You know whenever your favorite song comes on the radio what you hear first is the hip hop beat. It's the rap beat that gets you to nod your head first. A hot beat is recognizable right away and can make or break a song.
Think of hip hop without the beat. Even though rap has gone away from old school hip hop with thicker base lines to instrumental beats and dirty south beats the principal is still the same. You can't rap without a beat.
In order to finish your flow, and no matter how polished you are, the rap beat can either make or break your work. Choose the wrong beat, a beat that's too slow, or even just wrong as say a rap instrumental when you need a dirty south beat, and the impact of the rap is lost. This is why the best hip hop producers spend so much time choosing their beats. They sample beats and instrumental beats obsessively from a wide variety of hip hop beat sources to get the perfect sound.
You should download free hip hop beats whenever you can, and listen until you find the rap beat, even beats with hooks, that offsets your style perfectly. Isolate the style of your flow and decide which beats best compliment how you rap.
Do you need dirty south beats, or rap instrumentals or club beats? The way to find out is to sample various beats and try them all on and even use the free beat maker. In some cases you might like the way an R&B beat sounds, but you won't know unless you try multiple beats. And a great beat can make a rapper with a mediocre flow go platinum. Hip hop beats can stay with you. A hot rap beat will sell a song even more than the lyrics themselves. Since this is the case producers can charge high prices for hot hip hop beats. Those producers who have been known to produce the hottest beats often command the biggest pay checks.
In the dog eat dog world of record producing an up and coming rapper might worry that no matter how tight his flow, he will never be able to afford the hottest hip hop beats that will make him go platinum. But this is not the case. You can find some free beats, and demo hip hop beats to find which are the hottest and which are those rap beats that best suite your own diverse style. You don't have to settle for less when looking for the perfect rap and hip hop beats. When you have so many hip hop beats available and you can even download free beats you can be sure that you are getting the perfect beat to compliment your style.
Once you have the beat that compliments your style, don't just rap over it with the words you have already written or put down, but make sure to play with the beat and understand the different sections and how they may interplay with sections of your song. For instance, if you have chosen a beat with a hook you may want to include the hook in your lyrics. If you have discovered an instrumental beat, or a hip hop beat that has an instrumental section you may think about slowing your rhythm down or even speeding up in this section. What matters most of all is how you interplay with the beats.
Don't ever forget that practice is the key to success. And while it is still true that a great beat can make a song, an artist is made by himself, but with some great hip hop beats to rap to and practice with, you will find success if you try.