I used to love magazines. Couldn’t wait to get the latest copy. I loved going into a convenience store just to see if the latest edition had arrived. One of my favorites was The Source. It was recognized as the bible of hip-hop – at least until it went downhill in the mid 2000’s.
My favorite column was Unsigned Hype. It was a section where each month, the magazine would select an aspiring rapper to do a profile on. Some of the greatest rappers of all time achieved this status… Biggie and Mobb Deep come to mind first.
I dreamt that I would appear in the column one day.
I still remember the key guideline:
“Put your best cut first.”
In other words, when sending in your music make sure to put the best song first.
It seems like common sense.
But as an artist sometimes you overthink things. As a lyricist, you may want to put a song that showcases your lyrical skills first. You may put an “album song” first as opposed to a single – the commercially strongest song.
As an artist we forget that listeners aren’t always in the optimal position to hear our music. People rarely drop everything to tune into a new song. Especially nowadays with so many distractions. Even myself. I listen to music while multitasking – responding to emails, doing the dishes, driving, etc.
Short attention spans and ADD have made it essential that an artist puts their best song first – their best foot forward.
I’m not just talking about a column in the Source.
Many times I receive music and the first few songs fail to grab me. But it’s not that the artist isn’t good. I will play a few more tracks and will hear something I like. But it shouldn’t have taken that long.
Many listeners aren’t as forgiving.
You need to hook them. Make them drop everything else.