S.E.A. nominated Mixtape Artist of the Year; Highway Yella has been making a positive impact in the music world. After helping Houston, TX’s Urban Goods give out five hundred book bags for back to school kids in August, Highway Yella started September off with more positivity.
Traveling to Atlanta, GA for his first appearance on Dirty Glove Bastard’s interview series, “Off The Porch,” found Highway Yella in good spirits. Not only is Yella the first SwishaHouse artist to appear on “Off The Porch,” he might also be the first to have his son appear with him.
“Man I just thought about it. I could be wrong but I think I may be the first rapper to literally have his kid on Dirty Glove Bastard (laughing). If not it still meant the world to me to have him as part of the interview,” said Highway Yella.
Hip Hop is a culture that includes multiple elements. Rap music is often the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions they love hip hop. Learning how to rap seems to be effortless for some, yet challenging for others. Today we will share some tips, from rap god Eminem, on how you can begin to master this valuable skill.
A majority of listeners of rap who want to learn how to flow are between the ages of 13 and 25. Starting young can really give you an edge on the competition.
“First I was a fan of the music before I even thought about rapping, you know what I’m sayin… L.L. Cool J was the one who made me first start writing rhymes. And I was like, 12, 13 maybe.. and it sucked. You know, I wasn’t good, like I had to keep practicing and practicing and practicing..”
If you want to improve as a rap artist you have to consistently keep coming back to the craft. It’s okay to step away if necessary but you need to realize that the real results come from practicing regularly. Some people will tell you it’s a talent you are either born with or not, but here is Eminem telling you that’s not always the case.
“I gave it up for awhile then I picked it up again back when I was 15 and started being able to kinda put songs together… I was never really good at much else.. Once I figured out I was decent at something I just focused and went for it.”
Focusing means honing in on one specific subject and then, if distracted by something else, make a conscious decision to redirect your attention back to what you were originally focusing on.
“When I write my songs, the formula for how I write my songs is pretty simple… I write the verses and then sum up all the verses with a hook… but my delivery and the way I say things across the mic I make sure that is just perfect… I want to make sure everything is perfect so I can listen to my shit a million times and not find a flaw in it.”
Practice making complete songs. Building your vocabulary and learning which words rhyme together is a must, but take it a step further and study the structure of your favorite hit songs. Try to reproduce that same structure using your own style and lyrical content. Listen to your recordings and if you hear any flaws make the necessary changes.
“One day I got a call from my boy Proof and he was like ‘Yo you need to come up to The Hip Hop Shop… Yo just write something and come up here’ and Proof like, ran shit in Detroit…He started making connections and he met J. Dilla… when I went up to The Hip Hop Shop he was like ‘yo I’ll clear everybody out, I’ll have like ten people… you rap in front of them.. and if they don’t like you, they’re gonna tell you they don’t like you. If they do like you and they fuck with you, then you know…’”
Be open to meeting with people who have connections in the game. They can share valuable insight and experience. Mentors might have ideas on how you can improve or advance in the game. An example is how Eminem had Proof.
“So I went there, said the rap. I got some people jumpin around and shit and I was like: okay… That’s when we started having battles at The Hip Hop Shop. But every Saturday I would make sure I didn’t have to work cause I was going to The Hip Hop Shop… Proof was taking names and he was putting them in a hat… if you want to sign up to battle you put your name in a hat, he picks a name and he picks another name.. and I started battling and in The Hip Hop Shop the first battle we had there I won it.”
Although not every rap artist needs to take the path of battling, they should make time to attend events where they have opportunity for exposure and networking. In todays era that includes online events and social media. Live music venues, where artists in a genre similar to your own perform, are highly beneficial as well.
Every artist has their own path. The few simple words Eminem shared here are full of priceless gems for anyone wanting to learn. Subscribe to us here at IndyRapArt.com for more installments of Learn To Rap.
So Gabrielle throws me T-Shirt by Thomas Rhett and I’m like okay you are rehired. Although the name Thomas Rhett didn’t sound familiar the title of the song did. I already knew it was one I would enjoy writing about. Kind of old though is it not? The answer, being yes, only further proved the catch of this jingle. Within the fathoms of imagination in my brain mass I recreated a faint reach of performance of the melody.
Tee Shirt by Thomas Rhett can be summed up in one word: Punchy. The precision timing of the rhythm, which as organic as it sounds, could be considered as sampling and sequencing, is so damn punchy and masterfully engineered that I have got to call it… country-pop. (Some of us have a love hate for.. you know.. the word I just said.. country-pop.) Each simple loop delivers isolated energy that would keep a dancefloor jumpy and the record label getting money. You would be a dummy not to nod your head and tap your feet when this song breaks silence full blast, stark middle in the dread of a boring small-town day.
In the music video for T-Shirt on Vimeo, Thomas Rhett jams out in a traditional modern all white studio set with occasional green screened vintage filter background footage and glitch effects. Kicking his southern script on the mic, rocking a blazer and blue jeans, Mr. Thomas Rhett performs with positive fun confidence fitting for a song with lyrical content describing a hot encounter with a sexy woman.
Any real man, who has enjoyed the glow of a woman’s aura, her hair destroyed, basking in the comfort of one of his favorite tee shirts after being pleasurabley pummeled as the result of a pillow fight turned freaky, can relate to scenarios in this song. Although this hit is like 7 years old, and I would rather be discovering new records, if you are new to Thomas Rhett’s music, hearing the hooky single Tee Shirt could lure you in as a fan.
This episode details the first extreme road block Kanye West hit in making music – other than the fact that everyone still considered him a producer more than a rapper. It goes through every aspect of how his music and life and friendships – and work ethic – were affected by this incident and how he recovered to become one of the most famous contemporary Rap artists.
While still including some personal life moments, this episode mainly delved into the process and time during which Kanye worked on his music while he was still considered “up and coming”. It focused on Kanye’s passion for writing and performing Rap music and what it took for him to complete his first album.
Overall, it was a much more informative episode and much less about the heart of his operation. Though I did find it drier because it focused so much on the details of the “what” and the “how” (rather than the “why” and the heart-warming aspects of his life, it was still an interesting piece and worth watching. It certainly has that dramatic thrill at the start that leaves you wondering how he got to where he is today considering the scary events he’s lived through.
When someone mentions the name Mickey the first thing that comes to mind is an ice cold six pack of pudgy little green beer bottles. Oh wait, that’s Mickey’s. The second thing that comes to mind is the Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke. This column being written from the perspective of a hip hop veteran reviewing country songs, the name Mickey Guyton led me to believe it would be some country guy in a cowboy hat singing of glory days and things that make you want to drink your blues away. The title “Black Like Me” had me think “ok, it’s a black country singer guy.” Being I never heard of the guy, when I googled the name I’m like, “I guess the 63rd Grammy Awards performance of this song would be a great place to start.”
Well damn. Come to find out Mickey Guyton is actually a woman. And for a first impression this is a good one because in addition to rocking a sparkly form fitting dress (with weird shoulder pads though,) and being easy on the eyes, she also has a soothing voice that might be compared to Whitney Houston with a country twist. Assuming the Grammy rendition of this song is a little different than the radio version I head to Micky Guyton’s official You Tube page.
From a video on her home page, I realize this is the woman who sang the national anthem for Super Bowl LVI. Again, with the shoulder pads on the dress which I’m digging even less the second time around. Vocally she can carry a note like nobody’s business, evoking inspiration for the game and showing true star power by delivering a poised performance in an arena of such magnitude. Ok I will now get back to “Black Like Me.”
The lyric video for “Black Like Me” is all I could find. I love lyrics though and this gave me a chance to really focus on the music. The original version is a lot more upbeat than the Grammy performance while still including the piano chords and twangy guitar or whatever that thing is making that twangy noise. Maybe it’s one of those instruments that looks like a little wood board, but you play it flat on your lap. There is also a lot of choir backup vocals that I don’t especially care for when mixed with anything other than gospel. This is definitely not a song I’m going to ride out to on a Friday night.
Mickey starts off singing about being a “little kid in a small town” and getting her “heart broke on the playground” when they said she was different and now that she’s all grown up “it’s still the same and nothing has changed.” Then it pretty much goes straight into the hook and says “if you think we live in the land of the free you should try to be black like me.” Now, here is where my history as a rapper really kicks in. Mickey just sang two measly bars and went straight into a one bar pre chorus followed by two bar chorus. Can you rappers imagine how many songs you would have in your catalog if you followed this formula? That’s a total of five bars. Easy money.
It can be hard to get ahead in a small town. There are less opportunities and it can be very discouraging. Many people work two jobs day and night just to make it. Being told you don’t belong makes it even more of a mental challenge so imagine how hard it would be in the same scenario if you were Black! All in all, I think this is an over produced, lack luster pop country record with mediocre songwriting, but if it can be inspirational to even one person it’s worth its weight in gold.