Managing a rapper is a tough task. Every rapper is different, and, because of that, there’s no universal way to do it right. This why having a good music manager is so important. The good managers can tailor their approach based on the rapper they’re representing. Allowing them to navigate the industry and have some level of success regardless of the rapper they’re managing.
Now, although there’s no universal way to manage a rapper, don’t worry. In this post, I’m going to give you a few tips to help you manage a rapper regardless of how they are as a person. And if you’re a rapper reading this, use this as a guideline to help you choose a music manager (when you’re ready for a music manager, of course).
Have Respect & Communicate
When managing a rapper, one of the most important things to do is to have respect. Without respect, none of the other stuff in this post matters.
You may think having respect is easy (and it is). Still, I’ve noticed respect is more difficult in the music business when you’re closely working with rappers. And while I don’t have an exact answer as to why, I think it’s due to bad communication.
A lot of rappers like to act like the “boss” instead of acting as business partners with their managers. They tell their managers what they want instead of working with them to get it. This can lead to conflicts such as one-person feeling like they’re working harder than the other, and they would be better off on their own (especially early on when there’s very little money coming in)
With that said, it’s not always the artist’s fault. I’ve seen a lot of managers talk with confidence like they know it all while giving false promises and lousy direction. This can lead to resentment and trust issues form the artist.
However, if both sides would sit down like business partners, create a plan of action, talk through the failures, and discuss the successes – trust would be built. And with trust comes respect.
So, the takeaway from this section should be to sit down with your artist (or manager) and genuinely communicate. Talk about your goals, how you’d like the partnership to be, future plans, and whatever else is on your mind. Don’t expect anything unless you both have already talked about it as partners.
When managing a rapper, you have to set expectations based on what you’re capable of doing for them at this moment.
I’ve seen plenty of music managers meet an artist and talk about how they can do so much for them and basically help them “blow up.” However, once it’s time to put in work, not much gets done. I’ve even seen music managers get upset with the artist because the artist is upset about what the manager said would happen versus what actually happened.
How To Set Expectations
Setting expectations is more than just letting the artist know what you can do for them. Setting expectations is also about letting the artist know what you can’t do for them (as well as what you might be able to do).
Setting expectations when managing a rapper can be difficult for 2 reasons:
- Set expectations too low and the rapper will feel like you’re not able to help them
- Set expectations too high and the rapper will be disappointed when you can’t follow through. This can cause you to develop a bad reputation in the music industry.
So what do you do? Communicate with them.
Tell them what you feel like you can confidently do, what you feel like you might be able to do, and what you’d love to do for them but, at the moment, don’t have the knowledge to do. Be open and transparent with the rapper you’re managing because you both are partners. If you’re managing a good artist, they’ll probably appreciate your transparency and trust you more.
Always Add Value
Adding value is relatively easy when you and your artist are working together and have things going on. However, it’s when you’re working behind the scenes on separate tasks that it can become difficult to add value.
For example, if you’re working behind the scenes sending emails, networking, and making phone calls – your artist isn’t getting any of that value at that moment. Although they may gain that value in the future.
So how do you continue to add value even while you’re “building” value behind the scenes? There’s no one right way, but here are a few things I recommend:
- Communicate and give updates to your artist
- Meet with your artist weekly (could be a studio session or could be dinner – it’s up to you)
- Send them informational material (like posts on this site)
- Introduce them to someone they should know
Have Goals, Make Plans
As a music manager for a rapper, you must have a plan and goals. You should be able to see a rapper’s strengths, combine it with their goals, and develop a plan.
For example, if the rapper is good with live performances and would love to perform more – you should be able to create a plan to help them get more live shows. You wouldn’t want to spend the majority of your time trying to get their music licensed. It doesn’t align with their strengths or goals at the moment.
If you utilize the tips in this article, you’ll be a better music manager than most people. You’ll be able to find some level of success with any rapper you manage, regardless of their goals and personality.
And remember, the more you manage a rapper, the better you’ll be at managing a rapper. You can read about this all day every day. But it’s the experience that will speed up your path to becoming a great music manager.