Monday, July 20, 2015
For most aspiring Hip Hop artist, becoming a “rap star” and performing on the some esteemed award show will simply never happen. It’s not because they won’t work hard, or they are not talented. It’s simply a question of numbers: there are millions of aspiring artist, but only a few slots for super stars. This means that you should go into your grind knowing full well that it is a far greater chance that dream will never happen then it becoming reality. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is simply the reality of the facts and numbers.
With that being said, I often run into artists with grandiose expectations of breaking into the music industry. To tell you the truth, getting into the music business and being successful at something other than being a rap star is not only easier with better odds, most of the time its more profitable. I would never discourage any artists from going hard and trying to accomplish whatever they feel they can attain. Whether it’s getting to the level Jay-Z is on or even getting a huge Indie buzz and striking a jackpot slot on a great tour. If your dreams and passion for stardom can withstand all the hurdles you will no doubt face on that path, by all means get out there and grind!
Let's say you make all the moves you can make, rock hella shows, press up all the CDs, and network with all the right people, . Let's say you do everything you physically can, and it just doesn’t pop off, then what? I used to have that tunnel vision I see in many young indie artists. It was either make it to the top of the rap charts or die trying. I didn’t have a backup plan. I mean, why would you need one when you are the best MC you ever heard right? You’ve got the streets on lock, right? You’re grinding out here and you’re doing shows so it’s just GOT to work, right? Well, if it was that simple everyone would get on.
Why should all the connections, all the time and knowledge you have attained about the industry just go to waste because you can’t be a “star”? What about all the OTHER things in the industry you could be doing? Let’s say you do make it and you are the lucky rap lottery winner and gain some measurable amount of success as an artist on a NATIONAL level. How long can you really RAP? How many artists fall off after ONE single or project? You don’t have to go back to the block or a 9 to 5 just because being a RAPPER didn’t work or has run its course. What will you do AFTER RAP is the question you should ALWAYS ask yourself?
But, you don’t have to take my word for it. You can see for yourself the numerous examples in the industry that indicates what you do after or in conjunction with your role as an artist will determine your longevity in the music business. Frankly, more often than not, you won’t even make a lot of money until you get to this point. It’s not just me talking, it’s the Queen Latifiah’s LL Cool J’s, Flavor Flav’s, Ice Cube’s, Dr Dre’s, and so on that you can refer to for proof. Being a rapper now is more about becoming a brand to be able to sell something else to make money. You can love it all you want, but try getting paid a lot of money off just your music, and those odds we discussed before get chopped into even smaller bits.
You may know this already, but knowing and preparing for a scenario are two different things. Taking courses on music business, marketing, TV & Film production, broadcasting, these are just a few backup lanes that you can start to prep for NOW while you hit the studio and rock your shows. If you are not the school type, that still is no excuse to only focus on just being an artist alone. Having a wide skill set on various things in a given industry is always more powerful than being good at just one thing in that industry.
This blog is not about making you lose focus. Someone will read this and think that it’s in some way admitting you aren’t good enough to make it to the top. Actually it’s quite the contrary, it’s meant to help you understand that if you make it to the top as a rapper, you can take full advantage of that stardom by creating other lanes in which you can keep money flowing to your pockets long after your hot chart topping single has become a part of a karaoke machines play list. What you plan on doing AFTER your rap career is just as important as what you are doing now in pursuit of it.
There are a lot of occupations in the music industry that may bring you even more satisfaction then you could have ever imagined a Grammy could. The same people you always wanted to work with, you may not do a collaboration on a song with them as an artist, but interviewing them on your own show, starring with them in a film, partying with them for the release of your new clothing line, all of those could be just as sweet. So, do NOT I repeat do NOT stop going hard for the top. You want to be the next Drake, Kendrick, Meek by all means give it your absolute best shot. But I am willing to bet that even as I type this, those guys are ten steps ahead of me working on all kinds of deals and projects that have nothing to do with being an artist. If they aren’t then their respective managers should be fired immediately.
What will you do AFTER RAP?
-BLIZM (Program Director, K-100 Radio)
P.S. I never thought I would be doing radio or blogging when I was making albums and rocking shows. I still cringe a bit when people refer to me as "media" But here I am, and believe me; I’m a LOT more powerful then I have ever been! And some of the same people who ignored me as an artist are now hanging on to my every move. I'm just passing the game along.