Updated: Oct 17, 2019
The saying is true: it's not how talented you are in the industry, it's who you know. You could be the greatest rapper the world's never heard, and it wouldn't matter unless you went viral or were at the right place at the right time. Because of this, it's important to perform every chance you get, because you never know who could be there. An obvious way to propel yourself to fame is by knowing people who are already famous, so I came up with some tips on how to get a rap feature.
Unfortunately, not everybody has the luxury of bumping into famous artists on the street. It's quite unlikely that you grab lunch with Ludacris or coffee with Chris Brown. If you don't have any connections, how can you possibly land any features with well-known artists? Sometimes, it's not as hard as you think.
1. Find a contact for the artist or the artist's team. For lesser known artists or rappers who aren't currently at their "peak," it's common to find their email addresses on their Twitter page. Some artists that are easy to contact include rappers that used to be signed to major labels or rappers from old school groups that have since wound down. If you can't find a contact on Twitter, head on over to the artist's official website and look for a contact. Sometimes, the artist themselves read the messages, and other times members of their crew relay the message for you. Either way, you don't know unless you try.
2. Compose a individualized message for each person you contact. If you copy and paste something generic and impersonal, the artist will not only know about it, but it will make them feel unappreciated. Take the time to talk to the artist, and tell them what inspires you. Be confident in yourself and tell them who you are. Keep it short and to the point, but don't simply drop a link and run. Treat them like human beings and they will respond like human beings. Don't get discouraged if you don't get a response. It is likely that the rapper is too busy to work on a feature or is just not interested, but that's okay. You won't be everybody's cup of tea. Under no circumstance should you spam the artist or harass them for turning you down or for not answering.
3. Be prepared to pay. Like any job, the artist has to make money. It takes time for a rapper to write a verse, record it, and send it back to you. They won't choose to do it for free when they have other projects they could be working on to make money. You're going to pay a couple thousand for a lesser-known feature or several thousands for artists at their prime. A year ago, I contacted Royce Da 5'9 and he was charging $50k for a verse. Don't expect it to be cheap, and realize that in order to make money, you must first spend it. Paying for a feature from someone that has a million monthly Spotify listeners is like an investment for your rap career, and if done right, you can make the money back multiple times over. You have to weigh the benefits and realize that by paying the money upfront, collaborating with a celebrity can help your music land in the right person's hands in the future.
4. Make a high-quality song. If you going to present one of your songs and ask for a feature, you'll want to make sure it sounds professional. If you have a qualified recording studio in your area, you may want to record, mix, and master there with the help of a competent sound engineer. If you're more interested in home recording, check out the Behringer Complete Recording Bundle. It comes with a condenser microphone, audio interface, and headphones for creating a studio-quality sound.
Don't give up if you don't get a response as quickly as you'd like. It's unlikely that you're going to land a guest spot on the new Eminem or Drake album. Be positive and be realistic, and invest the money now to collaborate with a celebrity to get the best return later. Once again, it's all about who you know.
*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that I will get a small commission if you purchase from my link with no extra cost to you :)*