Every month I find myself in a barbershop, record store, or club parking lot listening to artists claiming that record labels will sign just about anybody these days. I hear them complain about radio stations not playing their songs. I hear them talk about the lack of opportunities for artists with real talent to get heard. I've listened to many different versions of these same complaints for over five years as an artist, a manager, a studio owner, and a consultant. These complaints were the exact reason that I put together "The Beat Game: $5000 Rap Contest."
My whole purpose was to provide a level playing field where artists could showcase their talent and get some much needed exposure regardless of where they came from. The funny thing is, when I mention the contest to those same artists, half of them turn their nose up because they feel they are too good to be participating in such a contest while the other half will ask for more information. I'll talk to them and explain the details but once I tell them there is a $35 entry fee all but a few will loose complete interest. I've had artists tell me everything from "I don't pay to rap…" to "You should be paying us to participate…" I laugh it off because these are the same artists that sit around complaining about their situation, which brings me to the title of this article, "Why wack artist get deals!"
This is actually a very simple question to answer. I'm not insinuating that you can't be talented and make it in the industry but the truth of the matter is less talented artists work harder while artists that are more talent tend to think they can get away with doing less. An artist that is less talented has something to prove and will go the extra mile to prove it. Less talented artists may find it harder to get others to believe in their dreams so they will often be forced to take on more responsibility, often being their on manager, promoting their own shows, selling their own cd's, and pretty much being a one man movement.
On the other side of the fence is an artists that is much more talented but he is surrounded by people that see him as a meal ticket. They constantly inflate his ego with praise fooling him into a false sense of security as if he has already made it. At this point the artist tends to think that his talent alone justifies his position and that he should not have to perform the menial tasks of passing out flyers, selling CD's, working with other artists, etc. So these artists get so consumed in this false image that they have created in their head that they miss out on all the opportunities that the less talented artists jump at.
Go to any open mic and you will see exactly what I'm talking about. You will watch a room full of nobodies pretending to be some bodies. Let me just point out that I am not knocking independent artists; this is meant as a wake up call. Too often I watch artists sit around open mics and showcases just waiting for their turn to perform. They tend to post up in the back like their shit doesn't stink not networking, not clapping for other artists, and not even paying attention.
But the reality of the situation is you're at a damn open mic! You just paid to perform like the rest of these artists. You got to the club and signed a sheet of paper to get on stage. Didn't nobody call you down to the club to perform. There were no radio commercials for you and there is not a dressing room in back with your name on it. You are just another artist trying to make it. But the irony is, at that same open mics I will see less talented artist clap for everyone that performs even if only in hopes of having the favor returned. I watch as they float around the club passing out their CD's and talking to anyone who will listen. They are hungry and are willing to do whatever it takes to make it. It reminds me of the old Hertz Rental Car campaign "When you're number 2 you try harder." This is not to say that these artists aren't good but they understand that they are not where they want to be so they will do whatever it takes to get there unlike their counterparts that feel they are god's gift to the industry and expect everything to be handed to them.
To be perfectly clear, I am not saying that you have to suck to make it in the industry. I am simply stating that success doesn't come overnight. It has to be worked for. This article is about staying humble. A lot of great artists never realize their potential for success due to their lack of work ethic. Too often artists get so wrapped up in their own hype that they start believing that they're too good to shovel the shit.
They think that passing out flyers, selling their own CD's, participating in contests and performing at open mics is beneath them; but when you don't have a promotional budget to employ people to do these things or people booking you for shows…. Guess what… It isn't! There are artists with deals that still hit open mics trying to build a buzz on records so that the label will give them a release date. There are producers with platinum plaques still worried about getting placements and here you are sitting in the back of the Peacock acting Hollywood while you waiting for your name to be called off a list to perform. "Nigga quit bitchin' and get on yo job!"
This is just a public service announcement for all those bitter ass rappers, singers, DJs, producers, managers, and models that always complain about someone "less talented" getting the opportunities they feel they deserve. Quit waiting for opportunities and start creating them.
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