In this article, we’ll go over different rules that helped rappers and hip hop moguls become successful.
Feel free to jump to any part by clicking the titles:
- 3 Success lessons from P Diddy
- 3 Success lessons from Dr Dre
- 3 Success lessons from Eminem
- 6 Success lessons from Kendrick Lamar
- 3 Success lessons from Biggie
- 3 Success lessons from Jay-Z
- How old were these rappers when they got famous
- How did T.I. get famous
- How did DMX get famous
3 Success lessons from P Diddy
P Diddy is one of the wealthiest hip hop mogul in the world, amassing a net worth of $700 millions and counting.
This man is a synonym of longevity in the entertainment business. He has endured all the changes, trends and taste swings that are so common for the music industry.
P Diddy has not only endured, but managed to stay on the forefront of hip hop throughout decades, while others were quickly falling off the wagon. Let’s see what we could learn from him.
1. Dedication and Hard Work
To all the dreamers out there, keep dreaming man, but you know, sometimes you gotta wake up from a dream and go get it. If you’re chasing your dream, you ain’t running fast enough. Run Faster
We all like to dream and imagine what it would be like when we achieve our goals, but that’s not enough. You have to put in the actual work. There is no magic involved when striving for success.
Another great thing Diddy said was that “You get out of it, what you put into it”
Live by those rules. Don’t complain when you fail. The universe is not against you, it’s just that you did something wrong, or you didn’t do what you had to. Self-Reliance. May your success rely on your creativity and hard work.
2. Focus on Developing Yourself
Let me tell you one of the secrets to my success. I don’t worry what nobody’s doing. All ya that’s on the internet, that worry about what people are doing, you’re wasting your time. Time, you could’ve put into yourself. Positive attracts positive, negative attracts negative.
Many of us have fallen in this trap many times before. Concerning yourself with what’s the hot thing at the moment or how are the other local rappers doing.
Generally, all you do is lose focus. Yes, of course it’s good to have the knowledge on what’s going on, but don’t obsess yourself with it.
Just stay updated, so you know how to be different.
When you follow the actions of others obsessively, you start to depend on their choices and judgement too much. When you don’t care what others do, you have the time to work on yourself and develop your own strategy.
Let them worry about what YOU do, not the other way around.
When I was coming up in the game, if I couldn’t do the little job, I can never get to the big job.
Understand that everything you do is connected.
Every bar, every hook, every video, every interaction with your fans. Everything is connected.
Think of it as a painting. We talked about this when we examined Dr Dre’s wisdom, but it’s worth repeating. The more you take care of every aspect of your endeavor, the closer to perfection you get.
Don’t just concentrate on the big things and try doing them great, while the details are done sloppily.
That way of doing things will eventually bite you in the ass and it’s probably the factor which is dragging you. Everything has to be perfect when it comes to your products. Just remember that. Quality is king. Endorsing reasonable perfection is the short and sure way to success.
3 Success Lessons from Dr Dre
I recently watched an interview with Dre and I was just mesmerized by his level of knowledge and wisdom, when it comes to the music industry. This is a man, who’s currently the richest hip-hop mogul in the world.
A trendsetter, who has played a major role in developing great rappers such as Eminem, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Game and many more. Listening to this guy is worth it. Let me share with you the three lessons I extracted from his words.
1. The Secret of Longevity
The secret of my longevity is that I’m a perfectionist. I’m my worse critic. If I’m not diggin it, then that’s not the shit.
Okay, you see this? The secret to longevity for Dre, was the fact that he is a perfectionist. He is trying to polish every single detail, both in his beats and his lyrics. A perfectionist is like a great painter.
You have your project. The more effort you put into making that painting, the better it will become. Leonardo Da Vinci was well known for his ability to capture the details. That’s what made him successful. Dr Dre is someone who does not compromise. Everything has to be perfect. Then it can go to the public.
2. Learn from the Losers
I listen to the wack shit more, so I know what not to do. The stuff that’s not selling.
That’s a very good strategy. I always feel like I should start doing that particular task more often, but for some reason I always fall short on my desire-gotta change that. Knowing what not to do, is almost more powerful than knowing what to do.
In an interview with the comedian Dave Chappelle, he was explaining that he first went to the Comedy Clubs and watched the comedians who flopped. He knew the things which didn’t work.
If you know what doesn’t work, you’re not gonna use it. Learn from the failures of others, so you can minimize your own.
3. The Record-Business
The record business. It’s exactly what it is-Record-Business. You have to take care of both, or they won’t take care of you.
We’ve discussed this so many times on our site. The fact that the entry requirements for rap are so low, makes it easy for so many people to be rappers. It’s easy to be a rapper, very difficult to be a good one.
Still, with so many people, it’s such a hostile and competitive environment. It’s all about business and music. You have to be quite Machiavellian if you want to make it for real.
So, you need to handle your business(financial matters) and you need to handle your records(making great tracks). Forget one or the other and you can say goodbye to stardom and the future of your rap career.
The quotes have been taken from the following interview:
3 Success Lessons from Eminem
Eminem has been an inspiration to millions of people. His life has been like a roller coaster, taking Eminem from life of poverty to being a superstar. He can teach us so much, as long as there is someone to listen. Let’s pick out three important lessons we can extract from his career.
1. Be Brave to Express Yourself
Being brave to express yourself is the cornerstone of what it is, to be an artist. Eminem became such a success, because he was verbalizing the thoughts, that his listeners were too afraid to say out loud. Henceforth, Eminem became the spokesman of a whole generation, based on his willingness to express himself, without worrying about the people who disagree with him.
Incorporate that in your lyrics too. Is there any taboos that the people around you, friends/relatives are thinking, but are too afraid to say? Well, say it for them. You’ll see how your following will grow with leaps and bounds.
Quotes Have Been Taken From the Following Interview:
2. Rap About Your Reality
“On infinite I was rhyming big words, but I wasn’t really expressing my self and I wasn’t really expressing how I felt. You know, I wasn’t putting my life into my music.”
It’s very important to rap about your actual life, what you actually do. There is always something cool and exciting in your life right now. Do you know what’s going to happen next? Live by the rule that even with the plans you have, you really don’t know what will happen to you in one week time. This will get you to realize the variety and unexpectedness of life.
Rapping is all about giving the listener another perception. Be a PR representative for your own lifestyle, make it seem cool. This way, the people who live it as well, will listen to you, because you make them feel better about themselves.
Quotes Have Been Taken From the Following Interview:
3. Always Look for Improvements
“If your music doesn’t grow, forget it. You might as well stop making music, because that’s how artists lose their momentum and their career and how people stop caring about them. It’s when when they don’t grow. When you put in their new album and can’t tell the difference from their last album.”
Some say that the moment you stop learning is the moment you start dying. There is always something new to learn, always something to improve. Rap heavyweights like Dr Dre, Jay-Z or Eminem say that after all these years, they keep on striving to get on the next level.
Don’t ever think that you know everything about a craft or any other subject for that matter, because your ego would be cutting you from additional valuable information.
Don’t do that mistake. Always keep an open mind and make your next song better than the last one. This is a recipe for achieving mastery in the long-run.
6 Success Lessons From Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar is a new age rap artist, who managed to penetrate the highly saturated music industry and distinguish himself from all the other rappers.
His complex rhymes, melodic flow and honest lyrics are winning him thousands of fans, from all over the world. By the look of things, Kendrick Lamar won’t be just a short lived sensation. He is here to stay.
For his short career, he can say that he has collaborate on songs with Dr Dre, 50 Cent and even Jay-Z. The man got game. Let’s see what we can learn from him.
1.Build on the Current Platform
“I went back and studied all the legends, developed my craft and then made Kendrick Lamar.”
That’s why we, at RappingManual.com, analyze quatrains written by the titans in this rap game. That’s why we’re deciphering lyrics and rhyme schemes. The game is all about building the next level.
In order to build it however, you need to have knowledge of the current situation. What is happening right now? What was working before, what is working now? How did it all change? What lyrical content was successful?
Even though you have to develop your own style, which is different from the rest, you cannot do that, if you don’t know what different means. There is a saying-a rapper’s style is the mixture of the styles of his favorite rappers.
Study the greats, take something from them, add something from you and what you end up with is something new, fresh and custom made for you.
2. Be Patient and Prepare
“I was so thirsty and hungry to get on when I was like 18. I felt lie “Damn, I should be on right now”. Okay, let’s say that I did get a big hit record when I was 18 and I didn’t build my music organically, like I’m doing now.
I got that hit record, but wouldn’t be able to make another one, you know what was gonna happen? I would’ve been 23 years old and long gone, trying to scratch the surface, because I already had my shot and I lost it.”
What did he mean? Well, the fact of the matter is that when it comes to the music business, you get one shot. That’s why you have to make sure that you’re ready for the whole dynamic once you get on.
You have to make sure that you have planned material, planned moves, planned counter moves. You have to make sure that you know how to keep the attention on you, because once the interest towards you dies, it’s extremely difficult to revive it.
You have to prepare while you can, because once you get on, there would be pressure and unhealthy emotions while making your decisions.
Don’t go out there, if you think you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s a recipe for disaster. You don’t want to become one of those fast passing, trends, so try to avoid it at any costs.
3. It’s all worth it
“It feels like the grind and dedication really pays off at the end of the day.”
Just think about it. Think of the rewards you’ll reap once you get on. Think of the many lives you’ll touch. People would be able to relate to you and your lyrics will have real meaning for them.
Think of the financial freedom you’ll have. You won’t have to worry about money, never again. You’re doing what your heart wants and you’re getting paid for it. That’s a blessing.
Think how proud your parents and friends would be, when they see you get on. Think of how your whole surroundings are going to change. It’s all worth it man. Every line you write, every rhyme you drop.
It’s all worth it and if you stick with it, it will eventually pay off. Keep pushing and it will happen. Learn from failures, adjust your position and never quit. That’s what’s up!
Quotes Taken From the Following Interview:
4. You’ve got to be able to get over the hardest situations!
I can either pimp this situation, or I can fall victim to it!
At one point, no matter how hard it is, the only way you can deal with it, is to simply realize that you have control, and that you can exploit that control to pull yourself out of the worst situations! Sometimes!
After going to Africa, Kendrick found himself realizing that his problems were of no measure compared to the problems of those African kids and all the trouble they’re going through every day, just to have some food!
No matter what’s going on, as long as you’re healthy, you can just fight it, the emotion, the pain and everything, you just gotta hear “your calling”, you’ve just got to sit down and think about it, to actually talk to your own mind and tell yourself to get up and move on!
You should learn to “accept the change” since it’s the “hardest thing a man can do”, but it’s key to “catching yourself”!
5. Respect what you rap, and rap itself!
As a new artist, you really have to stand behind your work. You have to honor the code of hip-hop!
The new generation of rappers must be innovative, but at the same time should remember the old principles, the old “code” and most of all, they should learn from the past, as it is history, that teaches about life and rapping is the best possible street teacher!
Writing about real stuff is the foundation of rapping, it’s like the basis of which you pull out all your rhymes, all your inspiration. Most of your songs will come out of your heart, and not your wallet, so make sure you’ve got something to say, think about it and when asked – explain in a way that’s YOU and not some false representation!
Once you acquire the necessary wisdom, provided to you by your own life and the many stories the rap culture screams out every day, you can forge yourself an image, just like Kendrick did. He’s viewed by most people as a messenger of something holy like God, he’s considered the “good guy” of rapping and there’s a lot we can learn from his deeds! Maybe some of you would choose the same path, maybe some of you would decide to oppose it, but it’s key that it fits your OWN personality!
6. You’re just one of the many, but you stand out by affecting others!
Who am I? I’m just a man! It’s accepting that, acknowledging that, but also challenging the listener, the person that believes in your music and your message!
You can’t consider yourself above other people, no matter how far you are in leading them, how many people you’re representing, it’s not about you, it’s about using that advantage, that boosting point to help those people, who can’t express themselves as openly and easily as you can!
You’re an artist, you can affect people, so you should use that option, that many don’t have! So be the good guy, be the one that’s gonna change things for the better and stand out from the many out there, who don’t care!
3 Success Lessons from Biggie
The Notorious B.I.G is one of legends in the hip hop world. His incredible flow, witty lyrics and mind blowing delivery were just part of all the assets this rap prodigy had. Taken under the wing of P Diddy, who’s currently wielding a net worth of around 700 million dollars, Biggie knew a lot about the game.
He rarely spoke his mind on such issues, but I managed to dig out a rare interview, where he opens up on the serious side of rapping. Here are 3 of the gems he dropped.
1. Be Careful-The Music Industry is Shady
Watch your money. I mean, soon as I got in the game, I got a lawyer to watch my lawyer and that’s how it’s supposed to be.
You have to think about the whole business aspect of this rap game before you blow up, because once it all hits off, the pressure will probably make it much harder for you to evaluate your situation.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world man, where people see you as a cash cow. They’ll try to get as much as they can, so it’s your responsibility to watch your moves and with them, your finances.
Once you blow up, you’ll have social power and people will most definitely try to use this to their advantage. Watch closely and plan ahead. It’s never to early to start thinking about that aspect of rapping.
2. Having the Right Connections is Vital
Everybody blew up basically the same way, behind who you knew and what they could do for you at that time.
Even though this concept is somehow watered down in our age, it’s still important. Yes of course, each and every one of us can post a video on YouTube and start to promote it. We have a voice now.
However, it pays to know social influencers. It pays to know people who’ll share your song and give you more buzz. It pays to have connections with people from the radio, pushing your song with them too.
It pays to know someone who can make music videos. You know what I mean? You have to understand that knowing the right people will give you more opportunities. I recently watched a youtube video about networking. You should watch it too, it’s very simple to understand and follow. Check it out.
3. Prepare for the Transition
The hardest thing I had to overcome is really just making a transition of being a street hustler to like a quote on quote star.
Have you thought about that? What would it feel like when you blow up? How all kinds of people would wanna be around you, just because you’re famous now? How all kinds of girls would wanna have sex with you, just because people know you? You have to mentally prepare for that environment as much as you can. When it happens, it won’t ask you how you feel about it. You have to learn how to deal with the extras.
You have to learn how to balance your life. How to balance the work and the play. How to keep moving. There are so many examples of rappers who get that hit single, live the good life for a while and then boom, no more money in the piggy bank. Don’t let yourself be one of those people.
The best way you can prepare for this is to actually think about it now. Know that it’s coming and just keep calm, keep cool. You’re famous, so what? You’re famous, now what? Don’t get caught up in the good life, if you want to live the good life for a long time.
Quotes Taken from the Following Interview:
3 Success from Jay-Z
Jay-Z is the second richest hip hop mogul in the world. His net worth is about $500 million dollars. He has numerous music awards and number one records. Considered by many to be one of the nicest MC’s to ever touch a microphone.
Jay-Z is a person who has done it all. World class entertainer and a very wise entrepreneur. Regardless of the rumors, he knows how to play the game of life. Check out the three rules we managed to extract from his words.
1. When you want to use your talent, the mind let’s go
“The truth about talent is, first that it’s god given. When you wanna unleash that talent, your mind lets go. You know, because it’s there. You have to have the belief that when you draw from that well of talent, that it’s gonna be there.”
What does he mean by that? Trying to put a logical spin around your talent is not going to work. The talent is there and when you want to use it, you’re no longer thinking what you should do, you just do it. You let go of the conscious control and delve into the unconscious. For example, thinking of a rhyme scheme or a flow.
Don’t put too much pressure on controlling the whole dynamic. Learn the details before that, let them marinate in your brain, so when you start creating the flow, your mind lets go and you just flow naturally. You create your flow from the unconscious.
2. The Relationship between money and happiness
“Money and happiness are not tied to each other. They don’t equate. I mean, it allows you freedom, it allows you to go places where you can smile, but there are people with tonnes of money who are unhappy, because they either became a prisoner of their money, or they’ve become so consumed with getting money, that they don’t allow time for happiness. Life is about balance. You have time for work and time for play. If you don’t allow time for each of those things, there is an imbalance.”
A lot of people think that once they get rich, they’ll be happy. That’s why some of us pursuit the high paying careers, because we think that the end result would make us satisfied. That’s a mistake.
First of all, if you don’t like what you do, the chance of you being good at it is very slim. In order to become good at something, you need to spend hours upon hours in mastering your craft and this is hard work. Russell Simmons said in an interview once: “Make the work your prayer.”
You have to enjoy working.
You have to enjoy the actual process. When you’re making a song, the writing of the lyrics and the recording is the fun part. If you just think about the fact that this song might make you famous and you’ll have money and girls you might as well forget about it. Enjoy what you do and try not to pursuit anything especially the money or fame. Do it for the process.
3. Always put a piece of yourself in your songs
“I can make so many albums and just keep going and how do you do that? Because it’s me, it’s really me, like I’m just talking what I go through, whatever it is. Good or bad. I might say the worst shit in the world, but it’s me.”
Once again we see the same message, that has been on repeat for quite a while on this site. Make songs from your perspective. Don’t try to be somebody else. Write from your point of view, whatever you go through. This way, more people will relate to your music. You’re best at being who you are, there is nobody better than you at that. So use it!
Quotes taken from the following interview:
How Old Were These Rappers When They Got Famous
Many people who are new at rapping tend to complain a lot about their lack of skills even though they have been rapping for only a year or two. While that may seem like a lot, especially If you practice daily as you should, it’s actually not that much at all, and since 99% of people start before they turn 20, it’s quite a ridiculous “issue”.
Eminem got into rapping at about 14-16 years of age which was back in ’86-’88.
One of his first recordings is the song called Foolish Pride. He sucked on it. Later on, he had the song Biterphobia and in ’96 he released his first album Infinite. He was 24 at the time. A year later, he released The Slim Shady EP and this is the first time he sounded more professional but it wasn’t until ’98 when he made The Slim Shady LP, at the age of 25, that he actually sounded like Eminem. In other words, it took roughly 10 years for him to fully develop his skills, and he released his first major album at the age of 26.
Jay-Z got into rapping in his teens as well, and made some of his first appearances on a song by Jaz-O called The Originators (1990) when he was 20.
After that, he rapped alongside Big L on Da Graveyard (1995) as well as their famous freestyle from the same year. Another track was Can I Get Open from ’94. However, it wasn’t until 1996 and his debut album Reasonable Doubt that Jay-Z was a great rapper. Same as Eminem, he was 26 at the time.
Kanye was more focused on his productions skills, and did some of his first raps on Grav’s album Down To Earth (1996).
He later got acquainted with Jay-Z and created some buzz in the early 2000’s. Unfortunately, people didn’t have trust in his rapping skills and it wasn’t until 2004 that he released his first album. He as well was 26 at the time.
How did T.I. Got Famous
Have you ever wondered how T.I. got on? How did he climb the ladder of success and what actually happened? Well, read on and learn the T.I. story and the lessons we could get from his mistakes.
Just Another Ghetto Story
T.I. was into rapping from a very young age. When he was small, his parents were asking him what he wanted to be when he grows up and he was saying, that he want to be a rapper. That’s how deep it was. However, as he grew into adolescence, the street life got the best of him.
He was persuaded by the fast money he could make by selling drugs. T.I. dropped out of school and put the rapping gig on hold. I guess all of you know what happened next? Yes, he got caught up and sent to jail. 18 years old.
Jail-Hit the Reset Button
When T.I. was in jail, he got inspired to write rhymes, because it liberated his mind, plus it was something to do to kill time. He realized that he was better than the rappers he was listening on the radio and that fire of desire got sparked in him.
As soon as he leaves that prison, he’s gonna get the rapping gig moving and that’s what he did. As soon as T.I. got out, he teamed up with a local DJ and an inspiring producer called Jason Geter and started making songs.
What happened was that even though he was making songs, no money was flowing in. He had his family to support and the situation at the time wasn’t ideal. He eventually slipped into his own ways and started dealing drugs again. The producer didn’t like that. He had a conversation with T.I. and explained to him that by dealing drugs, he is risking everything.
T.I. told him that if he were to stop, he had to get money from somewhere to support his family. Geter asked him “If I get you a deal, would you stop dealin?” T.I. said yes. Well, Jason Geter kept his word and he managed to sign T.I. to La FACE records. It was on! Well, was it?
The Unexpected Blow
Everything was looking great. T.I. got his record deal and started making songs. He was putting 100% in his work and had the time of his life. The time for the release of his album came about. The expectations were high. They thought the album will get 4-5 million sells and be the biggest thing to hit the south.
Well, not quite. The album flopped. Imagine that. It made 12 000 sales it’s first week and that was nothing. Nobody really cared about this album. Coincidentally, his relations with La Face got pretty uptight and T.I. was eventually dropped from the label. With no money, T.I. found himself at square one again. Was that the end?
We Don’t Give up
That’s right. People who’re born to be stars never give up. What happened next, was that T.I. got inspired to keep on rapping and to show the people that he was the King of the South. He recorded a couple of mix-tapes and started his own tour, financed by him and his producer. They traveled anywhere they could, did shows in places where other rappers wouldn’t think of stepping foot. They hit the radio stations, hit the posters, hit the record stores and overall, they hit the streets.
Then what happened? T.I. managed to create a buzz. The street was feeling him and that buzz caught up with the Record Labels. They heard that T.I. was bubbling in the underground scene and the bidding wars for T.I. started!
Eventually, he signed a lucrative deal with Atlantic Records and started working on his second album called “Trap Muzik”. He released his first single “Rubber Band Man”, which was a huge success and then he followed by releasing the album. The album debuted in No 2 on the hip hop charts and managed to generate 110 000 sales its first week.
It’s official. T.I. entered the stage.
How did DMX Got Famous?
Do you know how DMX got signed? What did actually happen? How did it all come together? Well, read on and find out the events, which led to the birth of one of the most memorable rap stars in the history of hip hop.
From Drugs To Rap and All The Way Back
DMX started as a beatboxer. He and a friend of his, were going around the neighborhood, battling whoever they could find. DMX wasn’t into drugs, but he smoked the occasional joint, just so he could get his groove one. One time though, something wasn’t right. DMX smoked a blunt, before battling and he later realized that there was some cocaine in it. This gave birth to his addiction to drugs. He needed the drug, but didn’t have the money, so he started robbing people. This criminal activity caught up with him and he was arrested and later sent in a Juvenile Detention Center. He was only 14.
While serving his time though, something interesting happened. DMX got into rapping, as a way to lose time in the cell. Once he got out, he started rapping and battling anybody he could get his hands on. At that point in time, he met the future mother of his children “Tashera Simmons” and a couple of months later, became a father. Once he understood that he had to take care of his family, DMX straightened out. He started working in the post office and on a moving truck. He tried being the typical 9 to 5 worker, but after a couple of paychecks, he slipped back to his old ways and started selling drugs and robbing people.
Rap Gotta Feed Me
The law caught him again and he was sent to jail. The difference however, was that now he had people he cared for outside of prison, people he couldn’t see. DMX had some sort of a spiritual experience in that prison and the moment he returned to the real world, he had decided that he wants to provide for his family, by being a rapper.
He was very serious about the craft. Constantly writing, constantly recording, doubled the battles and what not. He slowly made a name for himself on the streets and he got together with a young management crew back then called “The Ruff Ryders”. Teamed up with them, he managed to generate quite a buzz around himself and was noticed by an up and coming producer, by the name of “Irv Gotti”.
Due to his image and attitude and his whole street persona, no record label wanted to sign him. He was too street for them. That’s when the fire about rapping got diminished in him. He didn’t see no future in it. Irv Gotti was constantly trying to motivate him, but DMX started going to his dark side again. That’s the moment he hit rock bottom. He didn’t have no place to sleep. He kept on asking people he knew, if he could sleep on the couch. He kept on taking crack, he was depressed and miserable. He kinda became what you might call a Junkie.
It’s Darkest Before Dawn
Then the worst thing happened to him. Due to the fact that he robbed so many people, a group of them got together and decided to retaliate for the times they were robbed by DMX. They saw his weak position and took advantage of it. 6 People caught DMX walking alone and beat him up so bad, that he almost died. If he wasn’t taken to the hospital that soon, his swelling would’ve suffocated him. He was lucky to live.
What happened next? Well, Irv Gotti got the job he applied for in Def Jam and the first thing he did was to put pressure on the president of Def Jam to hear DMX spit. The president agreed. He went to the Yonkers, to hear him. It was 1 o’clock at night. DMX came in with his whole jaw wired shut. He started spitting. That president(Lyor Cohen) said that he could hear the wires popping out, as DMX was rapping. He just beasted his verse. Totally killed it. Def Jam was going to sign DMX to their label and prepare him a coming up campaign.
1997. DMX released his first single called “Get at me dog”. The rest is history.