1. Courtney Antipas – We can learn a lot of good branding techniques from Courtney. He has successfully managed to sell merchandise and give quality products at affordable pricing. His merchandise usually has a message attached to it, for example the LWDR (Live Wise Die Ready) is self explanatory. It conveys the idea as soon as you hear it. Courtney has been nominated for various awards including one of being well packaged. He has also opened for Lecrae and performed for large audiences beyond borders. His official press kit is his Website where he shares information consistent with Christian Living or his opinions on the Gospel. He has done the same with his social media accounts.
The Take Away: Be consistent with brand values, Create sustainability by selling things other than CD’s and not working for nothing, Don’t be a living contradiction outside the booth
2. Noble Stylz – Though he rose to fame in a controversial manner, what Noble teaches us is that when you fight for the spot you deserve, be consistent and utilize it. Noble is an example of someone who can fight a system with a plan beyond the scuffle. The scuffle really is not the end goal. The brand must be maintained. Noble has managed to secure shows (including Shoko Festival 2014 and 2015), by creating fruitful relations and providing exceptional content. He also stays first in mind by giving regular updates on his opinion, so there is certainly never a day you forget he exists. His relocation to Harare was strategic and good for his success.
The Take Away: Hone your skill, stay in peoples minds daily, don’t fight with no back up plan, relocate to where things happen better
3. Sharky – Sharky has practically gone from complaining about being unheard to having people pay for his newest single and inclusion in Shoko Festival line up. At first he was failing to get recognized on a serious level but his branding as a Shona-centric rapper has boosted him much. To a level that he appears on many lists with people who have been doing this for years. Sharky’s bars have also become stronger and stronger with his schemes and delivery patterns so complex he has started to charge for features.
The Take Away: Have a unique style, stay true to your identity, hone your skill, charge for value you invested in
4. Trae Yung – Trae Yung is very focused on her art and does not respond to hecklers at all. She takes a lot of pictures to grow her audience via Instagram which by the way is said to have over 10 times the reach of Facebook. Trae Yung instead focuses on what her core audience likes and on building relations with people who take her where she wants to go. She has managed to keep her brand strong by not engaging with givers of negative energy. And of course she has multiple awards, Show line ups, Shoko and creative ideas like her Ndikoko car wash. She is one of a few to succeed in the sale of merchandise.
The Take Away: Don’t focus energy on Facebook trivia, build relations that take you there, make new ideas to sell and eat
5. Anonzi Xndr – A lot can be said about Xndr, but he is very consistent with his branding from his Mr Nice Bhach’ dress code, the drink he sips in a club, his hashtags and so forth. Xndr also does not do work for free, he works if there is gain which has kept his studio running since 2009. Anonzi Xndr also happens to churn out a lot of recorded singles per year all with his number in the metatags which lead more business to him. Like the others, he has built relations. Many of his productions have been included on radio and his artistes get shows.
The Take Away: Be consistent with certain brand traits, Business is business, Leave credentials on your products (they bring new clients over time), build relations, build others
6. Shayzar – The Mixmasters have always given us great sound so much they’ve been recognized accross the continent. Shayzar is now based in South Africa where he has worked with popular companies and artistes such as Gigi Lamayne. He has managed to team up with young producers to create a brand that can export and be sustainable by teaching these guys the skills in “mastering mixes”. He is not a loud mouth and stays humble. We just write about his work without him asking for it.
The Take Away: Relocate to a place where you can make more, Teach others to delegate and grow, build major relations outside your country, stay humble.
7. Tehn Diamond – As expected, he is here. Tehn has managed to build a strong presence and has sold a lot of merchandise, show tickets, won accollades, did great videos, 3 Mixtapes (good enough to be albums) and built relations on 3 levels i.e Business, Friendships and Social Tribes, who help get to where he wants to be. His blog shared information that resonated with most people and he has worked hard in engaging with his fans and followers at a friendly leve (which is what a tribe is). Tehn Diamond doesn’t tolerate reputation destroying stuff such as engaging in petty beef or being associated with brands he didn’t make deals with.
The Take Away: Stay Humble, Engage With Your Audience, Add value to their lives outside the booth, monetize, reputation matters, be very organized, be consistent, build a pillar of content (SOTG 1-3)
8. Outspoken The Humble Neophyte – This guy has toured over 9 European countries, been to Mexico, USA, and has managed to do a lot for Hip-hop as an industry. He is one of the people who make Shoko Festival possible. Outspoken performs live and his message is about reality encapsulated in comedy, spoken word and rap. I can say he has a distinct sound and is not very concerned about commercial radio play. So though many may not have heard of him in the mainstream he has done quite a lot. As an individual, he is still very much humble and in my early days he encouraged me in the work I was doing. I certainly learn from him directly and indirectly.
The Take Away: Be humble, Be organized, Build Networks, Have A Distinct Sound, Know Your Audience, Help others up
9. P.O.Y – Proud Of Yourself is one of the artistes who has stayed in the game for so long, because he has been serious about the art. P.O.Y is a manager at Major Meats in Bulawayo and for sometime his salary helped him re-invest into his music. P.O.Y together with Mark Vusani and other stake holders came up with Bigger Than Hip-hop, which promotes Bulawayo Hip-hop. The artiste also has good stage presence, energy and a touch of class. Well dressed, well packaged and consistent. His company Ambush even works with many rising artistes, among them was once Cal_Vin before his come up.
The Take Away: Status Matters, Build Platforms, Getting a job to sustain early career is wise, Practice your stage presence
10. Naboth Rizla – This is a brother I learn from from up-close. Rizla is well connected with the South African Industry, people at different radio station. He writes for Hype magazine, makes money off advertising for brands and sell merchandise for Da Grape Vine (DGV). His clothing line, is created from scratch by tellers, he does not just buy T-Shirts and print. He noticed that the regular Hip-hop fan yearns for quality and he ventured into fashion with his team. He is another man with great networks across the globe, The DGV battles were a platform Zimbabwe was missing. My brother also happens to rap.
The Take Away: Innovate, Build Networks, Be Sustainable
11. Schingy – Yes, you’ll be surprized that I learnt a lot from Schingy. Schingy knows how to stay in Whatsapp discussions by being controversial. Attention works in his favour because while there is a demographic that will hate him, there is one that will follow. The Red Tumbler strategy was a good strategy for him and Team Bho to have some sort of status to their audience. These guys have targeted High School fans who will obviously grow up one day but would have become staunch listeners. They will work one day and be able to pay for his show. I defend the Zim brands I immortalized in High School. My reasoning is, it’s easier to convince a younger mind to adapt to rap than to try and convince a 40 year old to do the same.
The Take Away: Build status, seek attention to stay in mind, focus your energy on responsive audience
All these 11 People have their weaknesses , but the motive of this post was to learn the good they do. There are things they do right to stay relevant or succesful in what they do. Many people tend to later argue about these lists or who was forgotten on it yet forget to take the message from it. I hope you enjoyed reading this on Mcpotar.Com and I look forward to engaging with all of you on @Mcpotar on twitter or you can request me on my Facebook profile where we can learn and grow.