Rappers, emcees, MC's, lyricists, spit specialists (okay I made that one up), but whatever you want to call them, rappers are a special breed. Essentially all they need is a pen and some paper to get themselves started in the rap game, plus of course this thing called "talent". I've seen my share of live rap performances and time after time I notice the same things that bug the hell out of me and that I think should be corrected. Note to rappers reading this article: just because everyone else does it, doesn't mean you should too!
1. Covering the top of the microphone
This is probably the biggest thing that bothers me when I see a rapper live on stage. They always forget that people are coming to your show to see and HEAR you, and they obviously can't hear you if you're covering the mic cone. If you are doing this, then all people will hear is "MAUAHC SOLAPPST YYYEEAA INUNTR840$%#". It doesn't help that at pretty much all live rap shows, the sound engineer has no clue on how to EQ rap music so he just cranks up the bass and puts the microphone level to +438dB. We want to hear YOU, not mumbling and screaming.
2. Carrying a towel
I understand that performing live is a tiring experience, especially with a bunch of lights beaming down on you like an alien mothership trying to suck you up and whisk you away to be probed, but that doesn't mean you need to carry an extra large WHITE towel in your hand, waiving it around like it's a hip hop flag. Wearing it in your back pocket is even worse, so is wearing it over your head like as if you just dropped 40 points in game 7 of the NBA Finals. If you're sweating that's understandable, so just have a towel there to wipe your face as needed, very simple.
Nobody cares about what the next song is about or if it's on your next album or not. All people care about is hearing good music and enjoying a good live performance. I didn't come to see a stand-up comedy show either, you're not a comedian. And please don't introduce each song before you perform it, it ruins the whole vibe when you go from one song, then stop, talk, then do another song. That shit gets old fast.
4. Having everyone you know on stage with you
This is a big one. I've seen MC Whomever do it, all the way to the Wu-Tang. This is a big no-no because by having so many people on the stage creates many problems such as:
- The stage could collapse.
- Nobody knows who's who.
- Everyone has a microphone so everyone is saying something at the same time.
5. Showing up late
Ugh. I mean, really? Who started this shit? Rap shows are always known to start late, and I mean LATE, but why? I don't know who started this but if you're too busy to show up to your own show on time, or too high in the back to even make it on stage at said time then the promoter should be able to take his money back and karate chop you in the throat. Show up on time, you know why? Because lots of people are standing there waiting for you to perform. And you know what? They showed up on time.
6. Trying to get the crowd involved even though you suck
By all means, you should get the crowd involved because that's one of the best ways to pull off a great performance. However, if you're bombing terribly and nobody's feeling you, don't try to get people to "wave your hands in the air/wave them like you just don't care" because all you're going to do is make things worse. Don't try to get people to jump up and down and by no means, please, don't get them to shout something back because once you point the microphone at them and there's silence, you'll look like a failure.