Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sure You Can Spit A Rhyme, But Are You Marketable?

In a market saturated with so many hip hop artists, you’re going to have to go beyond just lyrical skill to make an impact. You know, the kind of impact where you influence the way a group of people dress, speak, and think. Far too many emcees ignore this aspect of their careers because they feel that they should remain free from “gimmicks”.
This is not the right line of thinking if you’re an artist who wants to expand your influence. Ask yourself, what defines you? If someone wanted to impersonate you, what would they wear? How would they speak? If you have no answers to these questions and have not thought about them, your cultural influence and marketability will be limited.
Whether it’s Kanye’s shutter shade glasses, Jay’s Yankee fitted, Tupac’s unique way of wearing his bandanna,  or Emenem’s white t-shirt and bleached hair, these artists all had more than a just musical impact on the culture. Why? Because they didn’t blend in with the rest of the pack. They dared to be different. Not just musically but visually as well.
Your marketability decreases when you ignore this part of your career. You have to show that you can have some impact in changing the way people think about you and themselves. Those that do this win. And this doesn’t just wok for mainstream artists. Independent artists Tech N9ne and MF DOOM, have a loyal cult of followers worldwide because of this aggressive separation from the herd. DOOM is a prolific emcee but he wouldn’t have the same mystique and impact without the mask. That shit has made him sort of a folk hero.
It’s difficult to be different from everyone else because most people are afraid to face ridicule, but eventually most of the laughers and haters become imitators. Create your own lane, stay persistent, and this will inevitably lead to a more successful career as an artist.

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