5 Tips for Preparing for Your Hip-Hop Mixtape Release

In this guest post, Kayla Calloway gives independent and up-and-coming hip-hop artists tips on how to effectively prepare a mixtape release.

Whether you are prepping for your first mixtape or this is your next go round, here are 5 tips for preparing for a successful mixtape release excerpted from “The Essential Guide to Hip-Hop Marketing & Publicity.” So in the words of Trinidad James “Lemme give you a checklist:”

1. Choose a DJ

When starting out, especially if it’s your first mixtape, choose a DJ who is on the come-up as well and who truly believes in your music. Or you can go the latest route used by emerging Atlanta hip-hop artist, Rich Homie Quan, and host your own mixtape.

2. Find a Studio

Find a studio that you are comfortable recording in, and once you have blocked time, make sure that you come prepared. Write your rhymes at home and be ready to go when you arrive to the studio.

3. Mix

Have your mixtape cleaned up and mixed by a professional engineer who knows what he is doing. Make sure that the sound is clear and crisp and that the sound levels are balanced throughout your mixtape.

4. Hire a Graphic Artist

When hiring a graphic artist for your mixtape cover, you need to make sure they understand your music and brand and that they can bring your ideas to life or that they can bring forth their own creative cover ideas that will represent you and your mixtape effectively. So, with that being said, here are three tips to consider when hiring a mixtape cover graphic artist:

  • Versatility: When selecting a graphic artist, make sure that they are versatile, creative, and have a range of design skills, because you want someone who can convey your individuality and the themes and messages of your music, not someone who has a one-size-fits-all approach to designing mixtape covers.
  • Track Record: Request to see work they’ve done in the past. Additionally, when you’re hiring for services, such as PR, marketing, or website design, check track records as well.
  • Professionalism: I know that the hip-hop industry can be a little casual, but business is business. Make sure you have a timeline for the work and ask that the graphic artist is being consistent with you and communicating effectively with you throughout the process.

5. Use Social Media to Gear Up for Your Mixtape Release

  • Engage: Follow other hip-hop artists, both up-and-coming and established, who have similar fan bases and followers. Additionally, follow DJs and other hip-hop influencers, such as hip-hop editors, bloggers, etc. Keep track of who’s mentioning you.
  • Get Fans to Promote for You: Constantly engage with your fans and include them on your journey. For example, you can ask fans for feedback regarding the title of your mixtape, which track to promote, mixtape cover art, etc. Join their conversations; don’t just always flood them with links pertaining to your music.
  • Plan: Plan a content strategy so you do not get distracted from the bottom line.

This list covers the basics. However, I would like to also mention the importance of working to build your fan base prior to releasing your mixtape. For more hip-hop marketing and publicity tips, visit kaylacalloway.com. Got any questions for me? Leave a comment below!

All the best with your mixtape release!

Kayla Calloway is a hip-hop enthusiast with over 5 years of PR experience, with specific concentrations in media relations and writing. Kayla has a strong rapport within the hip-hop editorial community and is the author of “The Essential Guide to Hip-Hop Marketing & Publicity”. She has secured media placements in XXL, The Source, Allhiphop.com, Creative Loafing, AJC and more. Kayla can be reached on Twitter and Facebook.


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Kevin5 Tips for Preparing for Your Hip-Hop Mixtape Release


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  • Austin Wilkes - May 6, 2015 reply

    How’s it going Kayla? First of all, great read! I’m a journalism major myself, so I always give props when great writing is at hand. I was wondering if you had any advice on how to reach out to the forums in order to get press coverage? I have some great music, but I hate that I can’t reach everyone with it.

    Sam - May 12, 2015 reply

    Hi Austin — I’d recommend reaching out to Kayla on Twitter at @kvcalloway, that way she can answer you more directly. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  • kevin - May 15, 2015 reply

    hi im an up and coming artist hence I didn’t say rapper to limit myself but I was curious on a mixtape can you use famous rappers music or would that cause copyright issues and what is the easiest way possible to get signed to a label

    Sam - May 19, 2015 reply

    Hi Kevin — I’d recommend reaching out to Kayla on Twitter at @kvcalloway, that way she can answer you more directly. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Amnediel Beatz - June 18, 2015 reply

    Hi there Sam/Kayla great blog i run the most popular unisnged music site in the world and we are currently looking for bloggers. We specialise in dj drops, mixtape covers and music promotion and have a trending hashtag on twitter #musicmoney please holla at me if you are interested @amnediel or on my site http://www.musicmoneypr.com/mixtape-covers/4588207610 thank you have a great day

  • Calvin - January 12, 2016 reply


    Calvin - January 12, 2016 reply

    I know how old school this question sounds but I will ask anyway(btw thank you as well). I’d rather talk about love and peace all day on records and MC without…how do I say this “praising the golden calf”, but that is not the world we live in. I know my “sword” is sharp, but you can’t destroy to rebuild without leaving a mess. Now, as much as I love Hip Hop and Emceeing, I hate vanity and want nothing to do with the game ( I do it for me and others like me). However, it’s obvious, on the subject of the “world” that time is running out, people have no idea what is coming (or what is already here), and quite frankly I don’t have anymore time to waste and even less patience for any more ignorant BS. So, I suppose the question is, at least in this case: How do you do the “impossible”. I know i sound crazy, but I don’t think so, and i don’t care. i hope you can help, but If you can’t I thank you for listening anyway.
    Calvin D. Rayford Jr.(RAYOUNG)

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