Stop The Breaks had the pleasure of talking with Aman, the founder and lead producer of hip-hop music licensing and servicing company, Rhapsodist Beats.
With a goal of providing quality instrumentals and services that fit the budget of every artist or content creator, Aman is keen to share his knowledge with all up-and-coming artists – whether you’re a rapper or producer.
We touched on a range of topics, including: how Rhapsodist Beats started, the importance of music licensing, the impact of technology on music production, tips for indie artists and plenty more.
1) You’re the founder, lead producer and engineer of Rhapsodist Beats. Tell us more about the company and how it all started.
Rhapsodist Beats is a music licensing and servicing business focused on hip hop. We provide instrumentals for commercial use by artists, video game developers, film directors, and other content creators. We also provide music related services, like mixing/mastering engineering and graphic designing.
Rhapsodist Beats started with a mission in mind – to provide quality instrumentals and services that fit the budget of every artist or content creator. We believe music is one of the prime arts of our times, and that art should be accessible to everyone. Rhapsodist Beats strives to open the doors for professional exercise of this art to anyone who chooses to pursue it with quality services and flexible pricing.
2) How did you initially get into the industry?
I was rapping way back in the day, and I came across a production team that goes by Anno Domini. They were one of the originators of online beat licensing, and their work was so dope.
They made boom bap beats in a time where there was a lot of snap/pop/trap music in hip hop. I became a huge fan of theirs and even bought some beats from them. I eventually picked up producing out of curiosity with Anno Domini as one of my main inspirations. I became really good and started sharing my work online after some years.
Before I knew it, I was in contact with Life and Death, one of the Anno Domini producers, and we teamed up to provide even more beats for the internet market. With the first hand experience with music licensing under Life and Death’s wing, I formed my own beat licensing business with my own sound and direction.
3) You worked for several production companies and artists around the world – what made you want to start up your own company?
The reason why I thought Rhapsodist Beats could add to the music licensing marketplace is because there’s a particular sound that doesn’t really exist in the market. Fortunately my production style fit that void. With that sound, my main motive is to open opportunities for artists. I’ve heard many artists over the years, both hobbyist and those aspiring to go the distance.
Many of these artists lack the resources, opportunities, and knowledge to take the next step with their music. I was once one of those artists, and I know exactly how it feels to be in that position. Rhapsodist Beats is about providing those resources, opening up opportunities for others, and sharing knowledge.
4) Technology has unarguably made hip-hop production a lot more easier and no doubt lowered the entry level for newcomers. How do you think this has affected the industry overall?
You’re definitely right. For a few hundred dollars, anyone can purchase a DAW and get started with producing. A couple hundred more could give you a very capable recording setup. This has made music more accessible for folks. These crazy advances and dropping prices are one of the reasons why I’m producing today.
Overall I think the advances are positively affecting the industry, but it’s also made lower quality music possible. Many non-pros are putting out sub-par music, and some of that music catches on and blows up. Then again, this is the beauty of technological progression. It evens out the playing field for everyone.
5) What do you think an up-and-coming producer has to do to be successful these days?
I think success stems from one’s ability to create good music, but most of the success will come from the hustle. In the music industry (and many other industries) it’s about who you know not what you know. Connections will get you collaborations and placements.
Marketing is another big key to success, and I see many doing it wrong. You can’t tweet your new beats 1000 times a day and call that a marketing plan. I think with a combination of talent, good hustle, and a solid plan on how to move forward, success is within the reach of many producers.
6) What sort of tips and advice would you have for an independent hip-hop artist trying to be break into the game?
What a new artist needs is the “wow” factor. It’s flat out difficult for the artist to be heard without a ton of help from either a distribution house or some sort of support system. Until that is in place, the very few that hear the music need to have their jaw on the floor. Rappers, you have to be able to out-rap and out-style everyone around you.
Producers, your beats need more style and better quality than everyone else. I’m also starting to find that successful artists are true students of the genre. The best rappers are the ones that know about the rappers before their time. The same story is true with producers. Be a master at your craft and your time will come.
7) What do you think about hip-hop today and where do you think it’s headed?
Hip hop has been on a decline throughout the first decade of 2000, but I think things are on the rise again. There’s a renewed competitive nature where artists and producers are trying to outdo each other. Lyrics are cool again.
Battle rapping networks are going mainstream. Interestingly enough, album sales are at an all time low, and I think that’s driving the competitive edge. People really need to fight for their sales again, and I think that’ll ultimately lead to healthy competition and growth for the entire genre.
8) Who are the artists that you’re constantly listening to these days?
DJ Premier and Royce da 5’9’s PRhyme album came out last week, and I think it’s one of the better albums to come out in a while, in terms of raw grittiness and lyrics. That album has been on repeat recently.
Others I’m listening to is Run the Jewels, Black Milk, Elzhi, Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, Logic, Big KRIT, and lots more that aren’t coming to mind right now. I also try to keep older classics in my playlist, so I never lose sight of what classics before my time sound like.
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