Poetics is one of the top producers in Christian rap, He decided to write this helpful guide for fellow producers. Read, learn, share!
A lot of people have been in my DMs recently asking how I have received the placements I have. So I figured, what is a better way than to type up some tips for producers. I love the Christian rap community and would be nothing without it, and I want to see this community prosper. There is room for so many of us to thrive if we just get our business right!
Managers come first
If you want a big placement and are reaching out to an artist with a developed following it is likely they have a manager. Finding out who this is is usually pretty easy. Google, “(insert artist name) management” and you can usually find their management company or their manager’s number/email easily. Another way to find a manager is to basically stalk their Instagram. They will often post pictures with their manager, or put the manager in the bio, or where to contact. If an artist puts in their bio “Features/booking: (insert email)” then it is not worth it to DM the artist directly.
If the artist you want to produce for doesn’t have a manager this limits our options. The best way to find where to send beats is to find their email. Often an artist will have made a post at some point saying “Send beats: (insert email),” but if they haven’t then as a last resort send them a direct message on Instagram or Twitter. Be very polite and straight to the point. “I have beats I would like to send your way.”
There are a few options I have seen amongst the Christian hip-hop community I would not recommend. DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT, DM a spouse or parent of that artist saying, “I want to send beats to this artist.” That is a big no-no. I have known producers who did this with good intention, and have been blocked. Another option I do not recommend is making a post of a beat and saying “I want (insert artist) to hear this! I need all of you to spam their account in the comment section.” This comes off super unprofessional and I know artists that have blocked producers for this.
Go to a dang concert
You want to know the best way to get an artist to know who you are. Meet them at a show. They are more likely to build a real connection with you at a show because you put a little bit of money in their pocket. You really want a connection, buy some merch, bring a friend, or buy a V.I.P. ticket. Most of the best connections I have had turn into placements were because I bought a V.I.P. ticket, met the artist backstage, and told them I loved their music and wanted to send them beats. Usually, if you do this you will get the artist’s direct email which is much more beneficial than a manager email.
Build a real connection
Most people that know me, know me because of the songs I have produced for Canon. Specifically “Good to Go pt. 2” and “Nino Brown,” but did you know I had met him and talked to him several times before he ever even knew I did production? I had met him several times and offered to run merch tables for him. We built a real connection, and it wasn’t until we were traveling for a show that he knew I made beats. I didn’t spam him, I didn’t demand he listen to beats, it happened naturally. Offer something of value to an artist before you ever ask for their time. DM them first asking if they need help for a merch table at a show. Buy a VIP ticket, post their music, show them value before you ask for anything.
Know your worth
A lot of producers use the term to, let’s be honest, charge ridiculous prices. Producers will have zero placements, little to no following, and be requesting the same prices as producers who have had hundreds of placements with artists with huge fanbases. It makes sense that you want to be paid for what you are doing, but even if your beat is dope you don’t have the resume to back it up. People are just going to go elsewhere.
Think of it from an artist perspective. Let’s say I am signed to an indie label, and they give me $500 to make a new single. Am I going to put $400 in a pocket of a producer nobody has heard of? Even if the beat is fire, I could get a beat for $250 from a fire producer who has had tons of placements, and when people hear his tag or see that he shared it, it will get more buzz for my single.
Collaborate with producers
If you are an up and coming producer collaborate with a producer who works with somebody you want to work with. Before I had ever produced something for anybody at RMG, I had made collab beats with some of their producers. I was sending them loops to multiple people who had produced for them. This is a great way to get new connects with artists. You have connections they might want with some artists, they have connections you want. Also, this will help you get out of your own sound. You might branch out and end up making a beat in a style you aren’t used to at all which will help diversify your portfolio.
Quit being cheap
One time when I was messing around in Derek Minor’s studio, he showed me some plugins I hadn’t heard of before. One specifically was called keyscape. Keyscape at the time was about $400. I was telling him, “Man I wish I had these sounds.” He said, “Just buy it. You’ll make the money back,” and man that was the truth. I bought the plugin, developed new styles of beats and sound quality I didn’t have before and have since had many more placements. If you don’t have new fresh sounds to compare with what the top producers are using then you won’t be able to get the same placements as them. Keyscape is one of the main plugins used by Nick Mira. Nick Mira produces hits and hits for Juice Wrld. Do you want the same sounds as him? Then buy the same plugins.
Every once in a while you have to work for free
Free is a big scary word for a lot of people in the music industry. “I can’t be working for free.” Well you can, it just depends on if your value is 100% in money. In early 2018, KJ-52 was working on his album Jonah Pt. 2, and I really wanted to get a beat on there. At the time this would have been by far the biggest placement I had.
I sent him beats and he said, “Just so you know the album is already done and my budget is gone.” I told him, “Don’t worry about it, listen to the beats and we will talk about it after.” He found a beat he really liked, so I told him, “Feel free to use it, just keep my tag on there and tag me in some posts about it.” It would have been really easy as a producer to say “NO. I CHARGE $300 A BEAT. HIT ME UP WHEN YOU HAVE MONEY READY.” Sometimes that is just not how the industry works.
Since then I have had a placement on two KJ-52 albums. We have hosted contests together, and are about to release a full album together. A lot of producers would say, “You worked for free.” I don’t see it quite like that. My value wasn’t fully in just money. I got my tag on a song that to the day has 110,000 streams. I got social media attention, I got a Christian Hip-Hop legend on my resume, and a lot of future work because I was able to swallow my pride and say, “This is about more than money.”
Build up an artist
When Xay Hill and I first met each other neither of us had over 1,000 streams on anything. In fact, I don’t think either of us had over 200 streams on anything. I saw potential in him as an artist, and he saw potential in me as a producer. I didn’t hit him up saying, “I will give you a beat for x amount dollars.” We built a friendship, and we had an equal transaction. He had a fire 16 on my first ever producer single which was called “Now They Gone See.” I gave him a free beat which he used on his first project David for a song with J-Phish called “The Struggle.”
Both of these songs are nowhere near what we are doing currently, but we saw that potential in each other. It was easy and came naturally. Less than two years later we have each gathered over 500,000 streams on Spotify and have worked countless times together.
God gave you a gift, use it
Some artists blow up because of random flash in the pan occurrences, but most successful artists and producers get where they are because they outwork everybody else. Work hard, don’t make excuses, do good business, and stay in God’s plan for you. God has a specific place he wants you to be, and he will show you that plan as you explore life. Find that place God wants you to be and then go 100% toward that plan and you will see blessings flow.