2 time “Mixtape of the Year” award winner, Gatsby, breaks down the some of most important things to ensure a decent album. As an artist, it’s crucial that you follow these steps. Everyone wants a project where no tracks are skipped with a long replay value, here’s how!
Place the focus on one theme, one song
-Building your album around some central point will make all of your music follow through a lot better. When you find a way to tie your music together, the transitions will work better and the album will flow seamlessly. This makes your project have less tracks that people will skip. Don’t worry about making a fire single off the bat, it’ll happen along the way. When I was making theredtape, “Crowns” was the first song I completed, and I built the rest of the album piecemeal around it.
Less is more, make the cuts
-Every song that you make will not be golden. Quite frankly, some of the ideas that you will bring to the table will be complete trash. In order to make a truly solid album, you’re going to have to make some cuts as you go along with the process. For example, if it takes you 4 months to make a project and you record 60 joints, 20 of those song should be strong contenders and you ultimately should end with around 13. Traditionally, shorter albums have always been stronger efforts, as they’re more focused, have less room for error, can easily maintain energy and capture someone’s attention span. The classic albums in history usually fall in the 40 to 50 minute range. Keep your album lean and there will be less room for error.
Production is the backbone, make it count
-You want to thread the line of consistency and variety, and making sure you have a solid production TEAM is the way to do that. A lot of people get the misconception that either having a shit ton of producers will make your album stand out, but that usually leads to a clusterfuck. On the other hand, having one producer for a whole project may kill momentum and turn bland. If you can lock down 3 to 5 producers, your album will have a healthy variety of sounds but still have a lane of consistency.
Don’t rush, spend quality time with your music
-Take your time making the music and give your self enough time to truly reflect on the sounds that you’re making. Spending time with your music means knowing the insides of everything and knowing how every song should sound, how every snare should hit, how every 808 should drop. I logged roughly 80 hours in Deep Productions during the course of the album being recorded, plus being present for all of the mixing and mastering. When you’re mixing the track, track out everything, have all of your single sounds in their own audio lanes to provide the best mix possible. This gave me a true appreciation of the album, plus really helped me in the editing process. Along with that, it made my live shows better because I knew how things would sound best during sound checks.
Don’t pay attention to the wave
-Don’t focus on outside musical factors or people or trends while you’re in the thick of recording. During the full writing process and heavy first recording sessions of a project, I usually take sabbatical from listening to any new music or trendy shit, and I keep about 5 different albums in varying tones in rotation until the project is done for inspiration. Making sure you’re not following the trend will help cultivate and preserve your own sound and prevent failure, as if you try to duplicate something in the curve, chances are you’ve already missed it.