Some time ago, upon discovering that I enjoy the music of bad-boy rapper 50 Cent, a fellow-writer blasted me for my “misguided” choice.
He pointed out the fact that many rappers have lyrics that promote violence, materialism, and misogyny. Couldn’t believe that someone as straight laced and socially conscious as he considered me to be, would actually “indulge“.
Though it’s true that many of today’s entertainment icons in the rap industry use words and references that could make a sailor blush, it’s not a totally valid assessment for all of them collectively and their music. Don’t believe the hype!
Here’s an example. In a popular song by Tupac Shakur, the gangsta’ rapper pays a touching tribute to his mom in a song entitled, “You are appreciated.”
In fact, even with its bad “rep”, some rappers actually champion important causes and seek to promote social justice. When asked to defend his lyrics to critics, 50 Cent shared this: “Only God can judge me.”
But, the purpose of today’s piece is not to defend the merits of “alternative” types of music. No, my friend. Today’s post is designed to help you become a rock-star writer and have “the moves like Jagger!”
So, if you’re on board, I’d like to share how listening to the “3 R’s” enhanced my writing, helped to reach broader audiences, and increased my bottom line.
As an award-winning writer of more than a decade, here’s what I’ve learned over the years that has taken my writing to new levels and put a song in my heart. And it can for you too.
ON CRAFT AND BUSINESS...
Word! They’re savvy about turning life’s lemons into lemonade. Behind the blaring music, if you listen closely, you’ll hear stories of love and loss. Of humble beginnings, having “haters,” and even dealing with personal demons. It’s something we all can relate to on some levels; no one is immune to these universal experiences, no matter what side of the track we may come from. Though these experiences may not translate into the next billboard hit, as writers, they can become “scores” for personal essays, poems, or commentary pieces. Take your heartbreak to the bank.
You may not morally share their perspective, but you should definitely aspire to their deep sense of conviction. Take for instance, Lil Kim, who was incarcerated for reportedly trying to protect friends regarding a shooting outside a nightclub. Now of course, I’m not advocating that you go out and do anything that violates your moral code, or that will land you behind bars, (though it could very well lead to a book deal). J Your writing should stand for something! Watch their videos or read their tell-all books, and their intensity and commitment is truly evident. Passion moves people. In other words, if you’re not geeked about your subject matter, chances are your readers won’t be either.
Note: It's important to recognize, folks, that controversy is different than angry, spiteful, personal "ranting". Don't get it twisted. :-)
They diversify their talents and their income streams.
Puff Daddy does this through a popular clothing line.
50 Cent has a lucrative vitamin water and "fly gear" business.
Some singers even operate trendy, successful restaurants.
What can we learn from this? Cast a wider net. Dabble in different genres. Don't rest on your laurels.
They collaborate with those whom they admire.
Everything is not always about competition; there's enough "bling" out there for all of us.
Consider collaborative projects as a great way to build important friendships, expand your offerings, and share the spotlight with other talented artists.
Well, this concludes my "performance" here today. Let me know what you think about today's topic. Agree or disagree? Anything you intend to incorporate in your writing soon?
Remember, "Swagger matters!" :-)
Last, but not least, this is just a reminder that Pen & Prosper will be on a short break until mid-August. Feel free to stop by and leave comments in the interim. I'll be checking here and there. :-)