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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?
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