How To Stand Out

Here’s why it’s important that you stand out:

All rappers that have ever made a significant amount of money in this industry, have a unique voice, style, etc.

If you skip this step you will be forgetten with all the other wanna be rappers that never amount to anything.
The only way people will pay attention to you, or care to listen to you is if you stand out, people will not buy your music if you sound like just another me too.
You will come across as corny if your just copying another rapper, and people will not like you and that is huge because fans only buy from artists that they know, like and trust.

Here’s what major players in the music industry say about standing out:

“What i look for in a artist of course is talent, when you see talent you kind of listen for something that’s different from the norm, something that sticks out”

-Ludacris, Multi-Platinum Def Jam Recording Artist, Co Founder of DTP Records

“What it takes to get my attention… I like artists who have a vision and who are unique. I look for musicians who are doing things that are somehow provocative or outside the mainstream….I like artists who don’t care about what everybody else is doing and make the music that they feel…”

– Debbie Southwood-Smith, A&R, Interscope/Universal Music

“First and foremost, I look for at least one standout quality that will separate an artist from the crowd. If this quality does not exist, the chances are that the artist will not “cut through the clutter” ….”

– Steve Lunt, VP A&R, Jive Records

“We always consider if there is something else we have on our label that may be similar to the artist we are considering…”

– Tina M. Davis, Senior Vice President, Def Jam

You Won’t Make It In This Industry Copying Kanye, Lil Wayne or Jay-Z

So now that I got your attention and you see why it’s a MUST that you stand out in today’s music industry, here are the 3 M’s you want to stand out with. They are…

Your Music, Message
And Marketing


– There are 2 easy ways to stand out with your music.

  • #1 – Completely Stand Out From The Crowd
  • Take a look at your competition and what people are used to hearing. Write down what they’re beats sound like, how they sound over the beat, etc and do the complete opposite.
  • For example:
  • Repetitive Beats > Complex Beats
  • Orchestra > Guitar Sounds
  • Slow Beat > Fast Beat
  • Fast Raps > Slow Raps

#2 – Stand Out Enough To Make A Hit –
Take a look at your competition and what people are used to hearing. Notice what the beats, sound like and how they sound, and copy what they’re doing and then change 1-3 elements in the song. So instead of sounding the complete opposite and changing every part of the song just change a few parts, where it’s just enough to sound familiar to people, but your sneaking in your own twist.


– What your saying when you rap over the music, your story.

What You Say

Alot of rappers just can’t seem to get this right, but the reason a lot of upcoming rappers can’t get attention, is because they rappin bout the same ol stanky shit. You gotta make this a good experience for your fan, most music fans have heard a shit load of music so far, ya think they heard bout the trap, the strip club, how much of a hustler you are?

I’m not saying you shouldn’t rap about these things, but if you do, use a different point of view that hasn’t been covered a million times…F%3K that shit gets played out.

For example, if your gonna rap about trap sh^t, you can rap about what got you to get into the trap, all the events that led up to it, give the character a new light. If your gonna do a strip club song, try doing the song from a different perspective, rap as the strip pole, be the money goin round the club, in the g string, something different jeezzzus.

An easy way to change up your message so you stand out is, to rap about whatever topic people are used to hearing it but from a different point of view.

Your Story

Ok, this one right here is kind of mixed with the next piece, but it is so important that if you get everything else right, and this part wrong it won’t make a difference. If you ever paid attention to any successful rappers, they are mostly selling their story, thats what people buy. If people can believe in you and your story, they will feel like they know, like and trust you. But the key here is that it has to be believable. Alot of rappers have the same old story and not only is it played out, it’s not entertaining for the listener.

Here are some good examples of good stories:

  • 50 Cent – Shot 9 times, rags to riches
  • Eminem – Troubled Childhood, Drugs, Crazy Mom
  • Kendrick Lamar – Good kid growing up in the wild wild west of compton.
  • Kanye West – Producer for Jay Z, gets in car accident almost dies.


– First of all, for people who don’t know what marketing actually is and is supposed to do.

  • It’s to communicate your message and presell your audience, so when it’s time for your fans to buy your music it’s a no brainer. Basically your marketing positions you in the mind of your fan. Your marketing will determine who will buy your music before you ever have your music for sale.

Most rapper’s that are signed to label’s now a days, become part of the machine and get marketed like every other rapper on the label it’s like a cookie cutter factory. Free mixtape, catchy video, album release, 106 and park, first week sales not so good, never hear from them ever again.

But you take a rapper like Macklemore (see macklemore case study) who is completely independent (gets to keep every dollar of his cd sales) takes a different marketing approach using tumblr and building a strong relationship with fans via pictures and youtube videos and asking for comments.

This guy now has a platinum certified hit single which has been #1 on billboard hot 100 and has sold around 300,000 copies of his album. Now because this guy had a unique marketing campaign, unique music, and unique message he’s pocketed a few million dollars.

Another example is how Kanye started promoting his MBDTF Album by giving out free songs every Friday and calling it Good Fridays. This was a brand new approach and on top of this he created a movie to go along with his album, putting him in a category with the likes of michael jackson.
So if I can sum this post up into one sentence it would be this:

Look Around At What Everyone Is Doing And Do The Complete Opposite.

Ok, now that you read this you got the edge on your competition, but that’s not enough, if you actually want to be successful in your music career you have to take action, you can’t just stare at this screen and say wow that’s interesting.

So the first ACTION step you need to do is write a comment in the box and write what you learned from this post and how your going to put it to use in your music career. And then when you write that, make sure you tell me what part of your music career you want me to cover and i’ll do my best to feature your topic.

  • 1. Fill out your name and email
  • 2. Write exactly how you’ll use this info.
  • 3. Write what you want me to cover next time.

Over the last 12 years BoiGenius has invested his life, time and thousands of dollars into creating and building successful campaigns with dope music. BoiGenius is a highly sought after soulful hip hop composer with clients worldwide. He is also known as an author for his digital "CLAAMP" series and insightful ebook "Music Money Machine". Learn more about BoiGenius here

4 thoughts on “How To Stand Out

    1. Glad you think so!

  1. […] he’s clearly in a class of his own. Take note here, because EVERY artist can do this (see How To Stand Out). I call this “Anti-Positioning”, if you don’t stand for something at least stand […]

  2. Cool, I’m a 16 year old Jamaican & African rapper living in the US. Rap name is “Gaston”..just wondering, will it be unique if I had an African or reggae sound in my sound, and rapping about the struggles about Africa & America all together based on my perspectives? Thanks.

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