How to Make a Successful Hip Hop Album
The Hit Single
Any hip hop album begins with a hit single. This sets the tone and builds anticipation for the album. First off, the beat has to be tight, if you can’t get someone’s head bobbing withing10-20 sec., forget about it. The hook must also be catchy. Even the most cheesiest of songs have memorable hooks. If people leave and find themselves casually singing the hook, you have a hit single. And not just one hit single will do. These days, much like building a championship team, your hip hop album must have multiple hits that get a club hype and gets crazy radio spins.
Now that you have drawn the listener in with the hit single, or the appetizer, it's time for the main course. Anybody can make a hit single or two, but can you create supporting songs of substance? The best hip hop albums have been those where the supporting songs are just as good as the hit singles. These are the songs that can make or break a hit hip hop album. Besides, no one plays the hit singles anyway because they already hear it all the time in clubs and on the radio.
OK, so you have a collection of songs ready for your album, but do they relate? Are they just a collection of random songs thrown together, or do they follow a theme. If you can tell a story with your hip hop album, then you have succeeded. The Chronic, by Dr.Dre is a great example of this. As well as Ready to Die. These albums were memorable because they took on a trip into their world.
First making their way on the scene in the early 90's. Skits were great ways to add intermissions to a hip hop album. They can range from a recorded phone call, a scene on the street, or something serious. For example, on Tha Carter, Lil Wayne takes us through The Carter, from the garden with Miss Cetha, to Lil Marley in the hallways, to the bedroom. When used properly, skits can assist in making your theme stronger.
Let's talk lyrics. What are you talking about on your album? Is it all bling bling & women, or do you have something of substance to say. Style also comes in to play here. Are you unique or just conforming to what everybody else is doing. This doesn't mean that every song has to be a lyrical masterpiece, but the good artist can flow to any subject, serious or playful.
“You wanna reach the nation nigga start from ya corner.”
- Big Boi of Outkast from the song Humble Mumble.
As with any grind, you have to put in work! The rap game is no different. To have a successful album, you first have to create buzz. In other words, you have to get the ear of the streets. Get on all the mixtapes you can. Remember, the goal is to flood the streets! Even Lil’ Wayne who is on the top of his game, puts out maybe more mixes than any other rapper.
There you have it, the blueprint to a successful hip hop album!