This series came to my mind recently when I had a conversation with a colleague about not knowing the path to reach his goals. He wasn’t sure on how to be successful in his career. Not to be deep into his business, I pretty much told him that the blueprint to almost everything you want to do in this industry is right in front of your face you just have to pay attention. So as someone who actively people watches, watches interviews on how people became successful and as someone who is a visionary like myself (lol) can see that there are set ways at the core that people make a name for themselves. With this series, I’ll be breaking down a particular career in media/ business and will show examples of what is the blueprint to how to reach the top of that business based off of popular examples.
For the first edition of this series, I’ll be showing the blueprint on how rappers can make a name for themselves. If you follow hip-hop then you know there are usually two types of artists, artists with a cult fanbase with a long career and then artists who are hot for the moment who might just have a handful of songs. I’ll be highlighting artists who are looking for long careers and cult followings.
Rappers (w/ cult followings):
Examples: Russ, J Cole, Logic
1. Make Good Music. I’m not going to go too deep into this but this shouldn’t be stated, you have to be good at what you do. This is probably going to be the first selection for all of these articles. So now on to the second option.
2. Release Music Consistently. Once you have good music this is the next thing you should be doing. If you are an artist who is versatile in the type of music you create then it would make sense to drop tracks consistently that will allow your fans to resonate with. We are in a single based culture right now, so dropping mixtapes or albums feel very unnecessary right now. Russ is an artist that dropped a track every week for years and was able to grow a large following independently just by releasing different types of tracks. By dropping different types of tracks (especially if they are hot) it allows you to bring in different fans. Also the more you do something the better you get at it, so releasing music will just make you as an artist better.
3. Give Back To Your Fans. This is something that J. Cole, Logic and Russ have all done and you can tell it by the way their fans respond to them. Even though these artists were making great music that spoke to their fanbase, it seems like the things that grew their fanbase, even more, was creating experiences that were just for their fans. J Cole and Logic went to their fan’s home to play the music from their upcoming projects. J Cole also created his Dollar And A Dream show that allowed his fans to see him perform for just a dollar. Logic, during performances, has brought his fans on stage to rap with him and sometimes even play video games with him. When you give your fans an experience that is just for them it allows them to resonate more with you and with that they will support anything you have going on. Even though you can’t do this for all of your fans, the couple that you do it for will continue to share the story of how great you are as a person where people who aren’t even fans of yours will understand who you are.
4. Create Engaging Content. Now, this is actually describing two different things. When I say create engaging content I mean songs that actually speak to your audience as well as visuals that are actually completely different than what other artists are doing. Logic created a song that was about suicide. When you know your audience then you can create music that actually speaks to what they have going on it helps create more of a bond between yourself and them. Now when it comes to visuals, you need visuals that are different from what your competition is doing. That means you need to be more creative. Artists like Cole, Childish Gambino, Logic, Joyner Lucas have used creative video concepts to allow them to build their buzz. If you are an artist, you have to be aware that the general video concepts that everybody uses don’t stand out at all and it does nothing for you.
If you are an artist and want to have a long career like some of the artists mentioned, there are ways to make a name for yourself but if you think about it those artists have done these things to build the following that they have. There might not be a set path to success but there are always common themes that artists have done to get to where they are at. It is all about recognizing those themes.