, producers, promoters, and DJs.

You never know where a certain connection is going to take you next.

Be honest and communicative, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

9. Promote Your Music

If you want to know how to become a famous rapper, the answer is simple: you need to get yourself noticed.

But achieving that is not so simple.

You’ll have to work hard to stand out from the crowd.

Besides making good rap songs, you’ll have to put a lot of time and effort into the promotion of your music.

Fortunately, there are many ways to promote your music nowadays.

With streaming platforms, social media, and digital marketing tools, you can easily do it by yourself. 

See also: 15 Ways to Promote Your Music

10. Recording a Mixtape or Demo

If you want to promote your music, you first need something to present yourself with.

And that’s why you need to record a mixtape or demo.

The point of recording a demo is to demonstrate your capabilities as well as show your song’s hit potential.

Moreover, these recordings can get you gigs, contracts, and other opportunities. 

For most demo purposes, you only need about 4 songs, so make sure you pick the best ones.

You don’t need life experience to make your first demo, but you should make it available both digitally and physically.

Nevertheless, some rap artists make their own music (or they collaborate with producers) – therefore, you can think about different ways to make music.

Condenser microphone in a recording studio.

With online learning programs and digital music production services, it’s easy to learn how to produce music.

You can learn how to create beats, master your own songs, etc.

These skills will allow you to be in charge of your music production process.

But many rap artists don’t create their own beats, so you can also search for a music producer or a music production company to collaborate with. 

11. Creating a Brand 

With a good demo, you can focus on music marketing.

Generally, music marketing involves building a brand, planning and creating a social media presence, advertising, public relations, and so much more.

And all of that can be quite challenging for independent artists.

But for starters, you should think about establishing your rapper brand.

Branding is an essential part of music marketing, especially in the world of rap music.

Many successful rappers created a brand around their music.

Your unique rapper brand should include everything that truly matters to you as an artist.

For instance, it could include:

  • Your personal style
  • Your values
  • Your aesthetics
  • Your story or background

You can also contact a music marketing service to help you out.

Music marketing services and companies create engaging music marketing campaigns for their artists.

Their campaigns usually involve social media, Spotify streams, press releases, and radio plays.

Alternatively, you can promote your music by yourself.

But you’ll have to think about a variety of marketing strategies, such as:

  • Getting radio promotion
  • Creating a YouTube channel 
  • Running paid promotions
  • Reaching out to journalists, bloggers, and Spotify playlist curators
  • Distributing your music to large streaming platforms
  • Utilizing offline marketing strategies

See also: 18 Best Music Marketing Strategies

12. Creating a Strong Online Presence 

One of the most effective music marketing strategies is creating a powerful online presence.

For starters, you should create a music website with all important information such as tour dates, new release updates, merch shops, and so on.

You should also develop a social media strategy.

Some of the tips for effective social media management include:

  • Creating short, engaging videos
  • Posting regularly (but not too much)
  • Sharing interesting content
  • Engaging your fans
  • Being active on platforms your target audience uses

Also, don’t forget about standard music marketing strategies such as email marketing – make an EPK (electronic press kit), create a mailing list, and create a newsletter.

Building a brand, finding new listeners, and cultivating a community around your music is not always easy, especially in the beginning.

But utilizing different marketing strategies is essential for building a fan base. 

And creating a powerful online presence and gaining exposure will help you in pitching your songs to music publishers.

If you want to get signed by a record label, you’ll have to pass through the following steps first, including writing a couple of songs, recording a demo, and creating an online presence 

Therefore, take advantage of all the marketing tools you have at your disposal and create hype around your music.

Build a strong visual brand, and keep reaching out to people.

With time, you will grow your audience and people will start sharing your music.

And with a little luck, you’ll be discovered as a rap artist.

Man wearing a cap rapping to the audience.

Don’t get discouraged if things don’t happen fast for you.

Becoming a successful rapper takes time.

You’ll have to be patient and persistent.

But if you keep improving your skills and connecting with fellow artists, you’ll gain valuable knowledge and experience to launch your rapping career. 

The important thing is to keep your motivation high and work hard.

Everything else will eventually fall into place.

How to Become a Rapper – Final Thoughts 

If you want to know how to become a rapper, you should first think about your own abilities, goals, and values.

If you know who you are as an artist, it will be easier for you to build a fan base.

You should also practice as much as you can – keep reading, writing, and learning.

And don’t forget to network with other people from the music industry.

And remember – with strong motivation and determination, you achieve anything you put your mind to.

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

view profile

how to become a singer
Previous Story

How to Become a Singer: Start Your Singing Career

how to make money as a music producer
Next Story

How to Make Money as a Music Producer: Easy Guide

Latest from Music Industry