The greatest enemy of any creative is to be irrelevant. To speak and not be heard, especially by their intended audience. Which is why over the years a lot of artistes have lashed out at radio shows, blogs and award shows for lack of acknowledgement. We all want to be taken seriously for what we do.
I know many have claimed not to care about radio, television, press or award shows but that’s akin to self comforting statements by a jilted man about the prom queen who said NO!!!. The best way he can cover the scabs of his bruised ego is to claim that he didn’t love her to begin with. He can even insult her by calling her a whore.
We all know if she showed signs of taking him back he would rise up and jump into her arms.
That said. You want to make so much of this year (2016) that you will be relevant by 2017 and you can if you start realizing that only you are responsible for making you great. Others may join you in the journey but the biggest responsibility lies with your mindset. Your willingness to learn and your hunger for victory.
- Know Thyself
In order to be relevant you have to know yourself. Your “SWOT” – Strengths , Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. What are you good at? What are you bad at?
Knowing what you’re good at, what are the opportunities open for people that can do what you’re good at?
Knowing what you’re bad at, how are you going to reduce the effect of that weakness on your work? Are you going to avoid it or take a course to improve it. Does it pose any threats for you on the market?
Who is your competition and what’s your unique selling proposition over them.
It may be a bad idea to try and out-do Noble Stylz at Shona wordplay, or embarrass Tehn on Twitter when he has 15,000 followers he doesn’t necessarily follow back than you. Know yourself, your audience, your threats. Stay in your own territory. (by the way if you want to take on the examples given, you might actually pull it off if your SWOT analysis shows you will win, after-all no-one is infallible… but why risk?)
2. Stop Ranting
Ranting is for victims not victors. People may entertain your ranting and comment in their hundreds but still not view you as a leader. You will just be a fellow victim. When you rant what you’re simply doing is presenting complaints and problems with no solutions. Usually these things are also not in your sphere of influence.
People would rather follow a leader who solves problems he/she highlights. As long as anyones language is “They won’t let us in”…. he/she is not worth following. So whilst you stop ranting, also stop following ranters. It doesn’t matter how justified they sound.
A common rant is about how the so called “North” should help out people from the so called ,”South”. That’s a lazy argument in which individuals play victim and assume the so called “North” is their dad. Engage in that no more and gather your own resources.
No one owes you anything.
3. Provide unique Value
Having a unique selling proposition is the best way of standing out, that’s why this blogpost talked about 2017. many blog-posts are currently putting 2016 in the headline. Do not be the same as everyone because you are not.
Provide great value but give it a unique twist. Rappers have always found a day of the week where they give out a freestyle weekly like Cal_Vin’s Free Bars Friday. However a rapper in Vic Falls by the name of Platinum has decided to do a free verse Sunday but his unique selling proposition is that he opened a website specifically for that purpose (read it here).
4. Be Consistent
Whatever value you decide to give, it will not show you much results for a long time so the challenge is to be consistent. In other words some people may actually start noticing what Platinum began on Sunday in the last week of November. Mind you, Zim Hip-hop Awards may not look at it, maybe until the next year. I have seen this. However what is key is consistency. Consistency pays.
5. Work On Image
Take photo-shoots and have awesome pictures on instagram and social media accounts. Videos county as well and if you have a CONSISTENT logo that’s even better. Invest in a professional website. i know a place where you can get a site for $2 a month in Zimbabwe, which really is all about sacrificing a bit of airtime money. Drop your music on yourself.com (that way you wont rant that Mcpotar didn’t drop your song on himself.com). Look important and play with peoples cognitive biases.
6. Get Co-signs
Still on the cognitive biases thing. If you can get figures you consider more influential than you to bless your work on a public platform you’d have done a lot of work. Whether you like it or noty, some peoples influence has ability to silence any doubts about your work. What if Begotten Sun, Mox, Take Fizzo, Yagi Dojo, Audius or Metaphysics said you were the future? Would some unknown know it all’s opinion matter there-after? I don’t think so.
Myke Pimp, Sharky, Mile and terry Shan have gotten co-signs from some of these figures. In fact Terry Shan, got a co-sign from Begotten Sun a few weeks ago and ended up getting his very first ZiFM interview 3 days later.
This is why people keep tagging The Ignition, Misred, Begotten Sun, Tehn Diamond, AHHB and so forth in their tweets. Confirmation that you’re legit is something you want from an authoritative source.
7. Be Dope
You can apply all these other things but you wont be relevant by 2017 if you’re wack.
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