Making a rap album can go on for long periods of time.
Most rappers record more than enough material for their projects in order to have a huge catalogue to pick from.
One of the many questions that arise after one finishes recording a rap album is, how many songs should a rap album have?
This is mostly a beginner question but I’m sure anyone that has been in the music industry long enough has at one point or another asked this question.
So, How many songs should a rap album have?
I conducted a survey based on 41 rap albums released between 1988 to 2021 and based on my findings: the average number of songs on these albums was 16.1. Therefore based on the success of these albums its safe to say 16 is a good number of songs to have on a rap album.
Below are the albums Surveyed for the purposes of this discussion. These are some of the rap albums released between 1988 and 2021.
The total Number of Surveyed albums are 41.
Determinants of the Number of Songs on An album
While having 16 songs may be a great thing for your album, there are various Determinants that you should take into consideration when figuring out album length, I’ll discuss some of these below.
I’ve produced on many different albums that were created and structured in different ways.
With this in mind, it’s only right that I tell you to consider the actual message that your album is trying to convey.
For many conceptual albums created around a working theme that is meant to deliver a message in a well orchestrated manner,
the amount of songs will usually depend on the length of the message or theme to be portrayed.
Therefore, if the rapper can only convey his message or narrative over a span of 20 songs then that’s that’s number that he should go with.
There’s really no downside to doing so.
I say that because, shortening the album in such a scenario would only lead to the artist delivering an incomplete message which would reflect badly on their career.
Some albums on the other hand are not really built around a theme and simply meant to be a collection of great songs crafted by the artist.
In such a situation, you can boil down the number of tracks to a number that you’re comfortable with,
16 being a good starting point as you’ve noted from the Surveyed Data.
The length of your project should also take into account your audience.
Most new school rappers that have young fans mostly below the age of 25 will usually opt to create an album with only a few songs because the fan attention span is short.
Which is why it’s important to consider your fans.
If you’ve already put out full length albums before.
Consider which of them has performed the very best and consider putting out an album with the same amount of songs.
On the other hand, If you’ve never put out an album before, you can experiment with the number of songs you put on your album but my general recommendation is 14-16 and upwards .
Every artist that releases an album always has an idea of what they want the album to do for them and the industry in general.
Vision is purely subjective so you cannot rely on a formula to work with on your album unless it’s one devised by your overall plan.
One of the key things that should determine the number of tracks you wish to have on your album should be your vision for your album.
If you intend to connect with your audience on a deeper level,
then you have to create enough material from them to resonate with,
usually a 16 to 20 track album can do this.
On the other hand, if you’re simply looking to give some content to your audience then a short album can serve you best and actually work to your advantage.
But keep in mind that the amount of tracks you have on an album will translate into the value that your audience attaches to your album.
Using the Surveyed Data above, 16 tracks are a good number of songs to have on album. This is because the data above represents albums that have been typically well received.
Therefore, you can use the number of tracks as a clue of what works well with a hiphop audience.