When Nipsey Hussle started his career in 2008, it was easy to tell that he was the next rap mogul in the making and would truly become a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.
The “All Money In” artist opened up during his hour-long podcast interview on Tidal recently with Rap Radar’s Elliott Wilson and Brian “B.Dot” Miller.
During the interview, Hussle weighed in on a grip of topics including his upcoming project Victory Lap, his business endeavors outside of rap and much more.
From the interview, a lot of jewels were unearthed and if you weren’t paying close enough attention you might’ve missed some valuable advice.
No worries the hustle in Nipsey’s DNA was worth reviewing. Here are five tips on how to keep your ear to the streets and become the ultimate businessman.
1. Run your victory lap in your lane
In a world where people tend to blatantly copy each other, it is important for your work to be distinguished amongst your peers.
In the interview, Nipsey touched on how important it is not to blend in speaking on his “Rap Niggaz” record and why he made it. He sees “blending in” as a violation discrediting the sacrifices made by the predecessors of your craft.
“That’s a violation don’t blend in. There is no traffic in your lane be honest and stay in your lane. It discredits the sacrifices that it takes and discredits the struggle to just plop yourself in the ranks with niggas you ain’t in the ranks with…”
2. Monetize your connections and make customers “proud to pay” for your product
In the “Outro” of The Marathon Continues, Nipsey raps,
“They tellin’ me they believe and I got style for days and when I drop an album they’ll be proud to pay”
The “proud to pay” phrase marked a new phase in Hussle’s career and in hip-hop proving that you can strategize the way people consume your product.
Standing alone the phrase is a beautiful use of alliteration but when applied to a business structure it takes on a whole new meaning. It’s application led Hussle to become the pioneer behind the $100 mixtape, Crenshaw.
Although the mixtape was available for free, those who were “proud to pay” paid. He sold 1,000 the first day, Jay-Z dropped $10,000 buying 100 of them, and he sold them at every pop-up he opened on tour. BIG RACKS!
The “proud to pay” business structure in the music industry, to Hussle, is a meritocracy and a reciprocation. Your fans or customers are going to pay for the product or get it for free, either way, they are going to hear what your story is about.
If it’s trash they’ll dub you. If it’s good they’ll stick with you and will be more than proud to pay for a product they already know is good. Regarding if anyone else can structure their business around this plan, in the interview, Hussle said,
“I don’t even think that selling the cd for $100 is what the valuable thing is. I think the valuable thing is to be creative with how you monetize the connection… “
3. Know when not to take meetings and keep hustling
The $100 mixtape release and success was a statement to the hip-hop world, letting everyone know people out there loved Hussle’s message and that they were willing to pay a premium price for it.
This proved Hussle’s product and that it was a success in reaching the masses opening up new doors for him.
But instead of picking up the phone and signing a major deal with a record label he weighed his options carefully. His decision to keep working and utilizing all of his resources gave him the confidence he needed to take one of the biggest steps of his career – his partnership with Atlantic Records. Recognize I didn’t say “signed.”
He expressed to B. Dot and Wilson,
“Your value goes up the more you don’t sit at the table and just work… I just wanted to utilize all the new resources we were getting off the Crenshaw success to build the next step….”
This man created his own leverage through his work ethic. He knows that if “you work hard and if your product is solid you have the advantage.”
4. Money pays for inspiration
He claimed that everyone lives for inspiration and that the stimulating feeling of it is like that of a drug. To Hussle, if you are able to hone inspiration and strategize your creativity around it the effect of that makes everything much more simple.
In the interview he said,
“What do we live for, what’s more, important to us? Everybody is driven by what fuel? We are driven by inspiration. The money will pay for inspiration. People pay for drugs to be inspired, to be stimulated. People pay for experiences to be inspired. So, if you could put that in a bottle and know the strategy behind your creativity is not getting through an institutions parameter like the radio… it’s to inspire. If you create an exchange between you and your fans like that, we simplify everything…”
5. Reset the standard and stay true to yourself, cuz
Know that if Hussle’s Victory Lap doesn’t reset the standard of rap music, then he will feel that he’s failed you. During the interview, he touched on the metric of success he’s placed Victory Lap in. He said,
“If it don’t inspire you, I’m going to feel like I failed. If it don’t blow you away musically, I’m going to feel like I failed. If it don’t reset the standard of rap music…”
That’s a lot of pressure, but Hussle is so sure of himself, this project, and his craft.
Proving his authenticity, before closing the interview touching on a homie he recently lost, Hussle said that people used to tell him not to rap about the hood or where he’s from.
“This is my gamble on myself when I came in. Niggas used to tell me don’t put rollin sixties in your music don’t rap about the hood because it’s going to pigeonhole you, it’s going to restrict you… I’m from right here, I’m from the rollin sixties, the rollin sixties is important to LA, right?”
“LA important to California right? California important to America right? America important to the globe right? So, I am global, I could keep it all the way me.”
Walk with a real prophet. Hussle really knows what’s good and can’t wait to hear all the wisdom he drops on us in his debut studio album, Victory Lap.
Keep an eye out for it. It drops at the beginning of NBA’s All-Star weekend on February 16. Pre-order here.