My name is Young Lucid aka Pharaoh Sauce aka Little God aka Swagu Plutonium. The notorious Mr. Noodlez asked me to write a blog post for the creative Internet dwellers like you. ;) As a hip-hop artist I’ve been faced with adversity from the moment I decided this was something I wanted to pursue. It’s been almost four years since I first worked up the courage to get on stage and do my thing and I’ve gained a ridiculous amount of wisdom in my young age. If you’re looking for a few ways to get ahead in the music scene this year, you’re in the right place, or blog post, whatever.
1) Find your sound.
This one seems obvious, but trust that it is no easy feat. The core of an artist is the music, at least, in most cases. Provided you are one of these cases, you want to put as much time and attention as you can into developing your own sound. “How is this possible Pharaoh Sauce?” (Lol sorry.) I can’t tell you how your favorite rapper did it, but I can tell you how I managed to tackle the task. (Maybe I can tell you how your favorite rapper found his sound.)
After a year full of fufu shows in some of the trashiest underground bars and clubs in New York City from Stapleton to Mt. Vernon, I began to realize that flowing over Drake’s latest instrumentals was not enough to wow my audience. They were exposed to a young cat with a new flow and sharp lyrics, but that’s about it. You know that scene in Hustle and Flow where Terrace Howard realized all he had was “a whole lot of spit?”
I tried a new approach. Maybe three shows a week was a bit much. Instead I fell back and returned to what made me fall in love with hip-hop in the first place. LISTENING TO MUSIC. I studied what made Tupac sound like Tupac. What made Travis Scott stand out? How did Drake shock the world when he dropped? It sounds simple, but analyzing yourself from a third person perspective can help you decide where your strong points are. Once you locate those, polish yourself into an artist that contrasts against the rest. THERE ARE A BILLION RAPPERS IN THIS WORLD. YOU NEED TO SOUND IRREPLACEABLE.
2) Stop hating.
“Why do so many people pay attention to him?” “He’s not even good at rapping.” “I’m way nicer than him.” “That should be me.”
SHUT THE F*CK UP.
Nobody ever gained a fan by hating on another man’s grind. If you’re upset with another individual’s successes you will never eat the way you want to. Here’s an alternative. Go out and locate these people that are receiving so much more attention than you. Reach out to them. Shake their hand. Ask them for advice. Tell them you appreciate their craft. “But Lucid, what if I don’t appreciate their craft?” No problem. Then work on your own until you EARN the spotlight. It can be frustrating to see somebody with the notoriety you so eagerly desire, but negative energy is no way to move yourself forward. Showing love and respecting your peers can put you in positions you never would have dreamed of.
3) No more excuses.
This year has been difficult for me. I cannot lie to you. My record label and I have not had the best working relationship and it hasn’t been as productive as I would hope. No biggie smalls. When I bounce back it’s going to be a problem. Sure I was let down by a couple of people. Maybe I wasn’t given everything I was promised. I don’t know why things happen the way they do, but here is one thing I do know. NO MAN IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MY CAREER THE WAY I AM. Sure everyone thinks you need a label, manager, or agent to break through in the industry and sure, that might help plenty, but without creating a strong foundation for yourself no one will have the power to elevate you the way you can yourself. Trust me.
It’s been real yo. I hope you learned something. Remember that this post isn’t about how to gain more SoundCloud followers or how to get a record deal. It’s about how you can make yourself a better artist in this crazy field called music. Go write yourself a hit record baby.