Building a career in hip-hop isn’t for the light-hearted. It can be a cold and lonely place at times. You have to believe even when your haters are loud, you’re broke, and almost everyone you know is telling you to just get a “real job.” I’m not going to lie; it hasn’t been easy.
Being in hip-hop isn’t always about VIP events, concerts, and fancy cars. Here’s what I’ve learned so far about making hip-hop a full-time career.
1. Rejection happens often. Learn to deal with it.
People say 7,000,000 people are doing the same thing and then they ask what makes Christian different. What makes me different is that I have high quality when it comes to my music and I have positive content that connects with the world. Now it has come with it’s set of challenges, but one thing you all should know about me is that the word no doesn’t faze me because I will fight for my dream until someone says yes. I’ve been told no many times.
But it never stopped me from achieving my goals. Rejection is part of the journey, and how you deal with it will determine whether or not you can last in the industry.
2. Money solves problems.
I was broke. Hip-hop wasn’t paying the bills. I needed money to be able to continue my dream. I tried a part-time job. Getting paid by the hour was just not for me.
I quickly realized, being a hip-hop artist is like being an entrepreneur and the founder of your own startup company. As a starting musician, you have to be able to look at monetizing all of your skills and not rely solely on your musical talent to earn a living.
You can’t always count on album sales or appearance fees to pay the bills. I recommend having a side hustle or two. For me, that was starting a social media marketing agency. To be successful in hip-hop these days a solid social media presence is a must. I took a deep dive into social media and personal branding when I first started. Growing my social media pages has helped me reach a massive audience for my music. I use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
After I figured out how to do it for myself, I had people asking me questions all the time.
After a while, I stopped answering them for free, and started to charge for my social media knowledge! Don’t get me wrong, I always like to help people out, and I still do freebies. But after a while, it became evident that social media was something I was good at and a way to make money on the side while building my hip-hop career and chasing my dream.
3. Scammers can be very convincing. Here’s how to spot them.
Yes, I’ve been scammed a time or two by people in this industry. I got started at 17, so naturally, I was a little naive. Ok, I was a lot naive! You can’t always trust everyone who makes you promises. Here’s what I’ve learned about finding trustworthy people to work with. Before giving anyone a dime of your hard earned money ask them to VERIFY who they’ve worked with.
People will make some pretty outrageous claims about what they’ve done and who they’ve worked with in the past to try to justify their fees. I just believed them at first because they sounded like they knew what they were talking about and their stories were believable for 17-year-old. Always ask questions about who they have worked with in the past and then VERIFY it.
I find that a lot of people make some pretty big claims about the success they’ve had and who they have worked with. Research them and ask them to provide you with references.
I asked a guy to give references after he came on strong and was promising to get me signed if I paid him a large upfront fee. He then began to insult my talent and tell me that I would never make it if I didn’t sign with him. I replied back saying I know why you won’t send me references. He didn’t have any! Guys like him are just out to scam young hip-hop artists. Anyone that insults your talent and tells you that the only way to make it is by going with them has in reality never made it themselves.
There are many paths to success in hip-hop. Do it on your terms.
4. Don’t go at it alone. Get mentors you can trust.
Anxiety & depression have played a big role in my career.
At times they have demotivated me and almost taken me out of the game completely. At times I felt alone and like I couldn’t move forward because of all the negativity around me. What I realized is that having mentors has given me the wisdom I need to move past my anxiety. It was working with a mentor that gave me the ability to renew my thinking on having anxiety.
I now rap about mental health in my songs. It’s more therapeutic than anything else I’ve done to relieve anxiety. Knowing that my songs are helping others with anxiety get through their hard times gives me so much satisfaction. I’ve always prided myself on being very responsive to my social media community.
My fans know that I’m always just a tweet away if they need someone to talk to!
You can find my Twitter and music here.
— Christian Vind (@IamCvind) October 15, 2016