I think one of the reasons that Jay-Z is one of my favorite rappers is because alot of his music is motivational. It is based in business and competition.
It’s perfect workout music. And the gym or jogging is where I listen to music the most.
Some people workout to heavy metal or hard rock because of the aggressive sound.
I love hip-hop because of the aggressive rhymes… the aggressive words.
Jay-Z’s mantra is “I Will Not Lose”.
It’s not “I will win”.
The thought of losing is more urgent and important than the satisfaction of winning.
To me it speaks of perseverance. Of hanging in there. Even when the going gets tough not giving up.
Jay-Z didn’t give up when labels didn’t sign him. He created an independent label with his partners.
When the conventional rules of the music business didn’t fit, he wrote his own rules.
Case in point – when CD sales continued to dwindle because of new media forms, he forged a partnership with Samsung for his album which resulted in him going “platinum” overnight.
He hit the top of the charts, made money and his fans were able to access his music.
In the end he won.
By choosing not to lose.
Realistic. It’s a word used by parents, by teachers, by some friends.
It’s a word despised by kids, by dreamers, by entrepreneurs.
We see it as limiting.
They will say “Why dream big? You are not being realistic.”
Dreams aren’t supposed to be realistic.
I like to think of the saying – aim for the moon because even if you land on the clouds you will be okay.
If you only set your sights on the trees, you may not get hurt from falling from a branch to the ground, but you also won’t get the benefit of the chance that your dream can come true.
Of course there is also balance.
You can’t always have your head in the clouds.
I see rappers aspire to be the next Jay-Z, or the next Drake.
It’s great to have these aspirations. But it can also set yourself up for failure when you don’t achieve their level of success. Both of these artists are one in a million success stories.
What should you do?
I think the best thing to do is aspire to be the best you.
In the words of Oscar Wilde – “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”
Heard this gem from Gary Vee when he was on the Jim Rome show.
He was was talking about a question he received from a woman during one of his talks.
The question was something like: “Can you offer me motivation? I’m stuck.”
His answer: “You’re Gonna Die.”
Jarring, but it worked.
It’s something that makes me think of motivational speaking guru Tony Robbins.
He talks about how change comes when you change someones state. One of the most effective ways to do this is to shock them. A statement like this is shocking. But its also true.
When you realize that life is going to end, you drop the trivial, insignificant things and start focusing on the important.
You realize that time is short and that you need to hustle.
You realize that it doesn’t matter what others think or say about you, all that stands in the way of you and your goal is YOU.
We won’t be able to do this forever.
Picked up this from listening to Charlamagne the God’s audiobook. He recalls the story of when Beyonce walked into the room. According to Charlamagne there was several people in the room and when Beyonce came in she made it a point to walk up to each person and introduce herself.
Introducing yourself isn’t out of the ordinary, but it is when you are Beyonce – one of the most famous people on the planet.
She didn’t need to introduce herself. Everyone would have known who she is. But instead of assuming that they knew her, she was humble. She was polite when she didn’t have to be. As a result, I can only imagine how it made each person’s day – and more than that. It made a lifetime memory that they would share with countless people. The day that Beyonce took time to talk to them.
For Charlamagne, a famous radio personality, it also impacted him. If Beyonce can do it, why shouldn’t I?
That’s the thing about role models, they show you that doing the small things makes a big impact.
The only thing I like more than coming up with ideas is sharing them with others.
I find that when I share them with the right person, they get inspired as well, and it fires both of us up.
But on the other side, sometimes I share an idea and someone will respond “Okay, so what’s in it for me?”
Immediately my energy level comes down. I don’t have as much excitement.
Part of me thinks – they just don’t get it.
But a bigger part of me is disappointed.
To me its scarcity versus abundance.
When you say “What’s in it for me” you are thinking scarcity – there is not enough to go around so you have to focus on yourself.
When you think abundance, you are thinking – lets go harvest the fruit so that we can continue to build a bigger farm. You realize that the possibilities are endless.
I try to surround myself with people that help others and that are in a positive mood. It tends to rub off, and I want some more of that hypeness!
For a while in the 90’s it seemed like it was all about Malcolm X. For me it began on one of the first episodes of the Fresh Prince. I think it may have even been the first episode. Will had a poster on his wall of Malcolm X and his Uncle Phil skeptically asked “Do you even know what he represents?”
It wasn’t long after that when Spike Lee announced he was making about Malcolm’s life.
Denzel played the lead.
Then it became a fashion crazy. ‘X’ embroidered hats were everywhere.
I used to have this poster on my bedroom door. So I walked by it daily.
The quote still has an impact on me.
It reminds me that the work that I do today will have an impact on the future.
I love how Malcolm’s signature pose is him pointing to his forehead – Always thinking.
It’s become iconic.
Even decades after his passing, Malcolm’s words ring true to this day.
Was watching Lin-Manuel on Saturday Night Live and it made me think about the importance of finding your role.
Lin-Manuel is a rapper. He can spit bars with the best of them. His monologue on SNL proved that. He flowed effortlessly and he had some great punchlines.
But Lin-Manuel isn’t known as a rapper. He’s known as a playwright for creating Hamilton.
What if he had thought that the only way he could share his talent was by making a single to get played on commercial radio.
What if he thought he was only a rapper if he made a mixtape or an album?
With all of his success it sounds silly, but we often look at talent with a narrow viewpoint.
The thing is, the rules have changed.
A few weeks ago I got a gig that I would never have expected. I was doing voice over for a childrens cartoon. I played the role of a rapping dog. Back when I started rapping out twenty-plus years ago this would be the furthest thing from my mind, but it was fun. It worked.
Sometimes you have to think out of the box…
Or sometimes you just need to try new things until you stumble on the right one.