How To... Without Really Trying Be A Gangster Rapper

Rapper You've probably watched Top Of The Pops at least once in the last ten years. You may even watch MTV at least once a year. No matter who you are, you can't have missed the phenomenon of Gangster Rappers.

Most of these rappers are male. Women don't need a guide to help them go through life as a gangster rapper - all they need to do is sound hard on the microphone. However for the gangster rapping male, life is a lot tougher. For starters, most don't have the brain power to get anywhere.

So if you are male and in the position of wanting to be a gangster rapper, how do you get started? Looks hard doesn't it? Well don't worry - it' not with our dead easy guide. By the end of this article, you can be getting down with your hommies big style, listening to your record on Westwood on BBC Radio One. Yeah man.

First Things First

There is no way you can be a gangster rapper without first altering your accent. If you are white and middle class from the UK, you are hardly going to cut much ice on the hardcore rap scene. Now is the time to start learning Bronx. If that's too hard, then it's often easier to pretend to be from the gangster scene in the United Kingdom - from hard gangland areas like Moss Side in Manchester, or even the Cricklewood Estate in Torbay.

The easiest way to perfect the accent is by making your voice deeper and dropping various letters from your speech and replacing them with others. For example, 'th' should be replaced with 'd'. This will turn 'this' into 'diss', 'the' into 'de' and the well used rapper word 'thesaurus' becomes 'desaurous'. Please note, if you are from the West Midlands, you have very little hope in turning your accent into something that a gangster rapper can be proud of, so give up now.

Once you've sorted out your accent, time to change your vocabulary. For starters, the word vocabulary is out - it's much too intelligent after all. Far too much. The last thing you want to be is a clever rapper. The secret is to sound not quite as thick as possible, but close. You will need to substitute some words for others.

For starters, you no longer have friends - they are now your 'hommies'. Where you live is now your 'hood', and your 'hood' (as on your coat) becomes irrelevant as you would never wear such sad clothes (see clothing below). Finally if you are male, calling your girlfriend or wife by these terms is well out. She is your bitch and don't you forget it. It may not be the most pleasant of words to describe your significant other, but of you give her 'respect', your public won't give you any.

For more choice words, we recommend tuning into the Radio One Rap Show on Friday and Saturday nights when you can hear a bishops son from Suffolk sprouting what sounds like inane babble. Don't worry if you don't understand it - the people who will buy your records won't either, so just make it up and pretend you understand what you're saying.

Get Your Gear

Once you've got the voice, you need the look. Your clothes are important - they will define who you are. It is good to be individual - you will stick out in people's memories that way. With that in mind, we recommend wearing big baggy trousers (take care not to look too much like MC Hammer), big baggy tops - preferably blank - and several hundred pounds worth of gold medallions round your neck, and rings on every finger. For preference, the rings should be the kind that go over three fingers at once, meaning you can't separate your digits properly. It will only make you look tougher.

Hair is also important. To make sure you don't look like a laughing stock, it is essential that you grow it slightly and then get dreadlocks. The dreadlocks should be small - about five centimetres in length at most. If you are black, then the colour of your skin also helps with your image, although as rap superstar Eminem and of course the best known white rappers, Vanilla Ice and Snow have proved, white men can rap too.

Finally there is just one thing to complete your image - women. You should wear at least two scantily clad ladies on your arms at all times. They should be wearing the bare minimum of clothing, even in the dead of winter. Don't worry if one comes down with flu caused by walking round Carneby Street in the January sleet and hail in just a bikini and knee-high boots - you can always pick up another one later. In fact, having different women on your arms every day will of course, only enhance your image. Your obvious sexual magnetism will also help attract even more women to replace the ones who have got too old, got a spot or tripped up on their unfeasible high heals and broken their ankles.

The Record Contract

So you've got the clothes, the voice, and the women beating a path to your door, but what's the point of being a gangster rapper if you don't have a record contract? Releasing records is big business, and if you don't squander it all at once, the cash could last for a few weeks.

Thankfully it doesn't matter if you're not the greatest rapper in this world, cos record companies haven't a clue about rap and will sign anyone. After all, just how many records has Puff Daddy managed to release despite not having one ounce of an idea what he is doing? So all you need to do is rip off some baseline from a 1970's tune no one has ever heard off, and start rambling over the top of it, sprouting the kind of incomprehensible rubbish that only a gangster rapper could come out with. Topics to include are rapping about how many women you had sex with last night (hint - if less than 20, make it up) and how many policeman you have shot over the last week.

Once that's done, sit back and wait for the big sum contract to get shoved through your letter box. It should take about six days - record companies are always keen to sign people quickly, mainly as the clueless A&R man in charge of the rap section is usually keen to sign new acts, lest their arch rival, Jim Arseshaft at Phony Records gets the next big thing, first.

Once you're signed, you're away. Someone at the record company will eventually realise their mistake in signing up a talent-less no hoper, so in an attempt to cover up, will try to over produce your records in an attempt to make you sound good.

The Shoot

Once you've cut your first disc, it's time to make the video. A good video for MTV, UK Play and of course, top music station, The Box, can help make your record an even bigger hit.

Thankfully it doesn't take much imagination to make a rap video, nor a lot of money, leaving more money for you and the production team to spend that night on booze, drugs and loose women.

All you need for a rap video is one large open space - an empty car park or basketball court will do fine, a couple of large, brightly polished convertibles, and 500 female dancers dressed in thongs and bras.

Once you've got all that, start miming to your record, remembering always to bend down low a lot, whilst staring at the camera with a mad glint in your eye. Occasionally you should wave a couple of your medallions towards the lens, and when it's time for the chorus, ensure that you are being caressed by at least a hundred of your scantily clad girls.

For the real hardcore rapper, your video should include one woman who is, of course, in near orgasmic delight by being chained to the wall so she can dance along to the music, in a sexual manner. All women of course just long to be used as sex objects in rap videos so you should have no trouble in finding someone to fill the roll.

Once that's in the can, and you've drunk and made love all night long with at least six of the dancers, it's time to send your video off to the music stations.

On The Air

You've got your image, you've got your song, you've got your video - now it's time to sell those records. But one thing to note is this - one of the biggest markets for gangster rap is teenage girls who buy the stuff purely to play loudly so they can annoy their parents. They also happen to be the same girls who in a few weeks will be clamouring to be tottering along in a bikini with you as you stroll down Carneby Street. So with this in mind, don't even think about releasing a 7" of your tune. Go for where the real credibility is - the three CD single set. Then sit back and watch the money come rolling in!
Go on then! Do it!

So that's it. That's the way to get in the duffle coat hood with the rest of them. All that is left is to enjoy it while it lasts. And if you're like Puff Daddy, it will last a long long time...

Background Information

You know, the number of people who don't get the joke and who send me abusive emails about this piece... Talk about sense of humour failure.

Trouble is, almost everything (if not everything) in this article is based on reality. And if people can't get the joke...

First published on Planet Bods on 22 April 2001.

Photo Credit

Toy rapper photograph by Thomas Hawk, and released under a Creative Commons license.


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