Straight Talk About Rap Mixes

(for artists and mixing engineers, and definitely not safe for those under 17 years of age)

  1. If someone is charging money to work on your music, they owe you a level of professionalism to avoid problems with your audio. If they give me messed up files they do not respect you, they do not respect their craft, or they have no business charging for their work. Think about it.

  2. MP3s are not real audio. Information is thrown out to make the MP3. You can NEVER recover that information. Ever. Converting an MP3 to wav audio simply makes a wav with missing information. Imagine going to Thanksgiving Dinner. You bring a bag of Cheetos. That’s what MP3s are. A bag of Cheetos at an audio banquet.

  3. You know that kick drum that sounds like a cardboard box with distortion on it? Shove that up your ass. Unless the mixing engineer has some RIAA discs on the wall, or a lot of Billboard hits, they don’t know how to use distorted samples. Your final product will make you sound like a thimble-sized chump.

  4. I actually need to have audio from the mixing engineer in order to master something. If 50% of my projects didn’t try to master without their audio, I wouldn’t have to write this.   

  5. You know that limiter they put on the mix to make it loud? Shove that up your ass, pull it out and shove it back up there sideways. No lube, either. Do you think that $49 plug in can go toe-to-toe with mastering gear that costs as much as a car? That’s like taking a pop sickle stick to a gun fight. Seriously. WTF?

  6. I have never been rude or disrespectful to a mixing engineer that calls to ask about formats, rendering, file transfers or anything like that. Professionals respect professionals.

  7. Cracked plug-ins leave distortion, glitches, and problems in files. It’s why the hackers thought they could crack them. They didn’t really. All they did was screw you over.

  8. If you have an occasional digital clip (one sample, generated from non-crossfaded edits), I’ll fix it on my time. If a song has many of them I’ll assume you don’t listen to the work you’re doing and are an asshole.

  9. If you’ve been using your DAW and still don’t fix those crossfade zero clips after being told about it more than once, you are a sad sad person. Stop taking money for audio. You might want to stop doing audio altogether.

  10. I don’t mind alternate spellings of song titles, but at least try to get it close to the name. I have clients from China, Russia, and Japan. English is not their first language, yet they always know what’s up. They don't even have the same alphabet.  Come on, people.

  11. When you mix a song, render an instrumental. Try to get the artist to do a radio version too. Charge them for this. If they get one single placement its thousands of dollars. It pays for years of studio work. One song! Ignoring this means you are not pro. Getting this done means we all make money and get exposure. Is it that hard?

  12. If you are going to mix Rap music, you need monitors that tell you what’s going on. This involves physics (big enough room, speaker location) and money (calibrated monitor controller, wide-range speakers or speakers with a sub or stereo subs). Rap Studios get to save tens of thousands of dollars by not having to buy 40 microphones, 40 preamps etc used in recording a full band. You need to find the money for your monitoring situation. Otherwise, get out of the game. Half of the engineers I know spent more money on dope than they do their tools. Completely sad.

  13. Everybody started somewhere: in their bedroom, with cheap speakers, next to no gear. That’s FINE. But don’t accept that. Fight for better gear, better speakers, better acoustics, better sounds. This is your art. Give a shit.

  14. Hate me all you want, I’ll bet cold hard cash that people you compete against accomplished all these things years ago. They’re moving up, making bank, and getting it done. Don’t shoot the messenger; attack your failings.

  15. Stealing other people’s music from YouTube and turning it into beats makes you a criminal according to the Federal Government. And stop spreading some bullshit about "less than so many seconds is legal." And Fair Use? Fair Use? Are you writing for a publication such as the New York Times or Rolling Stone? Are you a teacher playing it during your class? If not, you are not protected by Fair Use. An unlicensed sample violates two copyrights (meaning two offenses): First, it infringes upon the sound recording copyright. Second, it violates the writing rights. In order to use a sample legally, you must obtain permission from both owners of the copyrights (sound and writing). You might be tough, but you will not beat the U.S. Federal Government if they come knocking. Instead Try This: Make custom beats, be your own man, and tell the prosecutors to kiss your ass. If you ask my engineers to steal audio from the web, we will advise you to stuff yourself.

  16. Rap is actually only 50% “music” the other 50% is social commentary. Let me finish! The views, expressions, and opinions of rappers are fundamentally critical to free speech, social justice, social commentary, and will provide future historians with real, quality insights into the social and economic conditions of our age and races. You matter. This music matters. The message matters. Don’t let people ignore the importance of rap because the audio is distorted, out of phase, compromised or fucked up. When you speak truth to power, they will use anything they can against you. Don’t give them excuses. Be a wizard with your audio. Guard your genre. Its more important than you will ever know.

  17. Mixing engineers who want to master their mixes rather than sending out the audio to a real mastering house are simply saving up enough money for a trailer so they can move to the mountains and start a family with their sister.

  18. Mastering engineers who 100% always demand stems for every element of a mix are really chicken-shit mixing engineers who don’t want to put their balls on the line as a full-time mixer.

  19. Back up your stuff to two local places and one cloud place. If it’s not in three places (one of which is NOT ON SITE) it doesn’t exist.

  20. Do you monitor at 84 dB SPL C-weighted? If you don’t understand this sentence, stop. Do not pass go. Do not charge anyone for audio. There are physics you need to learn POST HASTE. These are rules our universe operates under. You’re not cool enough to do your own thing. You need to sort this out yesterday.

  21. Every morning ask yourself, “Am I a professional at the top of my game, constantly looking to better my craft?” Or “Am I an ass-face who is too arrogant/dumb/stoned to give a shit about my profession.  Mommy said I was a special snowflake so I can do whatever I want.”  

PS: Don’t think I’m bitching about RAP EXCLUSIVELY. The rock, metal, and folk people all have ways to have sex with farm animals on their projects. This is a Pro vs. NOT Pro thing. Not a genre thing, not a race thing, not a sex thing. This is about competency.