Not everyone is going to be an artist, ripping and spitting the brashest, most life-altering bars. Not everyone is going to be that go-to producer banging out genre-defining beats for Hip Hop mix tapes and albums. And not everyone will have the capacity to be that all-powerful, omnipresent music mogul who’s smartphone is ringing off the hook with associates claiming to have found “the next big thing” 85 times a day.
With regard to making a career in Hip Hop and in the music industry alone, times and circumstances are constantly changing, and it’s up to anyone that claims they want a career in the industry to think and be flexible, be open, be honest and, arguably most importantly, be creative. Just like there’s more than one way to skin a cat or kill a roach, there’s more than one way to build a career in the world of Hip Hop music. Take it from someone who’s just like many of you out there and still trying to that same thing everyday. Here are a few ways that you can move differently and build that career in the Hip Hop industry that you’re pining after.
Artists like Tech N9ne, Immortal Technique, Killer Mike, El-P, Action Bronson, Chance The Rapper and many more you may have never heard of are masters at knowing themselves, their fans and honing their respective niches in Hip Hop. That same mentality can be used when building a career as something other than an artist, producer, label owner or promo person. Use what’s special about you and those around you to your advantage in creating he Hip Hop music career that you want.
KNOW THE HISTORY
Hip Hop is growing up before our very eyes, what with Jay Z constantly dropping bars about fine art, Nas fronting large orchestras and fans celebrating the 20th anniversaries of albums like Illmatic, Ready To Die and Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik. A great way to break into Hip Hop these days is to know what circumstances it grew out of and how it has evolved, instead of constantly focusing on the hot, the new and the now. Many books, articles, essays and educational videos are yet to be done on Hip Hop. Possible careers? Journalist, educator, historian, activist…the possibilities are a mile wide.
It’s a genre that was created by an American underclass, but Hip Hop is a global phenomenon that’s just now starting to gain a stronger grip in countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and beyond. Some of the most talented Hip Hop artists exist far outside the borders of the U.S., from Tinie Tempah in the U.K. to MC Melodee of Amsterdam. If you’re able to become a fan of or connect with a globally recognized artist, it could work wonders for your career in music.
BE A RABID RESEARCHER
By no means is it the most glamorous part of the music industry, but it is without a doubt one of the most essential. We have access to tons of information in this day and age, but who really wants to comb through all of it, especially all the research that comes along with Hip Hop? You can be that person: constantly digging, reading, writing, contemplating, deciphering and decoding to help the creative person you are in the service of take their career to the next level.
LOOK OUTSIDE OF MUSIC
The excuses of “I’m doing it for the love of the music” or “the music is what drives me” are fine. But the reality is that the Hip Hop industry has less to do with music now than it once did. For that reason, diversify! You don’t have to be a sleazy salesman about it, but take steps to look at ways you can do things that have to do with Hip Hop outside of just the music aspect. Are you good at writing? Photography? Public Speaking? Event Planning? Teaching? Accounting? Community Organizing? Use Hip Hop as your foundation, but think critically about how you can go beyond the borders that everyone else is trying to hop over. Google+