Is Producing Hip Hop Music What You Really Want To Do?

  1. Fade

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    For the longest time, I've had the title of this article written down somewhere and I was debating as to whether or not to write it. Music is a big part of my life and I'm sure yours too, and music production is a big passion that I can never give up.

    There's plenty of things you could be doing with your life besides music, but no matter what it is you do every day to pay the bills, you always seem to come back to one thing - music. Making beats, producing music and working with artists is something fun, exciting and possibly life changing. But is producing music what you really want to do?


    IllMuzik

    Over the years, I've seen many members come and go right here at IllMuzik. Some members return after a few years, and some disappear after only a few weeks. It always makes me wonder though, if any of those members are serious about making music. It's not whether or not they're serious, but more or less if they want to do this for a living or as a hobby. That is the question I'm posing.

    I have seen many members (mainly young ones) post about how they just bought a new MPC, turntables, Maschine, Pro Tools, and anything else you can think of when it comes to producing music, and they take this music thing very seriously, as if they're ready to make a living from making beats. I usually shake my head at people like that, but now I ask myself if they're delusional, or actually serious about it.

    There Are No Guarantees in the Music Industry

    Most people don't realize that it's not enough to just make music. You have to really hustle a lot, every single day until you make that proper connection that will help you get to the next level. I don't mean get to the top, where you're selling $20,000 beats to the best rappers in the world. I'm just talking about getting to the next step, and that could mean just making another connection.

    I completely understand when someone, especially someone who is very young, decides to get into beatmaking, as well as producing. It's something that easily starts off as an addictive hobby, and then slowly transitions into a possible career, but that's such a long stretch. You have to look at music production like you do when you look at sports.

    There are tons of really good basketball players on courts all over the world, shooting all day and night, practicing their dribbling skills, and playing every single day until they collapse from exhaustion. But only a small fraction of them will ever make it to the NBA.

    As for producing music, have you ever wondered why there's only a small percentage of top producers in the game right now? That's because they're like the few that have made it to the starting lineup on an NBA team. The rest are second string.

    So the question, "is producing Hip Hop music what you really want to do?", shouldn't be answered with a quick "Hell ya, Hip Hop is in my blood!", but rather it should be thoroughly thought out.

    Hip Hop of the 1990's

    The 90's brought in a lot of really top notch, dope Hip Hop production. It seemed to me that every single week there was another dope track that made its way into record stores, on 12" vinyl to be exact. There were new producers, rappers, and deejays popping up and 99% of them were just dope.

    I think that's why a lot of people got into producing music back then, because they wanted to dive in and produce dope beats like they were hearing on the radio every day. Today though, it seems most get into producing because it's fun or they really think they can be the next big thing.

    As I mentioned previously, I've seen many come and go and most of them have dreams of "making it big", but then they quietly disappear and are never to be heard from again. Some end up moving on in life because they realized that producing music isn't for them, or they weren't making enough money from it.

    For me, it's a passion/calling. I get the feeling that in the back of my mind, and deep down into my gut, I'm hoping to make a living from it, but I just don't know if it's for me. Or maybe I'm scared of going that far in the production game, for fear that I might lose my way and purpose in making music. It might become a chore and maybe it won't be fun for me any longer. Who knows.

    Hobby, Passion, Calling

    I have always strongly believed that producing music, whether it's something that you're doing as a hobby or for a living, should be done because you love it, plain and simple. If you're producing music because you want to be popular and make lots of money, you might obtain that status and have a big bank account, but you will most likely end up sucking in the end.

    If you produce music strictly for the love of it, then money won't be an issue, thus you will succeed.

    A hobby is something you do on a regular basis for fun, a passion is something that you have a strong need to do, and your calling - well, you basically will die for music.

    So, is producing Hip Hop music what you really want to do?

    Further Reading Related to Hip Hop Production

     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016
  2. Koey

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    Great article Fade. This shit spoke to me lol because I can relate to it. My dad snapped some sense in to me when I was younger because I was so gung ho about making this my living. The sports analogy is perfect. It took me a while to actually self-reflect and realize that this was most likely going to be a hobby of mine, but it's a good thing I figured it out early or I might of been financially screwed.
     
  3. Fade

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    Glad to hear that it worked out for you. It's tough to realize that it could very well just be a hobby, rather than a full time job. It doesn't mean that you can't make money from producing, because it could easily be a side gig, along with a regular part time job, for example.
     
  4. Maknbeats

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    Dope article Fade! Just make sure you always have a plan, one that makes sense to yourself and one that you can execute. Of course luck is in play to many success, but I believe you create your own luck... Along with the fad of cats wanting to be make music to be famous or just to be cool is huge byproduct (along with media) of how easy it has become to make 'music'. Everything is at your fingertips through a laptop and some midi hardware. Back in the day when even the first MIDI was created, It wasn't as easy as just switching your input preferences on. It was much more complex and you had to have much more patience to get the sound you were looking for. We are all about instant gratification now and that rubs off on the music. That being said, I'm not knocking anyone who uses VST's, because I do almost every session and damn does it make a difference! A problem is that we are no longer becoming experts of one piece of equip & then naturally progressing. It's almost a forced progression by getting the latest equip as soon as it's out just to fit in only assuming the pro's are using it so we must have IT to MAKE IT. We end up with all these programs and aren't mastering them all. If it was diagnosis it would probably be known as ProducerADD! Side Tangent I know, but i've thought about this a lot and think it fits in with the convo! Just know your destination and start taking the path their!
     
  5. frinko

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    So many people are in it for the wrong thing, of course we'd all love to be known as great someday but that just can't happen.
     
  6. hardboiled

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    Deep article. If you have a calling to make music THE MUSIC in and of itself is the reward because as MOST producers know you don't get money, girls, or love for making it. Yeah I played a few tunes on guitar that got girls into bed, but more often than not I've spent alot more hours alone practicing guitar and making beats because it's just what I do. I even tried to get rid of all my gear once because I was sick of everything I was putting into it. But you come back to the things you love, and it's only stronger because you understand that love even more. So I'm glad I've discovered music is what I do. I work with rappers and singers and make beats and make a living doing something else but whatevs. I'm a beast and those that take a minute to listen will realize it
     
  7. Dub1Beatz

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    To answer this Question Honestly....I dont know. Ive been Producing and Writing music for well over 12 yrs. in those 12 yrs ive played with Live Bands in Highschool and out of highschool. After Highschool was when i got involved in music production and started creating tracks. Later on I got with a small company thats well connected in the industry and develops software, Construction Loopsets and Drumkits for artists and producers. I made alittle bit of money off of that...mostly Pennies....ive gotten a few placements here and there through this company with some major artists as well as placements with TV networks and such....Ive only been working with the company for 3 or 4 yrs...in the 4 yrs that ive been working with them...i wasnt really expecting to be sitting in a studio with Jay Z or Pharrell or anything like that...If Anything...I was looking to Find my Signature Sound and I guess Progress in my craft, gain more knowledge in the studio and just flatout "GET BETTER" at what i was doing and hopefully by now be on a whole new level in my music. But I guess when you work with a small company that starts getting alot of money from the products that some of us helped develop, I guess the higher ups start forgetting who was there from the beginning to help with everything and you get put on the back burner for whatever reason. And then when you Question their Actions...All of a Sudden YOUR the bad person...and then they start calling you ONLY when they need you to meet there bullshit Demands...and then all of a Sudden your Royalty Checks are Shorter than before...part of it is Because with all the shit They put me through i just didnt have the Drive to keep On producing and developing Products for them. It Felt like i was a Slave and I was only called on for certain tasks and then rushed back into my cubbyhole or whatever until further notice. then Months later when your probably not even thinking of them...all of a sudden they need your help.

    This is kinda where i Question my passion for this, Im aware of the Fact that money isnt everything. and That everything shouldnt always be about money..but when you have someone making empty promises and sugarcoating their bullshit reasons as to why your Royalties came Late or why their not able to help you generate multiple sources of residual Income through music licensing and things like that because apparently they have their own agendas and arent really concerned with anyone elses. Thats when I Realized that I think i was most at peace when it wasnt about the money. In the Beginning...the main goal was to get me working on music to the point that I could quit my 9-5 job and just focus on music completely in order to generate different sources of income. But 3 yrs Later....here i am...still producing...not as much as before...working yet ANOTHER 9-5 job...with music being just "something on the side" when i expected it to be something more. It Makes me question sometimes... "should i just say fuck it and quit?" and in the midst of me thinking about all of this...I hear a song that i have co produced on the radio and then i start thinking to myself "why the hell am i thinking about this?" "Do I hate music so much that im willing to let it all go for good?...I honestly dont know) So i guess the Real Question is...Do i keep at it and see what happens...or do i say Fuck them and look at other options?