Kon and Amir's Artist Tips
- Words: Derek Grey
It’s fitting that BBE/Rapster tapped DJs Kon & Amir for their Kings of series, as these two beat-diggers (a.k.a. Christian “Kon” Taylor and Amir Abdullah) have been sifting through crates for more than a decade, unearthing gems of all sorts and bringing them to the masses via radio, mixtapes, and mixed CDs like their latest, Off Track–Volume One: The Bronx (BBE). Though they’re primarily known as the Kings of Digging, this pair also knows a thing or two about how to get primo shit into the right hands–they’ve successfully sold tons of beats and samples to big-name producers. Here are a few of Kon’s tips on how to get your beats heard.
Make sure you put your bangers first.
Heads do not want to sit and listen to beats that are putting them to sleep. As far as length, I would go with about one minute and 30 seconds for each beat. Make sure that sonically they are on-point, with the right levels and such. People want the tracks ready to go.
Show off your range
Maybe some R&B-type joints, some grimy, evil-type joints, uptempo club beats, and your 70-88-bpm down-South beats. With all of these bases covered, there should be no need for them to ask questions like, “What else you got?”
Use MySpace to showcase your tracks.
On our page, I put up three tracks that I did that all have a similar sound, yet all have a different feel: some soulful vocals, some bouncy head-nod boom-bap-type of vibes. I think this is a very inexpensive (read: free!) way to get heard, and you get to see how many people have listened, too.
How many times am I going to hear the same old stock Korg Triton sounds? Sure they sound great, especially when we heard The Neptunes rock them, but as soon as I hear anything that sounds like a cheap imitation, you lost me. And if you’re going to make keyboard beats, at least learn some chords. There’s a big difference between being a producer and a beat-maker. If you don’t know the difference, production may not be your calling.
Try not to have your track stolen!
If you are sending out beat CDs in bulk, as bad as this may sound, it’s good to have drops over your tracks every few bars, so thieves have to be crafty to jack them. If there’s interest in the track, then let them hear the version without the drops; at that point you know who is listening and who you’re dealing with. You never know where your CD will end up, and there are so many snakes out there ready to get money off of your hard work!
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