It’s a question I’ve been battling with since I first decided to “go ham” on Ephixa’s Zelda remixes, but I had been rapping for a while before that. Was it impulsive? Did I plan it? Did I know it would go somewhat viral? Was I just bored?
Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing from the fall of 2009 (when I started rapping) to the summer of 2011. For two years, I had no idea how this shit worked. When I started rapping and putting tracks on Youtube, I was completely ignorant to everything. I just saw some videos and songs got big on Youtube. “Okay, cool, I’ll try that.” I didn’t know there was a huge gaming community online. I didn’t know that dubstep was getting popular. I didn’t even know what a meme was till about a year and a half ago.
If you go all the way back to my facebook posts, I used to just post the video links to what little fanbase I had and that’s it. As in, I wouldn’t ask any questions, type up little blog rants and show it to you, or have you guys vote for stuff. No, I just posted the video and carried on about my day.
I was still stuck in reality. The only thing I knew about the internet was indie music, free games for when you’re bored at school, porn, school research (wikipedia), and conspiracy theories. I think we were all at this stage at one point when we first started exploring the internet, but my point is that I didn’t know anything about Youtube or even how to produce high quality music.
Here are some little tips I learned about the internet after 2011: upload on a schedule, upload high quality shit, engage your listeners on every site, don’t post multiple things on facebook but do whatever you want on twitter. The list goes on. I see people still making the mistakes I did and I know they’ll figure it out as well (or you just did cause I told you).
Not only did I not know these things about the internet or Youtube, I didn’t know how to produce well until about a year and a half ago. Some of you are kind and open-minded to my first albums and think they are listenable, but I look back and see just how much I half-assed all of it. I was so bent on just getting my music out there that I didn’t do any research, I didn’t listen to my teachers, I didn’t watch any tutorials. I just assumed I knew all the shortcuts and my shitty headphones were completely accurate. Nope.
When you try to pitch your shit-quality music as a rapper (and you’re not an indie noise pop artist) to blogs and other big websites that you get all your indie rap music from, guess what. All 39 of them will ignore you, except maybe one because he feels bad for you. What he told me is the reason why I rap about video games. He said, “I’m sorry but I can’t post about your music. You have the potential, but it’s not there yet.” I asked him what I could do better, but I knew a busy music blog writer wasn’t going to give me a grocery list that included how to actually process vocals and EQ synths and basses and render a 24-bit .wav to master. He said, “Just be prolific. Learn as much as you can. I’m sure I’ll see you here again after that.”
I knew what I needed to do. I needed to produce foliage. I didn’t know how I would become a plant, but I was going to try. Lol anyway, I needed to make even MORE music. I needed more reasons for people to find me even though I was already half-assing it all to get it out there more quickly. I saw some rappers on the internet that would make like little rap remixes of popular songs that sucked and I thought, why not make rap remixes of songs I like? I needed to be prolific and make more stuff, so I did. Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters Nice Sprites” only had a million views and I liked that song, so I rapped over it. Some dude named Ephixa made some sick Zelda remixes and it had a couple hundred thousand hits and it was one of my favorite games, so I rapped over it.
I was just doing what I liked and made sure no one else was doing it and I put the most effort and time into my lyrics than my producing or processing or being internet-savvy or doing research. When I was done, I would go study or hang out with people that didn’t know what Reddit was and go back to using the internet for indie music, porn, conspiracy theories, and school research. The end.
It was only after the Zelda remix that I would meet everyone I know, get tens of thousands of subscribers in less than a couple months, be asked to rap over other producers’ songs even though I STILL didn’t know how to process vocals with a shitty microphone, a shitty laptop, and shitty headphones. I sound like the asian guy from South Park.
Let me summarize it this way: I WAS AN INDIE RAPPER WHO DID NOT KNOW HOW TO PRODUCE PROPERLY, THEREFORE, I HAD NO RELATIONSHIPS WITH ANY BLOGS, RECORD LABELS, OR PROMOTION CHANNELS NOR WAS I GOING TO ACHIEVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM ANYTIME SOON, SO NO ONE WAS GOING TO HEAR MY MUSIC AND I DID NOT KNOW THE GAMING COMMUNITY WAS SO WELL-CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET AND MORE WILLING TO SHARE THINGS NO MATTER THE QUALITY, SO I WOULD NOT HAVE GOTTEN THIS AUDIENCE THIS QUICKLY IF I HAD NEVER TRIED TO BE PROLIFIC. IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN MANY YEARS AND I WOULD BE WORKING FOR SOMEONE ELSE INSTEAD OF MYSELF WHILE SADLY TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHY I’M NOT FAMOUS AND THEN I WOULD BECOME DESPERATE ENOUGH TO RAP ABOUT IT.
Sorry for the all caps, but it needed to stand out as the thesis (don’t do that for school essays). I know it took a while to get to it, but that’s the jist. You probably wouldn’t be reading this if I hadn’t done it. Maybe you were a gamer and I helped you realize you like indie rap. Maybe you were a gamer who had subscribed to me two years ago and hadn’t even checked out my other tunes…ahem…or maybe you were an indie head who found me before Zelda and thought I sold out now…I sold out…by rapping about video games…
But I can’t dwell on the past. I can’t think, “I would be way further in the game if I had known what I was doing back then.” No shit Sherlock, of course you would, we all would. Anyone would take the knowledge they have now and redo the past. Maybe you’re wondering why I didn’t just go to a studio and have an engineer process my vocals for me. Well, I STILL would not have been as prolific. I worked for a recording studio. You have to book the time and wait on THEIR schedule, then you have to pay for the time, then you have to feel a bit self-conscious cause they’re listening to you rapping about rape, politics, robots, and video games, then you don’t learn anything on your own – I HAVE MADE OVER 168 REASONS FOR PEOPLE TO FIND ME, IT WAS TOO RISKY TO WORK WITH A STUDIO AND NOT GO BROKE MAKING INDIE RAP…AND I was cheap cause I wasn’t being paid to graduate college on a full-time schedule. I just didn’t have the time, patience, or finances to wait for someone else. I couldn’t even afford an HD cam. Back then, the Panasonic SD cam I had costs me like $300 and the AT4040 mic costs like $600 and they were total shit. Look how much they cost now! Then I would just make a quick video in iMovie and upload it whenever, only post the link on Facebook, then go about my day thinking my goal in life was to work for someone else.
That is why I rap about video games. My audience is not made up of people who only use the internet for porn, school research, and conspiracy theories. They use it for everything. Now I do too. It took me a while to see the light (get it? cuz of Zelda rap 😀 ) but I had to figure it out at some point and I had to make a career for myself and meet all these beautiful people that I work with.
So when my sister’s boyfriend tells me, “You rap about video games? Eh, I wouldn’t want to be known for that.” I say, “Well, what are you known for?”