Music producers and rappers, are you ready to collaborate with bigger music producers and rappers? Is it that time? Let’s talk about it.
Rappers and music producers, you have been advancing along in your career, you’re proud of your progress, your people around you are proud of your progress, even your grandma’s proud of your progress. She’s saying, my baby rapping, he produces so well, you got to hear his music, it’s at such and such dot com. She’s so proud of you, even your dog is looking at you like I’m really proud that you got this far. Great, that’s amazing. Here’s where a lot of producers go wrong after the stage in which they feel like they’ve grown tremendously. They immediately start shooting for the stars and I’m not saying shooting for the stars in the sense of trying to attain big things, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, I, myself, wish to attain big things and big accomplishments. But when your definition of big things and big accomplishments is, I’m going to stop working with local people and I’m only going to work with Jay-Z.
Wait a minute, did you hear that Meek Mill song, the one that said there’s levels to this? That wasn’t a lie, that wasn’t just something catchy in the chorus. That is the facts, there are levels to this and you know, although it may make us feel good and make us feel empowered to feel like, I’m gonna work with Jay-Z tomorrow. It may make you feel that, it’s just not the way it happens. Here’s the thing you gotta understand about people that are powerful as a Jay-Z or even powerful as your favorite rapper. Whoever that may be. They are used to people on a regular basis, trying to drain their energy. They’re used to people trying to drain their resources. They can’t go anywhere, they can’t walk anywhere, they can’t talk about anything without being under a enormous radar and without having people around them that want to just take, take, take. I need this, I need this, I need this.
So, where in your mind do you believe, now is the time I’m ready to go work with this person because I’m dope? That’s almost like being a great streetball player and walking up to Lebron and saying yo, let’s play pick-up game. He is not going to risk, his millions of dollars that is invested not only into his brand, but into his physical body to play a pick-up game on cement with Jo Shmo from who knows where? He’s not going to risk that. And these rappers, or these people that you look up to, these producers are not going to risk their brand, just because you’re a hotshot from your neighborhood. That’s not the way it works.
You wanna build relationships, the same thing with building a relationship with a significant other. It takes time, it takes an investment of your time. It takes more of an investment of your time because it means more to you. To them, you’re just another face that they meet, until you start to build enough significance for them to remember you. Either you’re showing up at sessions multiple times, maybe they’re seeing you in multiple places, maybe you have a very identifiable way, or identifiable branding and look to yourself, and they remember you from that. Like I used to have the flat top all the time and people were like, yo, you the dude with the flat top with the blonde on it. Yo, man, we need to link up. Because immediately they associated the blonde flat top and all of that to dope beats and that got me in the room a lot of times, but here’s the thing about it.
I never approached this, I shouldn’t say never, I approached it one time. I remember there was a young Kendrick Lamar who released this song called on my mind, right? And he was Myspace and it was dope and Swiss Beats produced it and I thought man, this song is dope, this is crazy, but at the time he was just k dot, he wasn’t Kendrick Lamar, he was just K dot, he was Jay rocks you know, left hand man or whatnot and I decided to reach out to his management. Like yo, if there’s a possibility to get on a remix to this song, just let me know, like I’ll do anything to get on top of that song and I got a read response and nothing, I’m sorry, I got a read, to show the person read the actual message but never responded back to me. Why? Because I wasn’t even on the level, even when K dot was local, I wasn’t even on the level for that conversation to make sense.
You gotta make it make sense and the way you make it make sense is not trying to prove yourself, in my opinion, is not trying to prove yourself, at least the most respectable way is not trying to prove yourself to one human being. That person has the same 24 hours that you do, invest that energy instead into your own growth. Invest that energy instead into building your own situation, make the noise so loud about your branding, make the noise so loud about your beats, and it’s not just you making the noise. I think a lot of people get that misconstrued and think, oh I gotta talk louder about my stuff. I gotta be the Lavar ball of these music producers. No, and I love Lavar Ball but this is not what you have to be to build a brand around yourself. You want people that cannot stop talking your particular style of beats. Man, have you heard of this dude? You know, so and so? Man, he has the craziest sample beats right now, it reminds me of like Jay Dilla meets Metro Booming. I wanna know that producer, because the conversation around them precedes their actual status within the actual music industry.
So, work towards that, to me that’s a better use of your energy, instead of trying to audition for somebody. That’s why I would never you know, jump into contest, like American Idol or if there’s a rap version, there’s one with Diddy or whatnot. I would never jump into these types of things, because I’m not auditioning to become, you know, somebody who is great in the eyes of those people. I’m auditioning for myself. I’m auditioning for the visions and the dreams that I have for myself. You need to gain that independence and it’s gonna take time, but it’s not gonna come at the expense of trying to prove yourself to everybody and oh, please just give me an opportunity. Why? Because that man or woman now owns your destiny, that man or woman now you owe everything going forward. They get a piece of what you got. Why not build it on your own when things are humble? Why not build around people that make more sense to your level of experience, you level of expertise? You can’t just level up because people around the neighborhood say you’re dope. It’s like you know, I bet you know somebody right now who’s crazy you know, street ball player, that don’t mean they gonna make it to the NBA. Why? Because there’s more than just being a great shooter, there’s more than just you know, dribbling a basketball, it’s more than just making somebody look crazy on the court. It’s fundamentals. There’s experience, there’s things that only experience can teach you.
So, the next time you start feeling you know, I’m better than this producer, why am I not on his level? It’s not about that, it’s never been about that. It’s never been about just the pure talent. The pure talent will at least get you an acknowledgement from someone. But it takes a lot of hard work, it takes a lot of patience, it takes a lot of, you know, having to eat dirt a lot of the times, eat other people’s dirt and then you build your independence and then especially with the internet. Dude, you got the internet right now. You have the internet at your disposal, you’re probably watching this on a freaking mobile device. You know, when I was a teenager, the kind of cell phones we had, we didn’t even have color on the cell phones. You are watching me now in HD, 1080, probably 4k on your iPhone X. No more excuses. Build your own and build it so loud that every time you level up, it makes sense and when the catch the eye of other people, what’s gonna happen is, you’re not gonna go to them hoping and praying they give you an opportunity, you’re gonna go about this whole business as if, I’m going to be all right. I’m going to be good cause I work hard, I do great work, I invest in myself, I invest in my future. I’m always investing into my growth. I’m gonna be alright.
These folks that you look up to, they’re here today, gone tomorrow. What’s the difference between you and them? And they’re in that position? Do you have the heart? Do you have the mindset of sustainability? These are questions you should ask yourself as you begin to level up and start to collaborate with these people. I don’t know if you’re ready. You won’t know if you’re ready, until you start to meticulously work on every single step of the way, appreciate the step, learn the lessons and then move up where it makes sense. But don’t be afraid to collaborate with people who are on the same, they’re right there, they’re right there, work with them. You see somebody that’s one level up and not 14,000 levels up, cool, work with them, learn from them, cool. Work with this person, learn from them, teach people along the way, give and share value, be a person of value, you never have to worry about what your place will be in this industry.
So, those are my thoughts, I would love to hear your thoughts. We encourage engagement. What do you feel about producers and artists who just feel like hey, I’m tight, I can collaborate with anybody. There’s levels to this obviously. But what do you feel about that? We’d love to hear your comments. We encourage engagement.
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