(Originally written Thursday, March 23, 2006 )
A lot of people say to me "Josh, I'm tired of being a pawn of the music industry. I want to write a song and make buckets of cash off of it, just like my favorite musical artists. The problem is that I'm about as musically inclined as William Hung. What can I do to combat this and acquire truckloads of cash?"
The answer, I tell them, is simple. All you have to do is follow my rules for song writing and you'll be so rich Bill Gates will be your personal ass wiper! Let's discuss, shall we?
How to write a "mainstream" rap song
This is easy. First you must enter the mind frame of the typical "mainstream" rapper. You're black and your life was shitty, so you hurt a lot of people. Naturally, your hard life on the streets made you very mad at the world in general and very good at creative rhyming. Back in the day, when you were slangin' rocks at the corner, you had no time to figure out what word rhymed with "granola." Using "camera" was close enough; all you have to do is change the inflection and enunciation of the word.
Don't forget, for a "mainstream" rapper rhyming skills have nothing to do with hip-hip. All that matters is how many people you say you killed, how much drugs you used or sold, and, of course, how many hundred dollar bills you use to wipe your nose and how many "chicken heads" you've slept with.
You have to take all of these elements and mix them together in an interesting story. It doesn't need to be true because nobody will know. If anybody questions the time you killed a cop with his own shoes, just tell them that all your friends who were there have since died and unfortunately cannot back up your story.
Here are some good basic ideas for your rap song, use them and figure out what direction you're going to take them in:
· I once killed a man in broad daylight, I then proceeded to have sex with his mother on the hot, gum-covered sidewalk.
· Back in the day I flew from Colombia to New York with three pounds of coke shoved in my ass.
· "Insert name of other mainstream rapper here" is a punk and I've most likely had sex with his wife/mother/sister/aunt/cleaning lady.
· I've killed dozens of people so I reserve the right to make "blue" rhyme with "watermelon."
· I keep it real.
· I've engaged in relations with "insert name of hot movie actress/female music artist here."
· White people are stupid.
· Women are stupid.
· I have more money than you and that makes me a better person.
An important part of any rap song is the obscure or topical reference. In order to achieve this reference feel free to watch cartoons, watch documentaries on the Discovery Channel, watch reality television, watch popular movies and read Mad Magazine. It also helps if you have a young child. Fair game for your song are: Bob the Builder, Teletubbies, Dora the Explorer, Blue's Clues and anything else that comes on Nickelodeon weekday mornings.
Other good references are of people and things that normal Americans have never encountered. You can throw in the name of your pool boy if you're so inclined. Or the guy you buy your jewelry from. These references will have the hardcore fans doing research to figure out what in the hell you're talking about when you say "I smoke trees/as well as Raul skims my pool for leaves."
Your rap song must have the obligatory reference to how much money you have. You need to impress upon people how rich you are. Make sure to let them know that you're so rich, you can waste your money on clothes and cars "regular people" have only seen in magazines, (or heard about in rap songs like yours.) The purpose of this is to piss off people with inherited money, (because they feel the nouveau riche is too gauche to know what to do with money) and "regular people" who will hate the things they already have because they now feel it's not enough.
To get the point across talk about the many expensive cars you have, (actually owning them isn't necessary) and the pointlessly expensive alcohol you drink. To really show your excess, talk about how you don't even drink the alcohol, instead you use it to take a bath or perhaps wash your car.
Lastly, you must occasionally do a tribute song to either your mother or your dead friends. These songs are meant to be ironic in that after all your other songs about being a tough-ass gangster; you're actually a sensitive individual, a victim of the destructive lifestyle that ensnared you at an early age. In these songs limit your references to your wealth or voracious sexual appetite to one or two lines.
Keeping all this in mind, you should have a hit hip hop song in no time. Enjoy being snubbed at the Grammys!
Next time I'll give tips on writing good rock songs.