Money, money, money. It's what motivates everyone in the world, and without it there's not much you can do. In the music industry, money is the backbone, not the music. However, money isn't everything because sometimes it's best to focus on the music and let the money come later. I Have A Story To Tell I'm going to tell you a story about two rappers: Rapper A and Rapper B. Both of them are nice on the mic and they're both hungry to get into the industry and make a name for themselves. But there's one big difference - money. Rapper A is ready to pay for some beats from beatmakers, but Rapper B is not. Who would you work with? Most of you would say Rapper A, but for me the answer would be Rapper B. Here's why. Beats Are Not Free I'll bet when you saw the title of this article you thought it was going to be about how rappers are cheap and don't want to spend money. Instead, it's not about that. It's about how some rappers are willing to dish out the cash for beats and others don't, but there's a twist. Normally when a rapper doesn't want to pay for beats, it's because they're cheap and they always have excuses as to why they can't pay. Most of the time, this is the case. But then there's some rappers that CAN'T pay. There's a big difference between someone who can't and someone who won't. The ones that can't pay are not going to ask for free beats, they're the ones that will ask to work with you. The ones that won't pay are not people you want to work with. But how do you tell if they're just cheap or can't pay? It can be difficult, but overall it should be your gut instinct (and common sense) that tells you if this rapper is full of shit or not. For the rappers that CAN pay, what do you do? Sell them your beats! These are the ones that you use as a means to make some money. If they want to buy your beats and do what they want with it, then why not go for it? Some of you beatmakers may argue that you don't want just anyone on your beat, but that's why you should be selling them only beats that you want to sell. The really good beats are the ones you save for an artist you want to work with. You're A Hip Hop Producer The Rap game is a tough one and we all know that rappers are a dime a dozen. It's good to sell beats because it's a nice way to make some money, but if you want to really go far with your music, your best bet is to work with the artist, not just sell them beats. This is when it's time to label yourself as a producer, rather than a beatmaker. You can be both, and most likely you already are. Producers are those that work with the artist and not only give them the beat, but they mold the artist and the music so that they sound great together. I'm not going to lie to you though, it's a tough road, but in the long run it can be much more profitable to you than just selling beats. Rappers Looking For Beats Most rappers don't get free beats because a producer or beatmaker isn't going to give their hard work away unless they can get something in return. This is why when a producer finally does work with an artist, what they're getting back is an investment because they believe that artist has talent and together they can do a lot of damage in the studio. It can be very hard to find a dope rapper that you want to work with because a lot of them are not that good. A long time ago, there were plenty of really good rappers out on the street but now because of how the industry is, combined with the internet - everyone thinks they can rap. This is why it's very difficult to find someone who's worth your time. I see it quite often where a producer/beatmaker is looking to work with an artist, and I get it. It's your music that you spent a lot of time creating, and you don't want to just sell it. Instead, you want your music to stand out and be remembered. I understand where you're coming from. The problem is that you may never find a suitable artist for your beats. This is why it's perfectly fine to sell your beats. Just make sure you don't give them away! What To Do When A Rapper Wants Free Beats It's simple: say no. They can have all the excuses in the world, but none of them matter. If they keep pushing you to hit them up with free beats, you could reply and find out if they ask for free bread at the grocery store, or free gas at the gas station. I'm assuming their answer will be "no". They have to understand that you're running a business and can't be giving away free products. You have worked very hard to research all the hardware and software you need for your studio, plus you have spent a lot of time learning how your gear works. Don't forget all the long hours spent in the studio honing your craft. That's important too. So to all the rappers out there that are looking for free beats: don't. Not unless you're that dope and want to actually work with a producer to make some great music. But if you're just looking for beats so you can put together a mixtape to play for your friends, you're wasting everyone's time. Either step up or step aside.