One of the first things new followers and supporters ask me once they hear my music is how I was able to pull off the list of features on my latest album, Vice For President 2: There’s No Tomorrow Til You Wake Up. It definitely is a strong selling point for the project, and was not easy to pull off. There is a specific way, you as an independent artist should go about reaching out to professionals to be a part of your project. Here goes some game:
1. Do your research – It is critical that you have a strong knowledge of the background of the artist you want to hire. Study their discography. Look to see if they have worked with any other artists on your level. Make sure the song you want them on fits their style. This shows you have respect for their craft. This is still an art form, so everything must be cohesive. This artist more than likely has a brand they need to uphold at all times. So if you are getting Common on your next track make sure it isn’t Trap.
2. Get your cake right – DO NOT HIT ANY ARTIST UP IF YOU ARE NOT READY TO MOVE AT THAT MOMENT. This is a rule I try to live by when it comes to approaching anyone for their services. In this indie game prices can fluctuate, and you can usually get someone for the best deal when you are ready to move at the time of contact. TRUST ME. Of course, there are some artists that have a flat fee no matter whether you hit them up 6 months prior or 6 days prior, but I also have found that professionals take you more serious when you can put your money where your mouth is and don’t try to give them the runaround. Also DO NOT ASSUME ANYONE IS GOING TO DO A VERSE FOR FREE.
3. Present yourself professionally – I have had my best success by being straight forward and professional with my verbiage. No reason to beat around the bush. If your are reaching out via email be short with your initial message and do not send any links or attachments in the first message. Those emails will go straight to your their spam folder. Keep it simple because they will definitely keep it simple with you with the reply.
4. Be patient – I know this is easier said than done, but even after you break off your feature with the down payment and send them the reference track, be ready to wait awhile for the final product…IT NEVER FAILS. Guilty Simpson turned his verse around for me EXTREMELY quick, and he killed it! Other than that, most everyone else took their time, which is not a problem. You just have to give yourself enough time to allow for that waiting period. Nothing is worse than having your entire album held up because you are waiting for an outside verse.
5. Be Dope – Sounds simple enough right? Believe it or not most artists won’t even take your bread if they don’t respect your craft. My album’s lead single, “Return of the Black Man” featured Talib Kweli, and he had to approve the track and its content before he agreed to be a part of it. I actually sent him a version of the track with me and G.Huff’s verses already on it. I wanted him to catch the full vibe when considering joining the song and writing his verse. The outcome was crazy! You can listen to the track HERE.