There has never been a better time to be an independent rapper or singer. No longer do you have to spend countless dollars on expensive studio time to record quality sounds. You'd be surprised how many of your favorite songs were probably recorded in the artists basement, then taken to a professional studio to be mixed and mastered. Because the processing power of the computer has increased so drastically, it is now possible to have the power of a fully functional studio in your house. If you purchase the correct equipment, it is possible to record your own music at home.
The first thing you need is a computer with a high amount of RAM and a hard drive (internal or external) with a lot of memory. Having a Mac would be ideal, but a well built PC will suffice if you lack the funds. I also recommend getting a TB (terabyte) hard drive, as they are relatively inexpensive and will most likely last you your entire music career. I have a terabyte hard drive that is not even at 60% yet and I've had it for three years. Having a lot of memory is important because recording Wav and AIFF files take require loads of memory. Your system will crash if you don't have enough available resources. The good news about this is that memory is very inexpensive these days. Expect to spend about $80 to $160 for a good hard drive. You can spend anywhere from $1,000-$5,000 for your entire computer system.
The next thing that is necessary is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) such as Pro Tools, or Logic. Pro Tools is still the leading competitor when it comes to DAW's because your session are compatible in any major recording studio in the world. While Logic is a great program, you may run into problems when traveling from studio to studio with your music. If you don't plan on transferring your music anywhere, Logic Pro may be an ideal choice for you.
Along with the DAW, you will need to purchase a good quality condenser mic. If you spend anywhere from $100-$500, you should be in good shape. But if your budget can spare, spend $1,000+. This alone will set you above the majority of rappers that record their vocals at home. You get what you pay for, and you will definitely notice a difference in the crispness of your voice.
Once you have your recording set up correctly, you're going to need to get some instrumentals to rap to. A good producer is not hard to find these days, it seems like everyone makes beats now. You can search the internet with terms like "buy beats online" or "beats for sale" and you'll find some very good online producers. Having high quality beats is another important aspect of recording at home, if not the most important. A great instrumental can mask a less than ideal recording environment and give you an expensive sound.
Recording at home seems to be the ideal for up and coming rap artists. The costs are lower and it expands productivity given that it is possible to record at anytime at no cost. It is not necessary to over spend when it comes to studio equipment, but it is also important not to be cheap. You will be safe spending about $2,500 for your entire setup, and it will last you a long period of time without having to upgrade anything.