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How To Make Money Off Rap Without Really Rapping

It's easy. You just have to be sort of a con artist.

by Slava Pastuk
22 January 2013, 10:00am

I believe it was Plato who said it: "Rap Game Stressful." Knowing this fact, millions of people still want to gain access to this seemingly illustrious game every year, polluting our RSS feeds and Twitter timelines in their never-ending search for some semblance of stardom, or at least vague notoriety. Who knows what draws these people in; some are in it for the recognition, some are in it for the free stuff, and others are in it for the slight possibility that they will meet, and be subsequently disappointed by, their musical idols. Whatever your reasons for becoming a cog in the industry machine, you should know how to go about it properly. With that being said, here are four ways to make money in the rap game that don't involve you actually rapping:


Do you have a cursory understanding of your city's live music venues, a fiery passion for exploiting up-and-coming artists, and access to your parents' credit card? Then you, too, can be part of the fast-paced world of concert promoting! It’s simple: just find your favorite artist through Twitter or Facebook and find their contact information and “drop them a line,” as the kids say! An artist who’s just starting out will definitely take some money to make an appearance in your town, and your parents' credit limit can take a hit for their precious angel. Once you've wired the rapper some of your parents' hard-earned dollars, all you have to do is promote the show, co-ordinate the artist's arrival, pick them up at the airport and make sure that they survive their vices long enough to hit the stage! Congratulations, you are now a concert promoter! You also may or may not have broken even! But at least people will think you're cool because your name was on the flyer, so it tends to work out.


In the age of Wordpress and Tumblr, not knowing how to create a basic website could be seen as a character-defining flaw—I'm pretty sure that a cat can create a basic domain and promptly start populating it with self-portraits and have that website become the third most popular kitten-pic aggregator in the universe within about seven minutes. Point being, anyone can share things online and attract an audience if the content is good enough. Use this to your advantage by creating a site dedicated to the rap music you like and want to share. If this is done right, your blog will be in high demand in no time! People will start inviting you to events and giving you free things in exchange for positive coverage, and you should promptly accept! Don't deceive yourself into thinking that you're an unbiased spectator of the culture; but do know your price in both ad dollars and free booze.


Let's say you went the other way with your website and became the mythical "unbiased spectator." Congratulations! You have surpassed all the barriers needed in order to call yourself a hip-hop "journalist!" Ride this wave for as long as you can, showcasing your integrity as often as possible (often, this can be done by discrediting anything that anyone who annoys you might find entertaining) and constantly retweeting or reblogging whatever inane compliments you receive. Don’t forget to retweet hate from time to time so that your audience can see that what you do isn't easy! Eventually, you’ll be approached by artists or promoters who are looking to borrow your tastemaking name and attach it to whichever struggle-project they’re cooking up in the hopes of gaining credibility. You can do this, like, twice before people start calling bullshit on you.


Not big on pressing a series of keys repetitively until something of value comes out? Don’t worry, YouTube has your back! With the way that YouTube’s ad network is set-up, almost every video that you post can be advertised on, which means if you do it right, you can cake off of talking into a camera, kind of like a local news anchor but more punk rock since you're doing it on the Internet. Just choose a topic or twelve, start up your webcam, and let loose your stream of consciousness. You could talk about anything rap-related: single and music video reviews; event recaps; new album “unboxings.” Basically, anything that you think will lead people to watching your face on the screen for five minutes at a time is a great. If you record about 10-20 of these videos a day and people have an incentive to pay attention to you—it helps to give people a reason to pay attention, like being really attractive, hideously ugly or actually know your shit, you’ll be seeing monthly checks from Google for hundreds of dollars in no time!

Slava Pastuk is Canadian. It's not weird. He tweets - @SlavaP

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