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The 50 Cent route to success

How long does it take to become an overnight hip hop success? In the case of 50 Cent, apparently three years. Often we see new artists spring up out of nowhere and it all looks so easy. However, there is usually a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes...

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How long does it take to become an overnight hip hop success?

In the case of 50 Cent, apparently three years. Often we see new artists spring up out of nowhere and it all looks so easy. However, there is usually a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes.

50 Cent's route to success was through the medium of the 'mixtape' or 'mix tape'.

Basically a mixtape is something that anyone with a cassette deck did way before hip hop was even invented - assembling favorite songs into a sequence on a cassette tape.

But that was before people realized that mixtapes have value.

There is so much music around these days that no-one wants to have to listen to all of it to find out what they like. There has to be some filtering process.

In the old days, this was the job of the record labels. They released the music they thought people would buy, and that was the only choice we got.

But now, any DJ - even working out of a bedroom - can put together a mixtape. And if enough people like the music that DJ chooses, then the mixtape becomes something that can be sold.

These days, mixtapes are very professionally produced and released on CD. Although legally, any tracks compiled into a mixtape should be licensed, there is a thriving underground culture of non-licensed mixtapes. Oddly enough, top artists endorse such illegal mixtapes because it gives them extra credibility, even if they don't get paid.

So there is an opportunity here. If you can produce a mixtape that people will buy, that could be your chance to get heard. Audio Masterclass is not legally able to condone the use of non-licensed tracks however.

But that's how 50 Cent got started and look where he is now!

By David Mellor Thursday June 15, 2006
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