Are endorsement deals based on how good the music is?
My opinion on endorsement deals is a bit spicy, because the companies that sponsor artists generally do it based on the artists following on social media and not necessarily on the quality of the music that the artist produces, with the exception being Red Bull and Sprite, these guy will endorse anything that looks and sounds cool.
A quick look at the brief history of SA Hip Hop will show you that SA Hip Hop artists went from not fitting the mold of endorsement deals and having to create their own brands or styled by young brands at the time like Loxion Kulca and the likes, to being sponsored by brands ranging from BMW and Mercedes Benz, clothing lines and every rappers favourite, the alcohol brands, Vodka specifically, what changed?
In the past tracking an artists following was tricky and sponsors had to use record sales and other means to measure these stats, thanks to social media this process has been made a lot easier for brands, now the market can be segmented and spammed with adverts, this is common on facebook, youtube and twitter, there’s a long explanation why this happens but the short version is that the sponsors are not particularly interested in the music that the artist creates but rather the number of followers or influence the artist has on the market, with that being said brand affiliation has to be noted as a milestone for SA Rappers, its always good to make money and grow your brand, keep pushing the culture and setting the bar for the next generation of rappers.
Hip Hop music has always been about the lyrics before anything else, well let me not say always, because there has been a number of times where the persona of an artist holds more weight than the rhymes they deliver, for example Khuli Chana is more likely to write a song that is more lyrically inclined than a Stilo Magolide, but that’s just my opinion.
Musicians have come across the crossroads of being an artist first or a celebrity, either way it’s a tough decision to make, because the audience responds differently to each of these, they admire the creativity and lyrical finesse of the artist and are fascinated by the boldness, charisma and fashion sense of the celebrity, record labels are aware of this and they try to create hybrids where the artist needs to be sociable and still write wholesome music or come across as socially interesting through their music.
In this powerful information age anyone can become anything, and with the backing of social media and the right personality, you can attain followers and cultivate a musical path for yourself, and the great thing is, you don’t even need to know how to write music, record labels feed on this and some will even go as far as stripping their celebrities down (sex sells) to compensate for the lack in lyrical ability, “they will not be mentioned in this article but will be exposed in future article”, to sum this up, its tricky being an artist in the information age because most listeners are being fed celebrity culture when all they want is music.
Rapping is very fun to do especially when you figure out the different techniques, patterns and rhyme schemes, you can play around with single, double or triple rhymes and for the advanced scholars internal rhymes and whole lining gets you extra points. Lets look at the Eminem Loose Yourself verse, I used this verse because its easy to breakdown and understand how the rhymes are formulated:
Loose Yourself – Eminem
Yo! His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already: Mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgetting
What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out
He’s choking, how? Everybody’s joking now
The clock’s run out, time’s up, over—blaow!
Snap back to reality, oh, there goes gravity, oh
There goes Rabbit, he choked, he’s so mad, but he won’t
Give up that easy, no, he won’t have it, he knows
His whole back’s to these ropes, it don’t matter, he’s dope
He knows that, but he’s broke, he’s so stagnant, he knows
When he goes back to this mobile home, that’s when it’s
Back to the lab again, yo! This whole rhapsody
Better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him
[End of Verse]
If you don’t know what to write about, let your mind flow and give you random words and imagery, write them down in no particular order, then check to see if the words are guiding you in a specific direction or pointing you towards a theme, sometimes writing a random verse will inspire you to write something that is more specific and worth recording.