I’m talking to artists directly on this one, all tree of ya’ll. (I been waiting to use that!) I’m talking about the artist with talent, the artist with hustle, and the artist with money- but none of the former attributes. Basically this game breaks down into these types of artists. Early in the game, artists (especially rappers!!!) always fall into one of these three categories. If you identify with any of them, recognize what industry people think about you and how to sharpen ya game up. Let’s get into it.
The artist with talent. I almost hate these type of artists. I really do. I mean, I love the music that is produced, the talk game will make ya believe they packing out events, but these artists ain’t worth $h!^. These artists will make the best music you have ever heard, club ready, radio ready, get booked right now ready, but these artists think everything is supposed to come to them just because they breathing. GTFOH. They think the DJs’ work for them, promoters owe them, and the industry knows them. Though you may sound industry ready, you disrespect those that can propel you into the industry…wait for it… and you’re cheap! I don’t work for free and I damn sure don’t work for you. Me playing your music, adding you to rotation, promoting you in the streets and online will not help me one bit. Please explain how me running your campaign benefits my career, and you want me to do it for free? Worst of all, most of ya’ll artists with talent can’t keep a working relationship long enough for both parties to capitalize. These types of artist, I generally stay away from, because not only do they think they know it all, they think the world owes them something. Artists with talent are cheap and are always trying to get over on those that really can help their career.
The artist with hustle. You can’t take away how hard this artist is willing to work. He will show up at events, spend $35-200 on his career per month, and even listen when a DJ gives advice. The bad part is that these artists are long shots because they generally don’t have enough money to make the necessary moves it takes to make an impact in their career. Typically a promoter or DJ will have to invest more time (money) and energy (I really mean money on this one) into these artist than they are initially worth. They are good for grabbing a mixtape slot, showing support at the club, or even reposting what others got going on. But no money will be generated from these artists anytime soon. It’s not that they don’t make good music, they just don’t understand how the industry works. This ultimately is the sad part. They have what DJs need, they just don’t have the money or patience for the music industry. They want it right now, but that’s not how this game works. You can’t break the music industry down to an exact science. It’s more like an abstract painting. Their hustle and heart is there, it’s the money or knowledge that tends to be missing.
The artist with money. You already know who I’m talking about. They’re the dope boys, street cats, or artists with unlimited funds “only if the move makes sense”. These artists think that everything is for sale. Which in the music industry, this is generally true, but often backfires after several months. These artists will pay for mixtape hosting, big parties, or club rotation from the hottest DJs in the city. That’s cool, but when the money stops, the relationship stops. These artists will buy their love from industry cats, instead of earning it the same way they earn their money: from the grind. I have often seen these types of artists produce horrible music, but since they paid the DJ, their music is on blast in the club. And it sounds terrible. Actually, DJs, please stop taking their music and instead send them to a real producer. That will do more for their career than you taking their money just to pay your rent. But I digress, the artist with money will also bypass the lesser known DJs instead of interacting with them. Four or five smaller DJs playing your music around the city is better than one big DJ that sees you just as a check. Believe me.
So, artists. If you have talent, be humble and please stop being cheap. Talent will get a DJ to listen but it won’t get them to work for free. If you have hustle, stop what you are doing right now and make a budget. Make you a budget that will have you making real moves for the next 6-8 months. Read some books on contracts and how to make money from music. Artist with money, understand that no one respects you, they put their respect on the money. If any of these types of artists defines you, now you know what to do to better your chances at moving to the next level. I think that’s about it. Are we finished or are we done?
#ViewsFromDaBooth is a biweekly article from the south’s newest record breaker, DJ 3000. DJ 3000 is creator of mixtape series Off Da Brick, Finesse Game Strong, Private Party Kush, and DJ or Die Tryin’. He currently DJs at various night clubs in the Atlanta area, and you can catch him live every Thursday at 8 pm on Nu Radio. Follow him on Instagram @3000_da_DJ.