Illmind Rants About Selling Beats As An Independent Artist – We Debate


Last night, veteran producer !llmind took to Twitter to speak out against a common practice in the independent hip-hop production industry: selling beats.

At first, I thought !llmind was going to focus on the practice of leasing beats – that is, selling beats for cheaper and then continuing to sell that same beat to other artists. But no, !llmind went after the entire idea of selling beats for money.

Read on…

I was feeling what !llmind was saying up until he wrote, “work w/ people you BELIEVE IN…and don’t charge those people… just work and build those bricks WITH them.. these people are your new best friends…”

Here’s the problem with that, not everyone will have the opportunity to work with the next Kendrick or the next Drake when they’re a rising star. Hell, even collaborating with great underground artists like Kemba and Mick Jenkins is probably hard to come by. These artists reach out to the producer, not the other way around.

What !llmind is suggesting is for producers to find talented individuals they really like and then try to work with them. From personal experience and the experience of other Twitter users, this doesn’t work.

An artist is only going to work with a producer if they like the music they’re creating. Sure, a producer can reach out and try to work with a rapper or artist or another producer that they like, but it’s up to the person on the other end to agree or decline an offer to collaborate. This argument is underestimating the relationship between budding producers and rappers/singers.

What I think !llmind also misses here is that, for many producers, making beats is a job to them. Yeah, they love making music, but at the end of the day, they’re paying their bills by selling beats – something !llmind does acknowledge during his train-of-thought Twitter spiel.

Sure – the ideal scenario would be if both vocalist and producer were in it solely for the music and were mutual fans of each other’s music, but in such a saturated and competitive market, this is extremely hard to come by. Hell, the whole idea of producers leasing beats to rappers is pretty much the foundation of Soundclick and BeatStars.

!llmind goes on to question producer’s intent when leasing beats, wondering how they’ll ever be “great.” Again, I think !llmind is misconstrued in that, not every producer wants to be Metro Boomin or Just Blaze. Some producers are comfortable being more low-key and earning an honest living doing what they love. What’s so bad about that?

To me, this is a classic case of “do you.” !llmind found success by initially selling beats in the same way he criticizes, but eventually switched to working with people for free (apparently) and it worked out for him. Great.

Funny enough, Metro Boomin actually used to sell beats on the fly left and right “to rappers he never met and would never hear from again” when he was trying to make it back in St. Louis. He also gave away beats for free, but the indication is that he did this just to “hear people rap on [his] shit.”

!llmind would shortly go on to apologize for his words, as he tweeted:

The producer then continued his rant today (March 14), clarifying some of the points he made in addition to responding to feedback he received on his tweets, which was then followed by retorts from other Twitter users:

!llmind wasn’t all negative, though, as he routinely praised the producers who claimed to be happy and successful selling beats the way they did. The producer also offered praise to those helping the hip-hop community at large with their efforts. The discussion, he concluded, was really just a debate between two philosophies.

But in the end, I think !llmind fails to see various other factors involved in the equation here. He asserts “it’s” a waste of time, but doesn’t clearly explain why, nor does he really seem open to the idea that it’s not, despite other producers telling him that they don’t feel they’re wasting their time.

Eventually, !llmind’s argument seemed to evolve into more of a question about happiness: whether or not an artist was happy with the music they were making. This goes back to his point about working with rappers you hate. He even recognized that what made people happy obviously differed person to person

He ends by saying that his rant need not apply to producers who are happy selling/leasing their beats. This begs the question, then: who is he talking to?

Let us know your thoughts below.

Tags : beatsBeatstarsIllmindProducerSoundclick

The author Stone

Stone is a hip-hop enthusiast residing in NJ/PA. As an aspiring hip-hop producer, Stone studies communications and shares his passion for music by letting the world in on the wonderful world of hip-hop.