Yes, I know this song was released in 1999, and of course we’re not

talking about wearing the same pair of Lugz or borrowing a dollar for gas to start a Monte Carlo in 2013. However, this song outlines the frustration of

being an independent musician just trying to get the whole world to hear you. It’s even harder as a rapper, since there are many more “rappers” than there

are other musicians, because people know damn well you don’t need talent to make it as a rapper.  Pretty much all you need is money, good connections, and

a will to never stop hustling. When Eminem was making it, he had to be three times better than the second dopest MC around him because any white rappers

that weren’t The Beastie Boys were looked at as a joke at the time. Most

musicians start in this game broke or poor, with the exception of a few trust fund babies here and there, or if your father happens to be Will Smith or

Billy Ray Cyrus.  Having extra money to pour into your craft is tough, especially when inflation swallows up your day job money, and you’ve probably been

scammed by people who prowl on independent artists or stiffed by a promoter or two. Sometimes the dopest MC’s are the ones who either don’t care to be on

TV or don’t put the hustle in because they feel the skills will sell themselves. Unfortunately in the world where club owners are out to make a buck (most

are struggling to stay open themselves), they don’t care if you’re the next Eminem and only sell 10 tickets. They’d rather have a Lil B who can sell

1500 tickets. I struggled with that as a music manager early on. Yes, we were promoting. Yes, we had fans. Yes, we were on several college radio stations.

Yes, we did shows…some sold well, some not so much, some even sold downright horribly (And having to deal with pissed off club owners). But, we were not

working hard enough or smart enough, since we were relying on just the raw talent alone to carry us.

TuneCore Music Distribution of Your Own Music

Now, the lyrical artists are more of the style of hip-hop I enjoy, but as a man with an open mind, I listen to many

styles of not only hip-hop, but music in general. At the end of the day, the main audience that buys music are females and high school kids, most of whom

just care about dancing and a great beat. We had a problem with “selling out” for a long time. However, if you give up your principals, that’s what

selling out is to me. If I was a rapper and did an Anti-Monsanto song (A subject I won’t even get to on this discussion. Read here for more on that subject), then took an endorsement

deal with McDonald’s, promoting products with high fructose corn syrup, corn fed cows, and trans fats, then that is selling out. Yun6 Canon did a song

like “Just 4 Yu”, but it’s still his personality and how he lives. He made a track for the ladies that dudes won’t cringe to. I told him, “This is your

most popular song, let’s make more radio hits”. We have three now. We also have songs for the streets, the colleges, and the hipsters. Same personality,

but you’re talking about someone who is respected in the streets and graduated from Penn State at the same damn time, you’re going to have different

experiences.  The same dude who grew up on artists like Beanie Sigel, Cassidy, Jay-Z, and Jeezy also can be caught singing “Road Trippin'” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on long car rides too.

Anyways, yes, I went into a rant there. I promise you this rant only took me five

minutes to type up because I spoke on personal experience. If you have never heard this song, then where have you been the last 13 years? This song is

something every up and coming musician needs to listen to. It is called “If I Had” from the The Slim Shady LP.  This may change your perspective on the so-called easy life of a rapper.  It is pure hell 95% of the time.  But for the love of music, and

maybe a crack at the big leagues, it’s worth the hell!