For the independent hip hop artist, or any entertainer for that matter, the most important thing is figuring out how to break through that wall of noise between you and your audience. This is no easy task, either. The wall consists of three smaller ones cemented together - too high to go over, and dug in too deep to go under. So the only option available is to go through it.
The first layer is as solid as brick, and is the thickest of the parts, though nowhere near the hardest. It's reinforced with rows of steel beams. So after you chip through a little brick, you'll have to cut through the beams, then go back to chipping through brick until you get to the next beam.
The next one is similar to a thin layer of glass, so it's easy to look right through it; however, this can be a dangerous misstep. Some artists fail to notice it and, doing their best impression of a pigeon without its bearings, smash right into the wall. Others shatter the wall completely, eventually being slowed down by shards of glass lodged into their bodies. Both are extremely ineffective.
The last wall is the equivalent of reinforced steel that's not much thicker than the previous one, but is stronger than the other two put together. You can't see through it, or hear what's on the other side of it. Also, the layer is equipped with artificial intelligence that eventually adapts to whatever method is used to break, bust, or drill through it.
As if these weren't hard enough to get through on their own, things are complicated further by all of the other folks that are on the same journey as you. So now you're in a race to get there before everyone else, and that leads to a log jam because all of them are seeing the same way as you.
Sounds like some hard shit right? Well, it is. The music business is an extremely competitive and challenging arena that off of default creates more and more obstacles which, in turn, expands the division between the artist and the audience. For the independent, every division seems galaxies apart, and due to lack of finances and opportunity, those galaxies are expanding exponentially.
Despite that, you have to figure out how to make it happen. This is your dream, this is your destiny. It's up to you to figure out your production and studio costs (First Wall), the best and most cost effective way to manufacture your music (Second Wall), and how to market it to your audience (Third Wall). So shut the hell up and make it happen (a little self therapy).
Before I go I would like to leave you all with a couple of things that have helped me:
First Wall - Cut costs, cut costs, cut costs! The worst thing that you could do is make the studio stage of your album the most expensive. So don't do it.
Second Wall - Be realistic.
Third Wall - This is the last thing between you and your audience, which makes it the most important. Not getting through this final obstacle makes surpassing the previous two meaningless. Let's call this wall marketing.
Quanstar is an American underground hip hop artist, indie filmmaker, comic creator, and self published author from Atlanta.