Lil’ Wayne Teaches How To Get Signed
“He introduced me to Baby and he gave me a card… I ain’t never stop calling the number on that [thing]
There were two numbers on there: 522-3660 and 596-5109.
3660 was the office number and 5109 was Baby’s beeper number.
[They] would be in that office until at least 8-9 morning to about 8-9 and night. And after that you gotta beep ‘em.
That’s how it went with Baby and Slim and I kept beeping those [dudes].”Lil’ Wayne Interview on The Come Up (2006)
In this clip, Lil’ Wayne demonstrates the persistence and single-minded focus often required of artists in music who would like to learn how to get signed and start a music career.
In a minute, we’ll hear how Wayne teaches what to actually do once multimillionaire record label owners such as his future mentors Baby and Slim start answering the phone and invite him (or eventually you) up to the studio…
…But what we’ve just heard is an excellent breakdown by Weezy himself to explain step #1: single-minded focus.
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#1 Single-Minded Focus
Now, on How To Rap, as YouTube’s most subscribed and respected channel to learn how to rap to transition from an amateur to professional-level artist, we see a lot of “dabblers” come through the rap game.
A “dabbler” is someone who might write a song here or there, spit a freestyle, or maybe even release a quick little mixtape to get some traction.
However, you can always tell they’re not really in this for the long haul because they don’t actually execute any “follow-up” when it comes to the next steps for their career:
They’ve never tried to hire anybody to build out their street team (or their digital street team, as is becoming more common in our internet-first promotional music industry)…
They are never networking with other artists, producers, or music industry insiders to get that edge of the next potential music star…
Overall the difference between a “dabbler” and a “don” is all in the single-minded focus that is required to learn how to start a rap career and know how to get signed, if that is your path.
Even if an artist such as yourself does NOT want to get signed to a major record label and is trying to avoid the dreaded 360 contracts we’ve heard so much of recently…
(Wayne himself reportedly was the victim of some of those same shenanigans)
Step #1 of “single-minded focus” is still a mental requirement of building out your PERSONAL music empire if it’s fully independent.
But what are you going to do once that label (or those managers and agents if you’re going independent) actually picks up the phone?
That’s all revealed in…
Step #2 Chances Favors The Prepared… Musician
“I kept beeping them [cats].
I kept calling the office until they said come up to the office. And so I came up to the office and – mind you the office wasn’t nothing but like 3 little rooms.
So there was nothing in the office to do but sit around and write raps all damn day.
So that’s where the story starts. And that’s where you got Lil’ Wayne.
I sat in that office everyday ’til they said here’s the microphone.
I was 12 years of age at that time. It took them a year to record me.
I didn’t no tracks when I was 11. I ain’t gonna friend. But I did when I was 12.”Lil’ Wayne Interview on The Come-Up (2006)
There’s an old expression that goes “chance favors the prepared mind” and we’ve freaked this a little for Step #2 to say “chance favors the prepared musician”.
The more mentally and creatively prepared you are to execute songwriting and musical prowess at the moment ‘chance’ might be on your SIDE… the better.
Lil’ Wayne describes how once he actually was allowed in the studio, he did nothing but prepare himself over and over again for the next big moment in his journey (getting in front of a microphone), so that he could take advantage of that opportunity when it presented itself.
Our best method to guide you into being prepared for the moment you enter a studio with heavy hitters is our free video course, “The Top 20 Songwriting Secrets of Professional Rappers” based on 20+ years of rapping and nearly 10 years of coaching rappers on how to be write professional-level songs consistently when your chance comes into your life. You can pick up that course by clicking HERE.
In any case, the importance being prepared when your opportunity comes can not be underestimated as a musician.
It won’t always necessarily mean that you’ll have a future record label mogul like Baby give you a free studio to practice in, though.
It might be something as simple as just an opportunity to rap in front of a crowd of people to see if you can back up the “I’m up next” talk you spewed to some people in your neighborhood.
Check out J. Cole describing how he personally got his chance to work with music industry insiders as a young kid out of Fayetteville N.C.:
“There was a chance that I MIGHT get on stage.
I went to Da Skate Zone and they had a part of their show where they invited ‘all the MCs that are in the crowd if you want to get up and rock, come up!’
I’m 14. I’m the youngest dude in there. Everybody is 19, 20, 24, whatever. I get on stage as a scrawny 14 year old.
I was skinny, I sounded like a girl, my voice was high pitched.
I was nervous as hell, but as soon as they passed me the microphone… I destroyed that s**t.
I was the best on the stage with all these older dudes and that’s when the dudes from bomb shelter was like, ‘he wasn’t lying, he really got it’, and we started working and they become my mentors.”J. Cole Nardwuar Interview (2021)
Therefore, don’t limit yourself when you’re thinking of how you need to be prepared in order for “chance” to strike.
Keep your head on a swivel for people and places that will hand you the opportunity to demonstrate your skills and show that you truly are… the prepared musician…
…And one of the BEST ways to make sure you’re prepared is described by Wayne in…
#3 Take This As A Life-Changing Opportunity (Because It Is)
“I go hard in the paint with this rap [stuff]. I take it real seriously. I take every single word, every letter, every sentence, every phrase, every quote, every verse, every bridge, every intro, every outro… personally. So, if you’re a fan of me, know that you get the full me.”Lil’ Wayne Interview on The Come-Up (2006)
Remember how we started this article describing the “dabbler” mentality?
Lil’ Wayne is coming straight for the necks of “dabblers” in music by describing not only his own personal level of commitment to the music he’s making…
…But step-by-step describing just how seriously he takes every single section of the song, going so far as to list basically every POSSIBLE portion of a track and how seriously he takes it…
“I take every single word, every letter, every sentence, every phrase, every quote, every verse, every bridge, every intro, every outro… personally.”Lil’ Wayne Interview On The Come-Up (2006)
If you’re not taking each song as a life-changing opportunity, you might fall behind in your journey to learn how to start a rap career.
Give The Full Authentic You To The Music
Additionally, record labels and fans truly don’t want another carbon-copy rapper, even if you see a few one-hit wonders these days getting away with a charting track or two.
If you want to get to that GOAT level status as an artist, you’re going to have to do a LOT more than simply regurgitate the same style of bars. You’re going to have to give the full authentic you to the music as Wayne describes here.
In fact, Kendrick Lamar echos a similar sentiment when he describes how he approaches authenticity in his music:
“A lot of times I have to block out a lot of needs and wants just for my own selfish wants and thoughts but at the end of the day you’re going to know it comes from a real place
I’m unapologetic, I’m not compromising, and it’s going to feel me.”Kendrick Lamar, Rick Rubin Interview
So, the combination of your ability to be both authentic and take your music extremely seriously:
Every section of the song, every phrase, every quote, and so on as Lil’ Wayne AND Kendrick have no described…
The better off you’ll be for it.
How To Get Signed: Label or Independent?
Now, over the last few years many people have started to question the utility of even signing to a record label.
They believe that the label system is broken, the industry is shady, and it’s not worth it to even try to align with a game they see as ‘snakes and fake’s, but rather go independent.
This makes sense in our eyes here at Rap Game Now, and this is why we’ve formatting this video in such a way that you can still implement the Lil’ Wayne, Kendrick, and J. Cole mentality into your music journey…
…WITHOUT feeling forced to “sign” if you don’t want to or get stuck in a bad contract.
No matter which way you cut it, you’re going to need:
- Single-Minded Focus
- Creative Preparation
- Life-Changing Hustle and Authenticity
If you want to make it in this game. Take it from us.