Don't Beg Me to Listen, "Dawg!": A Request (Or "Dear Internet Rappers, Part Two")

Dear Internet Rappers,

I think I left something out in my last letter to you. I mean, as a artist-turned-blogger/critic-turned-artist/critic, it is my mission to help you all, to the best of my capabilities. I'm a man for the people, by the people, and of the pe--wait, where was I? Ah, yes, the missing element from last time. Here goes.

What I've said to rappers who beg.
Now, I know that you love posting links to your music. I do, too. I know you love when people retweet your links and tweets. I do, too. But, what makes me different than you, my digitally savvy friend, is that I don't beg people to listen to me.

The internet is a tricky place for artists. Ever since the days of Paul Wall, you've had rappers on the internet saying "yo, I can blow up, too!" Now that is true. But, it sure as hell won't happen by begging people to listen to your shit. Here's an example of what not to do and how to sound like a black stripper in a white girl strip club:

[Internet Rapper #1450]: Yo @SpeedontheBeat, you gotta check out my new mixtape "Hoes, Cars, and Surface Existentialist Thought" over at
1:43PM, March 6

[Internet Rapper #1450]: @SpeedontheBeat, lemme know what you think of that jawn, yo. I see you got followers.
1:45PM, March 6

[Internet Rapper #1450]: My nig @SpeedontheBeat, dawg, tell ya followers to check this shit out! PLZ!!!
1:55PM, March 6

2:10PM, March 6

Rappers: Selling the Illusion of Couth for as long as
strippers (and crazy internet women) have sold
the illusion of sex, love, and interest.

While that exact exchange hasn't occurred, it's similar to many that I've received from artists that follow me/tweets and the like I've seen artists send out to followers, bloggers, and the like. It'll often be their first tweet to me, before even a "#nowfollowing" ("#NF") tweet. Now, I've done this on occasion, I can't lie. But, I'd at least say something to the effect of:

"Hey, new follower. Good Morning/Afternoon. I hope all is well. My name is Speed on the Beat. I record rap music and I have a song out that I think you would like. It may not sound that pleasing aesthetically, because it is intentionally "no-fi," but I'm sure that you'd still like it if you can get around the scratches and pops (and even if you can't, I'd be more than happy to explain my reasoning behind it, then inquire about your thoughts after the second go-around). Can you check it out? If not, ok, I won't whore myself out to you because that dilutes what I want to do musically/personally. And, realistically, it's just going to piss you off and turn you against me before I even have the chance to be heard by you. I"

Truthfully, a lot of artists that hit me up to listen to their shit get ignored for those very reasons. I've gotten some emails from artists over the years that just say "Yo, my nigga, my shit crank. Play it NOW and spread the word" with a DatPiff link attached. This is an even worse continuation of the problem.

First of all, I have NO FREAKING CLUE who you are, so why should I care enough to listen to what you've got to say? Engage me on a personal level first. Tell me what the song is about. Tell me your life story. Hell, you can even tell me about the pet rabbit you had in fifth grade that your folks said went to the bunny farm when he really just committed suicide by nibbling on your Playstation while you were outside huffing paint. You can even tell me why you want to punch your sorority sisters in the babymaker, Rebecca Martinson-Style. Just tell me SOMETHING other than "I rap, listen to my shit, fam." A bit of interaction outside of "LISTEN TO ME!" goes a long way.

Secondly, I'm not your "nigga," I'm not your "homie," your "dawg," your "cuz," your "fam" or what have you. Don't make the first interaction someone has with you be your last because you decide to begin an email/tweet by acting familiar with someone you know as well as a hole in the wall. Plus, I can't speak for other bloggers/critics/artists, but I hate when someone calls me a "nigga" right out the gate. It just rubs me the wrong way.

Third, it helps if you write a submission in proper English. I've gotten feedback from bloggers on my requests. Now, my requests aren't perfect. Some would argue that they can get wordy, which I cop to. But the consensus is that, due to having a grasp of the English language outside of "da streetz," I am more likely to get noticed and my submissions more likely to be read, even if they aren't featured. In short, if you can't type a coherent paragraph about your submission (AND THAT INCLUDES TYPING IN ALL CAPS), either don't send it or have someone else type it for you and act as your PR Rep/transcriber.

Fourthly, and potentially one of the most important outside of the obvious, using a DatPiff link as your secondary source of material is great. But, know this: almost every-fucking-Goddamned-body that says they "rap" has a mixtape on DatPiff.
Some rappers are like locusts.
Except they bug you every day,
not every seventeen years.
No disrespect to DatPiff, because they've revolutionized the digital mixtape. But, having a tape on DatPiff and flaunting it as your crowning achievement/primary source of music is akin to those little "Participant" trophies and ribbons youth sports leagues give out to the slow, short, fat kid who played once when the team was up 80-1 in the bottom of the ninth. It's the rap equivalent of "Cool Story, Bro." Even if it's done decent numbers, it's the same story.

Plus, if it's on DatPiff, chances are it has a million freestyles over beats that everyone and their gay uncle have spat bars over. No blogger wants to hear a million freestyles about money, hoes, and surface-level philosophizing over the "I Really Mean It" instrumental. Hell, most people, period, don't want to hear "Young Rapper" spitting simplistic bars over a well-known song. In the early portion of the 2000s, it worked wonders. Why? Because not everyone was recording "freestyles" over everyone else's beat. Now, with the advent of digital music, instrumentals being readily available to almost anyone with an email address, and recording equipment being cheaper than a Baltimore Street prostitute, it's lost its effect.
I swear, if I hear another "Started from the Bottom"
freestyle, I will (potentially) kill myself.

In closing, I hope that you take notice of these words and act with them in mind the next time you submit a song to a blogger or ask someone to listen to it. If not, there's a reason people sleep on you. They've got in earplugs.

Speed on the Beat
Blogger, Critic, and Artist.

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