This Exclusive Article was Authored by Drega
It’s been a wild ride getting into this music thing for the last few years: from breaking on O Meri Rani to the super viral Brown Girl Problems and to now with All I Know, I’ve had my share of highs and lows. The other day I figured out I had done about 20 music videos and was a little blow away. Where did the time go? I get a little teary eyed thinking about the places hip hop has taken me. I’ve seen so many of my fellow artists come and go, what has allowed me to keep playing the game? Well I’m going to tell you right now. Keep in mind these are not just for artists, but anyone trying to do anything whether it be for people trying to build a business, build a community or even get healthy.
1. Don’t Try, Experiment
Instead of saying you’re going to “try” something say you’re going to do a little experiment. I find when I approach things this way, the outcome whether good or bad, doesn’t affect me as much as if I say I’m going try. An experiment to me feels like a scientist seeing if this drug will work. If the drug doesn’t work, sure the scientist feels bad, but he’ll take what he learned from the experiment and try something new. When most people say they’re going to try something, say like to lose weight, as soon as they don’t see any results they give up. They don’t bother trying again because they attach failing with something wrong with them. As someone that’s failed millions of times, I can say it’s not something wrong with you, it’s something wrong with your approach. So experiment to find the right approach.
2. Do Whatever Scares You the Most First
Ever since I dropped Brown Girl Problems, I’ve learned that the scariest thing to do is usually the best thing to do when making art or making business decisions (and maybe even in matters of the heart). You’ll know you’re on the right track when you’re scared before you release it to the public. It’s because if you’re not scared, you’re just doing the same thing over and over again and are comfortable with it. To me this isn’t art. I get my greatest joy from the creation process and I just can’t get interested in something if I’ve done it before. It’s like going out with a girl, whose exactly like a girl you’ve dated before. You find yourself saying the same stuff and it’s just “been there, done that” literally!
3. Don’t Listen to Anyone, Especially Your Parents
Parents are amazing. They take care of us, love us, feed us, clothe us, teach us and sometimes beat us. The one thing that parents don’t let us do is risk our lives. But paradoxically that’s what we have to do to make it in this world, especially now with the way the economy is in 2015. I’ve literally risked my life to make art and it took me a long time to come to grips with this. I would see my friends who were doctors and accountants making so much money and feel like, “Fuck why didn’t I do that!”. It was only when I gave in and realized, “Okay some people are hard wired to be good in math and science, and some people are hard wired to be creative”. Now that I’ve devoted my life to art that struggle within me no longer exists. My parents who wanted me to become a lawyer or something fancy so that they could brag to their peers, accept my choice and even if they didn’t I wouldn’t give a fuck. Because fuck them! Haha just kidding love you mom!
4. Invest in Yourself
A problem I had when I was starting music was affording studio time. There was just no way I could spend $50 an hour recording, especially since I write and produce my songs from scratch when I’m in the studio. I would end up spending thousands just for one song! This isn’t a very good business model. And your goal should be to keep playing the game, keep experimenting, if you have no money, you can’t play. So I taught myself how to record and mix. I’ve actually gotten so good at it that I make a nice living just of audio engineering. And I never went to school for it! If I didn’t invest the time and blood and sweat and tears into learning this craft, I would have never been able to make the music I want to make. I obviously taught myself how to produce which is vital when you can’t afford beats. I’ve also for the last two years been learning how to direct my own music videos, learning about camera lenses and all that videography shit. I’m obviously not the best at it, but I’m experimenting. People tell me they’re so driven to make it, and I say, “Okay do you know how to produce? mix? direct?”. If you’re not putting in the effort to learn the things that will help you get to where you want to go, don’t tell me you’re so driven, cause you look like a wannabe.
5. Haters Give You Promo
I have a confession to make I’m a really sensitive person. I take things way too personal and have like this hyper sensitivity to everything. This is usually good, especially for making art, or being Spiderman, but for being a rapper who posts videos on youtube is not such a good thing, cause as you know the level of hate on youtube is something that doesn’t even exist in the real world. The thing is: hate is vital. Drake once said, “haters give me promo”. And this principle alone should be taught in school. Because if people are not hating on you, then you’re not reaching the public. You need the kid who knows nothing about you to say, “You’re ugly” and “You suck” and “You should die”, because the more hate he has for you, the more he’s likely to tell other people how much he hates you. And this is great because he then shares your video with others saying something like, “Look at this loser!”.
If all my songs have nothing but positive comments, I’ve failed because the only people watching them are my friends, family and real fans. I need more haters because those people are usually people who just don’t get “it” now, but will later on. How many times has their been an artist or even a product that came out that you hated but then later on came to love? It happens all the time and is the way the world works. Look at how many people hate Kanye or Obama or Fox News. All that hate leads to more people checking you out and more people getting to know you and eventually having to like what you have to offer. So get your haters up!