There was a lot of activity during last week’s event. Hundreds of people showed up. While out there, I constantly walked around to take in all the pockets of action and at one point came upon 9th Wonder talking to a captive audience. He was speaking with local emcees and sharing knowledge on what it takes to become a successful artist in the music industry. He also spoke about how to build a brand that would help one grow beyond North Carolina. I asked 9th Wonder if it would be OK to capture some footage and was intrigued.
Everyone is not going to like what you say or do, and 9th Wonder is no exception. For some reason, there are a good amount of artists and people who are engaged in hip hop in North Carolina that do not like him. Back in 2011, animosity towards 9th Wonder grew to the point where he penned a letter to the North Carolina hip hop scene [READ: 9th Wonder: “Crabs In A Barrel: The Downfall of NC Hip Hop” ].
Regardless of how some people feel, the man is a success and has a lot of knowledge to share. I have observed 9th Wonder taking time to give tips to many types of people on different occasions beyond this particular night (without any cameras rolling). This takes energy and many of y’all other industry favorites probably wouldn’t even take the time to be bothered. At any rate, I always enjoy listening to what 9th Wonder has to say and last week is no exception.
Y’all can check out the highlights after the jump.
Run That Back:
1. Create your own lane.
This may be difficult at first, especially if your style as an emcee, sound as a producer or content as a media personality is different from what’s already out on the market. As 9th Wonder pointed out, it may be make be difficult, but if you’re going to be successful and most important, STAND OUT, you must create your own lane.
2. Don’t step on anyone’s toes or bash anyone else.
In other words, don’t disrespect or disregard someone else who may be in the same area as you. Honestly, there is enough accolades and money to go around for everyone. Besides that, if you’re dope in your own regard (this goes back to creating your own lane) and focusing on building it up, you really shouldn’t have time to step on anyone else’s toes.
3. Create dope content that’s undeniable.
This can be music, art, clothes, ANYthing. If what you create is dope AND someone is willing to pay you for it, then you’ve got something. Even if you only make $20 to start out, and people continue to ask you for more, then you’ve got something. Do not worry if what you create is not mainstream (i.e. on the radio, covered by major outlets, etc.). Once you have organic success, keep going. According to 9th Wonder, this framework never fails. It’s on you to continue to build upon your initial $20 success.
4. It is not your obligation to help everyone who asks for it. You help your team/crew.
Now this is the tip that seems to continue to polarize people who are involved in the North Carolina hip hop scene. It is the expectation of many that 9th Wonder and several other folks who have been successful to help everybody. It is SO important for you to build a team/crew. Each person in your crew should have a specific job and tasks to do. One person could be the street team, someone else can build and maintain the website, another person can do clerical work. Many of the people that are successful in various industries can attribute their success to the people around them. Remember, you are the company you keep.
5. Be yourself.
As 9th Wonder pointed out, this one takes courage. It can be difficult to be different from everyone else and not follow what others are doing. Being yourself can work in your favor in the long run. By being yourself, you stand out. Standing out is what sets you apart from the rest.