Perfect Setting

Right place, right time, feels great. Recently, I went to my friend’s house for his birthday party and the result was a full blown freestyle cipher with him and another artist that had shown up to celebrate him. A week before that I had stumbled across a basketball tournament with a cash prize of $1500 dollars to the winning team. A while before that, I rapped at prom and was then approached by the DJ about an opportunity to perform for his youth group. All these situations were examples of being at the right place at the right time. Honestly, looking back at these opportunities that I at least attempted to take advantage of, gives me a sense of accomplishment, confidence.  The fact that I, and in your case, you, have put yourself in these situations can be hard to comprehend and accept. Coming to terms with the fact that going to the right place even when you are being averted by your urges, can lead to special opportunities; will ideally propel you into more positive opportunities. If you plan to go somewhere for a positive reason, expecting a positive outcome, don´t let unexpected or expected negatives stop you.

P.S. Don´t take this to the extreme; keep it in mind when you are executing your plans for something important or even some daily things that just seem like they are out the way that day. A reflection is a powerful tool. Use it.

 

Last Minute Performance Planning

Firstly this is not how I recommend all your performances should be planned. Still, I have done it a few times, so here are a few tips to get more out of the performance and hopefully not be so nervous. 

1. Work with what you have.

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Pushing yourself to the absolute limit to squeeze in all the preparation you should have done long beforehand can be exhausting and detrimental. Depending on how far along with the song and memorizing it you could be in for a string of long grinding nights to cram. Realize where you are and go forward to meet the deadline, prepare what you NEED for the performance. Without a doubt, there will be some things that you have to adjust, to work with the schedule if you have not at least finished production of the song you plan to perform. That’s all ok though. Focus on the people you will be performing too and the event itself. This can provide the mood of your performance and how you will decide to win the crowd’s appreciation.

2. Keep the Event Planner/Host Updated

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While you are working up a sweat on those lyrics and music make sure the person that is allowing you on their event’s stage knows that you are as serious about this as they are. Tell them where you are, don’t get offended when they get concerned about your progress. Show them, answer their questions. Reassure them by showing them your optimism and confidence that you will get the job done. They obviously want you on their stage, act like you appreciate it and are excited to be ready in time.

3. Memorize and Practice

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I don’t think it would have been acceptable to read off the paper for any of the events I have performed at… Outside of this just kind of seeming unprepared, it can also dull your showcase. What if you miss read a word, or don’t read every sentence, or worse; read it off beat because you are just trying to keep up. Honestly, that is really bad. Unless it is a part of your performance theme then it shouldn’t seem like you are reading off a script. Feel free and enjoy your performance and get the crowd involved. When you are focused on the performance then you can miss a line or forget to start on time and just bounce back without needing to find your place on a piece of paper. You can even add a small freestyle. Be spontaneous, and practiced.

Go With The Flow

Writing lyrics is expressive and does not have to stem from a specific realistic origin. Lyrics can come from an individual feelings; an abstract and intangible element. These lyrics can be powerful and deeply inspiring. The need for a predetermined goal for the series of lyrics does not have to always be present. Sometimes just letting the lyrics flow can result in an as descriptive and expressive project as intended and more.

8 Step Guide To Collaborations (First Timers) Final

Lately a number of artists and friends have been asking me for collaborations on their projects; productions, lyric writing, and full on song creation (Mix & Mastering). I am thrilled. While I have been putting in so much time thinking about getting my rapping and producing to the next level I am more than excited for the challenge of working with other artists to create some amazing  works.

The biggest challenge for me will be working out a mutually beneficial collaboration schedule with these creatives. With this in mind, the tactics that have been instilled in me by my current and past jobs will be my point of reference in these negotiations. It’s time to get started!

  • Respect
  • Breaks
  • Flexibility
  • Don’t Take It Personally!
  • You are not getting paid!
  • They aren’t getting paid either!
  • Don’t be a know it all
  • Read up/research

Don’t be a know it all

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You know how you could not be a know it all? Ask questions and then listen to the response. When you don’t know the answer say you don’t know and if possible try to help solve the problem, you could learn about it too. Who wants to work with a know it all anyways? I sure don’t.

Read up/Research

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Seek your knowledge and know a little something before you come into the session. Maybe there is a question you have or concern that you haven’t had enough information to solve on your own. Research it. All the difference can be made when you give the effort of finding information that is useful to you. In this search you can wind up in a completely different place learning even more than you planned too. Where is the negative in that? Plus anything that you learned can be introduced to the group when it becomes relevant. Slowly and surely your knowledge and experience will rack up and your value to your group or any other affiliations will rise considerably so never stop seeking more knowledge.

Conclusion

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There is a lot that goes into collaborations. From respect to research to flexibility the details of the meet up can drastically change the outcome of it. Don’t stress to much. Take this information and apply it in the most useful way as possible for you. I hope this series positively influences someone to have a great first time during a collaboration.

Thank You for reading.

8 Step Guide To Collaborations (First Timers) Continued…

Lately a number of artists and friends have been asking me for collaborations on their projects; productions, lyric writing, and full on song creation (Mix & Mastering). I am thrilled. While I have been putting in so much time thinking about getting my rapping and producing to the next level I am more than excited for the challenge of working with other artists to create some amazing  works.

The biggest challenge for me will be working out a mutually beneficial collaboration schedule with these creatives. With this in mind, the tactics that have been instilled in me by my current and past jobs will be my point of reference in these negotiations. It’s time to get started!

  • Respect
  • Breaks
  • Flexibility
  • Don’t Take It Personally!
  • You are not getting paid!
  • They aren’t getting paid either!
  • Don’t be a know it all
  • Read up/research

Don’t Take it Personally!

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People are great. When they do some not so great things don’t assume it’s about you! People have just as much going on in their lives as you do and if not, more. If these people are your true friends or people that your trusted ones vouch for don’t assume they are out to get you when stuff goes wrong. Asking some open ended and non-condescending questions could help the group and you figure out what’s really the problem. Nine times out of ten it is not you personally. So when you all figure out what is troubling the group member try to help out and give thoughtful suggestions so the group can get the most positive result from the situation. Best case you all get closer to your group member by sincerely helping them through his struggle and the group comes up with a dope production.

You Are Not Getting Paid!

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Relax. Chances are that this first collaboration will not be the determining checkpoint of your entire career. Mistakes are common so roll with the punches. Be creative. Don’t be a stickler on just what you think will start getting you paid immediately; especially when the group is not all on board with the same scheme. This collaboration is a passion not a paycheck; indulge in the experience you will gain from meeting not just the potential monetary benefits.

They are Not Getting Paid Either!

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Tell them to relax! Unless you all went to a studio session with a engineer that requires payment in some form, then no one in there is getting paid either. Pushing your team to take chances and grow is good, pushing them as if they can get on board or get out is over board. It’s your first collaboration. Work with your team. Don’t work over them. When they get stressed remind them that they don’t have to worry and it’s more about the experience, playing around, and learning in the moment anyways.

P.S. The final steps will be in the next post. Stay tuned!

Significant Moment

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Given an interesting idea by an associate of mine at the time, I set out to do something no one else had ever done at Life School. I was going to make a rap song for the school and then perform it in front of the entire school during a football pep rally at the all new campus. This was big! I mean, I knew that I was a rapper and I was confident in my writing skills, this was an opportunity to show that I was ready for such a challenge.

The big kicker was that I had to write a song and memorize it in about 10 days! More like 8 days, because one of my favorite teachers at the time; Ms. Winnet had to approve the words and message it conveyed before the final plan for the pep rally was made. I was stoked, because the fastest I had ever written an entire song was 5 months… 5 months. Talk about adjusting turn around times. To put this in perspective this is like asking a turtle to become an Olympic sprinter! Like the parable about the tortoise and the hair, I was determined to rise to the challenge.

    To prepare for this I basically went through my own writer and rapper boot camp. I won’t go into detail right now, just know it had hours of brainstorming, writing, rapping, beat choosing, and a lot of inapplicable content. (In-applicable content: all content that you write/produce, and can’t utilize at that Specific Moment; it’s NEVER trash!) Exhausting about sums up how that process felt. That feeling completely transformed 9 days later when Ms. Winnet said “Alright, sounds good!” I had risen to the challenge and I was ready to show the entire school!