Blog Post #12: How to Get Booked For Shows as a Rapper

Depending on where you live, each zip code offers its own set of performance opportunities. While there are some similarities, pay attention to the details of each venue and platform to know if you’re the right fit for the gig.


Rappers looking to perform at DC’s Broccoli City Music Festival should note that the estimated attendance size of this show is 35,000 people. How does your fanbase and skill level compare to their past shows? Do they work with a specific genre? Have you ever performed for a big crowd before? Do people know your lyrics and do you know how to warm up a crowd? Can you sell 100 tickets? 50 tickets? 20 tickets? What’s your reach?

This is just an example but consider these questions before reaching out to a promoter or booking agent. I’ve contacted people who organize open mics and shows and find that most people prefer email. Sometimes the DMs work but you’ll have a bigger impact if you can submit an electronic press kit.

EPKs show who you are, using a combination of graphic design, visuals, and writing. You may have heard of a press kit before but if you don’t have one already, now is a great time to design one or hire a professional to create an EPK for you. Each element in the press kit should show your experience and talent. The more numbers you use, the better. Take a look at these examples to see why:

  1. “Kiki.D has been performing in LA for young and old crowds.”
  2. “Kiki.D has performed for 20,000 people, her biggest crowd, and she’s opened up for 100 hip-hop artists since 2010.”

Which statement sounds more impactful? Which one makes you want to book me more? Skilled writers (managers, PR professionals) creatively tell stories and rappers who have EPKs have a story to tell.

To get booked for shows, you have to know how to bond with people even if that means you’re the first one to speak. Knowing how to present data and high quality media is key because people want to see how seriously you take your music career.

Each community offers a variety of performance opportunities. Once you get booked and aquatinted, come prepared. Whether it’s a live stream or live gig on stage, it’s a business you want to get paid in (and negotiation skills are necessary, too).

Kiki.D performing live at Songbyrd in DC, Booked by eskystudiosnyc.

Do you have to bring your own equipment? Do you have to book a DJ for your set? How much are they paying you? Do you have 20 minutes of music ready to perform? If your goal is to be an opener for a specific artist, research and get creative on how to approach them, a tour manager, or someone else in between. Some venues are too small for some rappers. Find the venues that match your needs and connect with people in your network who may be looking for performers like you.

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