6 Ways That Bloggers are Like Rappers

50 Cent and Shoemoney

Bloggers and rappers are pretty much the same people. As Chartreuse smartly pointed out:

What we have in the blogosphere is the generation that grew up on Tupac vs. Biggie playing the same game in their universe.

Not convinced? Here are six similarities that leave very little room for doubt.

Similarity #1: Prolificacy

But I, somehow, some way / Keep comin’ up with funky a$$ sh*t like every single day. ~Snoop Dogg, Gin and Juice

Rappers are notoriously prolific, some of them releasing mixtapes on a monthly basis, delivering torrent after torrent of catchy street bangers. Prior to making it big, 50 Cent holed up in a studio and produced 36 songs in two weeks, and Lil’ Wayne seems to be releasing a 20-track album each month. In 2005 and 2006, The Game approached this level of productivity on the mixtape circuit. The list could go on.

Bloggers are also prolific, some of us producing upwards of 1,500 words per day or more. Our material might not be “funky @ss $h*t,” but we do come up with it “like every single day.” A-List bloggers like Markos Moulitsas, Scoble and Gina Trapani bust out blog posts faster than I can dictate, and Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.net remarked that during the beginning of his blogging career he was publishing 20-30 posts per day.

Similarity #2: Guest Appearances as a Major Key to Success

In 1993, Snoop Dogg released the first debut album in history to hit the Billboard music charts at #1. The album — titled “Doggystyle” — attained off-the-bat success due to Snoop’s preexisting fan base established through guest appearances on Dr. Dre’s multiplatinum hit The Chronic. Guest rapping to gain exposure hasn’t stopped since and the top two songs on the Billboard Hot 100 right now are by “Usher featuring Young Jeezy” and “Flo Rida featuring T-Pain Low.”

Guest blogging is also a common means for gaining exposure on the blogosphere. Leo Baubuta, whose wildly successful Zen Habits blog gained over 30,00 subscribers in one year, said his guest posts were really what helped him take off.

Similarity #3: Personal Branding

Tupac and Seth Godin

All top 10 bestselling rap albums of 2007 are credited to a single artist, not a group. And although occasional rap groups find success, the personalities of individual rappers tend to shine past group affiliations. Rap is personality-driven in a way that rock music (and certainly classical music) just isn’t.

The same goes for blogging. Bloggers, not blogs, are the superstars. Coppyblogger is Brian Clark, Problogger is Darren Rowse, IttyBiz is Naomi Dunford, Perez Hilton is Mario Lavandeira, and Dooce certainly is Heather Armstrong. It’s much easier to identify with a person than a website, and personalities shine past brands even on team-produced websites.

Similarity #4: Bosslessness

Plenty of rappers say, “I’m not a rapper, I’m a businessman.” ~Rolling Stone

Rappers might be backed up by other signers, signed to labels, and produced by producers, but no one tells them when, how, and why to work. Furthermore, they often work from home studios, from the road, or from any place they happen to be when inspired to write new lyrics.

The same goes for most bloggers. We tend to call the shots, work from home, and rise and fall with the popularity of our websites. There’s no one catching us when our subscriber count drops.

Similarity #5: Gang Affiliation

Snoop, Dre and Geeks

Personal alliances, friendships, and creative and collaborative relationships run strong between rappers. Established rappers promote their friends, cite their peers, produce beats for colleagues, make guest appearances on allies’ albums, and help their friends get record contracts. Some of the more famous alliances existed between 50 Cent, Enimen, and Dr. Dre, as well as between the Notorious B.I.G., Sean (Puffy) Combs, and Lil’ Kim.

Bloggers form similar alliances. Circles of friends swap guests posts, create blogging networks, link to and interview each other, etc., and the blogosphere can sometimes seem a little incestuous. Mess with the wrong blogger and you may get blacklisted by their network. I’d rather not go about naming crews in the blogosphere, but if you’ve been around here long enough (um… one day?) the alliances will pop out. You’ll see them.

Similarity #6: Freestyling

Freestyle = To make up a rap as you go. Could be a battle, a poem, or just a rap. ~Urban Dictionary

I’ve been rapping for about seventeen years, okay? I don’t write my stuff anymore, I just kick it from my head, y’know what I’m sayin’, I can do that. No disrespect, but that’s how I am. ~Young Churf

Freestyle rap is the live and improvisational creation of rap lyrics. The style is uncut, non-scripted, unrehearsed, and typically raw, although many artists have a ready supply of prepared lyrics and rhyme patterns they can use as filler or even around which they can build their set. Freestyling abilities have brought mainstream attention to previously unknown rappers like Eminem, who was discovered when he placed 2nd in the 1997 L.A. Rap Olympics. Many rappers are constantly freestylin’ in their heads to maintain their abilities. While freestylin’, every word isn’t made up: there might be fragments of phrases floating around in the rappers head that are strung together at the last moment.

Like rappers, bloggers often sit in front of their computers, knowing they need to get a post out but not quite knowing exactly what they’re going to say. What results is improvisational, raw, and only-draft material, and some of my own favorite posts have come because of this. Check here to see Leo Babuta freestyle.

About the Author: Clay Collins is the creator of The Growing Life, where he blogs about alternative productivity and anti-hacks for living.

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Comments

  1. You forgot those most obvious one – sampling. Rappers are taking bits and pieces of other rappers’ compositions all the time. Same with bloggers.

  2. An amazingly accurate analogy this is… I did not start to see real blogging traction until I started thinking like a rapper (although I did not realize this is what I was doing).

    It was only after I hooked up with some buzz groups (gangs), started blogging frequently (prolificacy) [nice word by the way!] and created authentic and personal content (freestyling) did I see legitimate traffic and subscriber #’s.

    One more you could throw in there… Bloggers, like rappers love BLING. Just take a look at the sidebars in most blogs and you’ll see lots of it.

    Great post!
    Deeter

  3. Ha! I just posted a 2Pac reference on collab-blog http://www.fistfuloftalent.com — Nice work. One way I am not like a rapper, I don’t cuss :(

  4. REMIX!

    6 Ways that Rappers are Like Bloggers

    1. Lack of Quality Control (Prolificacy)
    2. Inability to carry their own projects and live up to their own hype (Guest spots!)
    3. Narcissism (Cult of Personal Branding)
    4. Slave to record label (sales) / ad network (page views). (Claims of Bosslessness)
    5. Weed Carriers / Feed Carriers (Gang-Affiliation)
    6. Talking much, ain’t saying nothing (Freestyling)

  5. “Rappers are notoriously prolific, some of them releasing mix-tapes on a monthly basis, delivering torrent after torrent of catchy street bangers. Prior to making it big, 50 Cent holed up in a studio and produced 36 songs in two weeks, and Lil’ Wayne seems to be releasing a 20-track album each month.”

    That to me is more saying that quantity is better than quality. IMHO, the rap that is produced is simplistic and the hardest part is coming up with a rhythm to go with the words which could be as simple as 3 notes repeated towards infinity.

    Besides that and the fact that I don’t really like rap, I completely agree with this analogy. Great post. Thanks.

  6. Rafi, LOL… I love it.

  7. Was going to do a rap but not much rhymes with copyblogger.

  8. If these analogies are true, and they definately are, then I hate most bloggers because I hate most rappers…. they talk too much shit. Great post! :)

  9. i hate rap, so should i hate blogging all of a sudden. from the the reaction of the commenting section you can see that clay colling is running out of blog post articles and is pumping out second rate articles.

    i do a lot strategy for the online world, more recently for blogs, the worst thing you can do to blogs as an industry is to compare it to a low class, talentless and destructive form of music which is rap!

    i still like most of the articles you’ve written and will continue to read your future ones but instead of trying to figure out who we are by comparing our selves to others, lets create and establish our own identity please!

  10. I love the idea!

    One of the things that make me so much like a rapper is my foul mouth and my giant Mr.T style jewelry that I wear around the house and to the market.

    Don’t worry, I take it off when I’m swimming.

  11. Compliments on finding so many similarites! 20-30 posts a day? By the same person, I can’t even imagine that. Now I’m going to be looking for examples.

  12. Lets just hope there’s no war between East Coast and West Coast bloggers!

    Great article.

  13. Timely reference Tabitha.

  14. Lets just hope there’s no war between East Coast and West Coast bloggers!

    Doesn’t seem likely… last I heard Loren Feldman was sleeping at Mike Arrington’s house. :-)

  15. To all the playa’ hataz in the commentz -

    Peace-izzle!

    I don’t like (c)rap either … but this post made me chuckle. Thanks, Clay.

    And Rafi – “weed carriers / feed carriers” will be the four funniest words I’ll read all day. Love it!

  16. @Rafi, that was funny as hell.

    @Dave Navarro: “Peace-izzle” and “commentz”… I can’t stop laughing out loud.

  17. Fantastic comparison, very clever, C.
    Keep yo’ mind on yo’ bloggin’, and yo bloggin’ on yo miiiiinnnnnd…

  18. Indeed. I must agree with Deeter. Great analogy!

    @Sean Kelly: I pitty the fool that doesn’t take off his jewelry while swimming!

  19. Great analogy, Clay.

    That first picture had me smiling already, I enjoyed reading the post, but Rafi’s comment really cracked me up :)

  20. And like Rappers… As a Blogger, “Got my mind on my money, money on my mind.”

    Hmmm… Gin & Juice for breakfast, anyone?

  21. Similarity #7: Just like rappers, most bloggers never ‘make it.’ For every successful rapper there are hundreds with delusions of fame.

  22. We wear sweats and sneakers to work.

  23. We “pop caps” in our titles…

    “Waive Your Hands In The Air And Blog Like You Just Don’t Care!”

  24. Brenda Emmett :

    I LOVE this post! Thanks for making me smile today! :)

  25. I resemble that remark, yo.

    Great shit.

    Another similarity: Fake Wars / Personal Vendettas / Attack songs & posts drive sales.

    Ex: Feldman/Israel, Calacanis/Denton, Arrington/Ali, etc. (and really Arrington or Calacanis vs *anyone*)

    awesome post, ma blogga!

    - Run DMc

  26. A creative twist, but you may pay the ultimate price for your comparison. Just kidding. Prolific is a great comparison, but freestyle? Freestyle blogging?

  27. Ohh, and one more thing. This post in particular caught my attention because of the personal branding element. It is so important! I just wrote a post about the power of personal branding.

  28. haha..now i realized that blogger is quite similar with rapper

  29. Don’t underestimate brand. I can tell you the name of the blogs that I read first thing in the morning with no problem.

    Ask me who writes them and if I’m lucky I can name two or three.

    Branding rules….Which name would you bet people know: McDonald’s or Ray Kroc?

  30. Timely reference Masked Millionaire.

  31. Never looked at it like this, but you are definitely right.
    This is one interesting and funny article.

  32. Great post!

  33. @ Josh: You’re so right. I’m sure I’m probably missing a lot of other analogies as well.

    @Deeter: Seriously, we need to stop it with the bling.

    @Mike D?! Clearly you’re not from the Beastie Boys :-) Dude, anything that ends in “-er” rhymes with copyblogger.

    @Bam: We’re just having some fun here. Don’t be a hater :-)

    @Troy: True that!

    @Brenda: That’s all I was aiming for. I’m really glad you liked this.

    @The Masked Millionaire: I think blogs are personality driven in a way that fast food restaurants are not, but that’s just my humble take on the matter.

  34. I loved this post! I was a gospel rapper back in the day and never thought of the similarities but you are right on! As for those that hate rap, I am not a fan of gangster rap but we “old school rappers” appreciate that rap has been around for centuries. It gained popularity as an art form in the Harlem Renaissance and expanded into popular culture in the 1980s. It’s not all about drugs and gangs.

  35. Dude, I never thought about that! That’s increduble! I’m like a rapper! Congratulations for the article.

  36. It’s “I’m a business man

  37. Great post. So when does Jeremy come out with his own sports drink? You know, ShoeWater(tm)?

  38. @Chris Marshall: ROTFL. You’re in the running (against Rafi) for most hilarious comment.

  39. That was just brilliant.

  40. Alright. I listen to white man’s rap. Okay? Yes. I like it. Loud. With lots of cursing. I like when people look at me. Okay? I’m like the Kid Rock of blogging. Um, like, the censored version. With kids. And a Canadian accent.

    Alright, fine. At least I have the cocky factor goin’ on. Cripes.

  41. Niiiice playa! You said a mouthful. You just inspired me with an idea to easily flip my rap skills in the blogosphere.
    Good lookin’ out.

    As for all the haters and naysayers about rap being compared to bloggers, here’s a few words from Mr. Albert Einstein…

    “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”

    And yes, we rappers do read Einstein and apply the e=MC2 equation to our freestyles.

    Peace,

    Breathe Easy…

  42. Definitely a fun post, even if I only like old-school rap. And definitely watch the gang affiliation thing. Some big (network) bloggers like to believe some lesser bloggers have said something more than they have. Bad career move. Difference of opinion isn’t valued as much online as we’d like to think.

  43. I won’t try and emulate the rap vernacular like so many other commenters have done successfully (even if the name of my website is frighteningly close to Fo’ Sho’.. maybe I should rename it to fo’ shizzle ma nizzle?) but a good piece.

    (But I think Brian Clark is Copyblogger, not Coppyblogger… ?)

    Word.

  44. How clever. And kickass. I never considered myself akin to rappers, but now I feel so different. I want to start flashing cash ($1 bills) and dancing with scantily clad dudes (rather than girls). Thanks, Clay! :)

  45. I feel so much cooler now! What we’re missing are the cool blogger titles that rappers have, like M.C.’s and D.J.’s and etc.
    someday…

  46. Yo Clay,

    This is some good shit you (w)rapped about here. I had stop by in the hood and say yo man you are one f@#king cool motherF@#a.

    Peace!

  47. just reading the commentz makes me laugh :))

  48. Do I have to get those cheesy square glasses to be a problogger?

  49. Awesome post!! I’m sure a lot of us wouldn’t have thought to make this comparison, but it’s spot on!!

    I also enjoyed Rafi’s remix!

  50. Hey, my glasses aren’t cheesy…. I like to think I’m rather stylish =/

  51. How brilliant you are?No one can think of it,but you make it.Amazing,man!

  52. I don’t think it’s an airtight analogy, but I’ll change my mind if S.I. and 1938 off each other outside da club.

  53. Blogga, please.

  54. Clay is at it again, these posts are tiiight.. shiit.

    You ain’t neva gonna let up son.

  55. Joh… and just as with rappers the U.S. guys are usually making most money out of it and distributing their content worldwide.

  56. I’d really like to see how a name brand rapper would react to this post; honored, or ‘it ain’t cool enough to be equated with’ ??

    And has the ShoeMiester not been here yet? ;~)

  57. You are totaly right :)
    Nice post!

  58. The trackbacks and pingbacks should be separated from this article because this post is gonna be linked to – a lot!

  59. I like rap AND I like this post. But I notice the player haters out in the blogosphere all the time. If your gonna use the talk, then walk the walk, homie.

    Peace:-)

  60. Mo Serious doesnt have any troubles combining the two:

    http://www.jaankanellis.com/mo-serious-seo-rap-is-back-with-conversion-closing/

  61. @ Rebecca: Ha ha, gangsta bloggirl.

    Thinking of it, I would have added one more similarity between bloggers and rappers: THE BLING.

    Just like rappers proudly wear their shiny bling-bling or drive ultra-accessorized Hummers and Cadillacs, bloggers sometimes tend to fill up their sidebars with widgets that don’t add much usability. Most of the time, they are our “personal bling”, something to show-off.

  62. I still new in blog world an trying to lean from you!

  63. Hmm… I’m a white guy from Detroit. I live in Brooklyn. And I blog.

    Coincidence?

    #7) Fake it ’till you make it: Upcoming rappers/bloggers have been known to make money by rapping/blogging about making money rapping/blogging.

    #8) This game ain’t for everybody: Phony rappers/bloggers have been known to “fall off” for biting other rappers’/bloggers’ rhymes/insights without giving props/links.

    #9) Hateration: You haven’t truly made it as a rapper/blogger unless a quorum of suckas be hatin’.

    #10) Legendary beefs: ‘Nuff said.

    [lol @ rafi's comment. Hilarious!]

  64. These are great comparison between a rapper and a blogger..^^ thanks for the wonderful post!

  65. Bloggers could never be rappers… Maybe these studio gangstas but… Big L?? Big Pun?? Yall gotta be fucking kidding me…..

  66. Why not? I, myself, do both and I’m quite proud of the results.

  67. Good analogy – I’d add in something about money…as in I don’t believe half the rap artists when they brag about how much they have…ditto the low-level wanna be probloggers (and maybe a few of the A-listers as well?).

  68. Cool analogy! Being a blogger and emcee do come hand in hand

  69. @ #35

    “Dude, anything that ends in “-er” rhymes with copyblogger.”

    Maybe if you’re Wyclef.

  70. Overall GREAT ANALOGY!
    Just two differences:

    A big difference may be the expanding market for mainstream bloggers due to embracing “open” and “free” standards. Many mainstream rappers haven’t yet caught the “open” and “free” mentality of web/music2.0.

    Second, blogging is not as varied or creative as rap just yet. I’ve heard a far more varied body of style, content and creativity from the less confined body of underground hip-hop than from blogging at this point. The evolution and distinctiveness in hip-hop probably comes from how long the form has been around — a good 20 years plus more than blogging.

    Again, overall though, excellent and funny analogy!

  71. Great article. Really enjoyed reading, and I have linked :).

  72. Dixon L. Creasey, Jr. :

    Informative, insightful article.
    Now: what blogger comes closest to emulating Whodini’s “Pickin’ Boogers”?

  73. This is a pretty lol + insightful article.

    There’s one thing though: rappers are a whole lot more into bling than bloggers (most of us can’t afford it any way).

    I’ll be putting a link to this one from my blog..thanks!

  74. Rap was originally a music form expressing a desire for liberation from oppressive socioeconomic conditions. Our dissent has since been commodified.

    See tickle-me gangster Elmo:
    http://contexts.org/socimages/2009/09/30/tickle-me-elmo-and-the-gangster-meme/

    Same with bloggers.

  75. Wish I was talented enough to even rhyme (did I spell that right?) in order to leave a clever comment, but all I can do is agree and laugh along with some of the others. Loved the post and you really made some great key points. Keep up the good work!
    Thanks!

  76. I’d add another similarity: There are a countless number of struggling rappers out there hoping to be the next 50 Cent — and there are a countless number of bloggers on the web hoping to be the next Shoemoney.

  77. What a great title to a post. Had to read it just to see how you related the two.

    Sorry….but can’t see myself as a Rapper….but you go for it. lol.