How To Be A Better Rapper If You Don’t Have Fans
In today’s article we’re going to cover how to be a better a rapper if you don’t have a lot of fans already.
This is a common concern amongst beginning and up-and-coming artists, and trust me, as someone who went from writing raps in his mother’s basement to being paid to travel around the world JUST FROM RAPPING…
…I know how hard it is to dig yourself out of the self-doubt of being a “starving artist bedroom rapper” and keep going in order to eventually reach the promise of a rap career.
So, if you don’t have many fans but want to know how to be a better rapper at a professional level, this is the article for you.
Before we begin, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, “How To Rap” (by clicking HERE) because we drop weekly videos on exactly how to improve your rapping abilities to a point that you can become a professional rapper yourself…
…And if you’re already 100% sure that you want to become a professional rap artist RIGHT NOW, be sure to check out our 6-week artist development course, “Rap Tycoon” where I’ll show you exactly how to go from no job and no school to having a full-time rap career on a world tour by clicking HERE.
Step 1: Leverage “Soundalike” Communities
One of the most under-utilized tactics by all musicians online by especially rappers is marketing to the fanbases of artists THEY ALREADY SOUND LIKE.
I call these “soundalike communities” and essentially what this is means is a group of people online (or in-person) who have personally self-selected themselves as LIKING a certain TYPE of rap…
…And if there is a new artist that comes along that is inspired by their favorite artist or the same type of sound…
…That fanbase will almost be GUARANTEED to latch onto that style of artist.
It should go without saying that fanbases tend to congregate around a certain type of sound and like many rappers who fulfill that ‘sonic expectation’.
How else would certain record labels like Dreamville, TDE, or Quality Control have artists that mesh so well together?
That is because those labels know what we need to know as artists – that one of the quickest ways to build fanbases for new artists…
…In their case new signings to their label but in your case new fans for YOUR career…
…Is to align a rapper to other artists who have a similar SOUND to them that will likely increase the chances that the old artist’s fans will like the NEW artist… because they sound alike.
Now, how do we translate that to you?
Well, the first thing you should do is try to identify not only the artists that personally inspire you, but who’s tone you are likely to have “fan overlap” with.
Be sure in this case to not let your ego get in the way though…
…A lot of times when artists hear the question, “Who do you sound like?” They think that means “Who’s style are you stealing?” Or something.
Don’t take this too personally. We’re trying to use this as an investigation into what fanbase you need to attack first so that they can become YOUR fans.
Another way to put it that might be useful for you is thinking of the question as, “Who would you remind me of?” Or “Which artist is your biggest inspiration?”
Think about that artist and write them down.
You can additionally ask friends and family that question, assuming they’ve heard your music and have a good knowledge of rap.
Now, after you have at least ONE artist, consider using a tool like Music-Map.com to find out other artists that, as the website puts it… “People who like the artist you enter might also like the other artists on the map… the closer two names are, the greater the probability people will like both artists.”
So, in our example… if you put in “Kanye West” the closest names that come up are “Frank Ocean”, “Childish Gambino”, “J. Cole”, and “Kendrick Lamar”.
Most of those artists have either worked with Kanye West directly or have specifically listed him as an influence.
Do this process for YOUR influences and then write all the names down.
After that, you can now begin the process of finding where those fanbases are most active and build a name for yourself.
There are literally 100s of Instagram pages, Subreddits, Facebook groups, and more the fanbases of your favorite artists…
…And these have THOUSANDS of followers on them. Just look up the accounts of fan pages and Reddits for rappers like Kendrick, Eminem, Kanye, Cole, etc. and there are THOUSANDS of rabid fans waiting for you to talk to them.
Now, if knowing what to SAY once you enter those soundalike communities is a big issue for those, I’ve included a free 2500 social media post ideas course along with the Rap Tycoon program I mentioned in the beginning of this video, so be sure to check that out as well by clicking HERE.
Step 2: Write “Guaranteed Themes”
Another under-utilized tactic to gain fans when someone wants to be a better rapper is making songs around themes that you ALREADY know the fans base will gravitate towards.
Look – once you’re a big bad professional success and can pay your bills ONLY from rapping, you can experiment a little bit more with concepts but until you can actually feed yourself only from rap, you should follow the path shown by other artists.
That does NOT mean to do the exact same SONGS or steal somebody’s style, but that does mean to use what we call “GUARANTEED THEMES” to your music from time to time to guarantee success.
Again, much like Step 1… you are trying to utilize what fans are already SHOW YOU THEY LIKE in order to insert yourself into their mind.
A perfect example is the theme of depression and anxiety that has become a staple in rap music over the last ten years.
Artists like Juice Wrld, XXXTentacion, Lil’ Peep, and others have essentially become successful OVERNIGHT by using these themes.
If you as an artist are looking for a way to gain fans, you could be utilized the now “guaranteed themes” of depression and anxiety in some of your songs to have those artists’ fanbases pay attention.
If you don’t think yourself as depressed, you can also use themes such as “haters doubt me” (Drake guaranteed theme) or “self belief” (Kendrick Lamar guaranteed theme).
In essence, you want to create music around things that fans will naturally gravitate towards. If you have done the hard work to get GOOD at this stuff, you should be able to create those songs with some ease.
It doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to be the ONLY types of songs you make, but if you combine guaranteed themes with attacking soundalike audiences, this is when you begin to leverage other people’s fanbases to your advantage.
Step 3: Make A “Fanbase Flip”
In a similar vein to utilize already existing fans that we’ve discussed so far, another very common option to create a fanbase or “brand” around you in something other than music and then push them towards your music as you’ve converted them into super-fans.
If you do this correctly, you will be able to nudge attention over to your music career and gain some traction where you had none.
Probably the most well known example at this point is Lil’ Nas X. Some people don’t realize that Lil’ Nas X had some clout in a strange way prior to his music blowing up in that he ran a very successful Nicki Minaj fan account…
…And so that when his music came online, he was able to nudge that attention a bit towards to his tracks and then he was able to get numbers basically from scratch as opposed to trying to get numbers as a rapper FIRST.
That’s what I call the “fanbase flip”. It doesn’t work EVERY TIME but when it does, it can be extremely profitable to you as an artist.
There’s a reason why influencers of all different backgrounds are being thrown record deals like it’s going out of style. It’s because labels know, as you should know…
…That if you have an established fanbase in one area, it just takes some proper classic marketing to move them to another.
Another recent example to think of is Logic’s move from rapper to now Twitch streamer. In his case he’s doing the reverse of rapper to gamer, but there’s no reason why you can’t go from gamer to rapper, if video gaming is you think… by doing a fanbase flip.
The main idea here is that you can build up a reputation and fanbase in one area and then through hard work push them to a music career where you once had no fans.
- Subscribe to How To Rap on YouTube
- Follow How To Rap Nation on Instagram
- Follow How To Rap Nation on Twitter
- Follow Rap Game Now on Reddit