One of the best know ways to rappers/hiphop artist promote themselves is to release a Mixtape and place it online for free. Some sites include Datpiff, livemixtapes, soundcloud and many more. Artist even takes the step to go out on the side walk and pass out mixtapes. Overall this is good promotion, but it is not effective as there are other things they can do while doing these particular thing and get a better outcome.
Many of us feel that our music is that good that once a download and a listen occurs we believe that they will become a life time fan; but this is not true. The thing to do is to make sure that they become a fan is by collecting these listeners info. How do you do this you say, well create a site and request their email. You can also use site such as reverbnation to do this.
If you choose to give away cd’s as for a email address to keep them updated on upcoming events, new music and so forth. Making contact and keeping contact will create a life long fan if you are putting out good music ofcourse. Think outside the box because just about everything you see is not the way to the top. Believe me the ones there had a different plan.