6 Things Freelance Writers and Bloggers Can Learn From Rappers!

By Guest Author

This is a guest post by Jennifer Brown Banks. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Say what you will about their less than wholesome lifestyles, or their aversion to the King‘s English. But the smart writer recognizes that there are many valuable lessons to be learned from today’s successful rap artist. Whether it’s how to earn more “cheddar“, market words, handle “haters,” or capitalize on adversity.

Truth be told, behind the baggy pants, bulging biceps, and bigger than life egos, there is some genius going on there, folks. Don’t believe the hype.

Sure there are those that are one hit wonders, (like Vanilla Ice), but for the most part, many have “stayed true to the game” and garnered cult like followings, lucrative contracts, and careers that most of us would envy.

Take for instance Queen Latifah. Though audiences may know her now as the face behind Cover Girl Cosmetics, or an award-winning actress, she actually emerged on the scene back in the 1980’s as a fierce female rapper. She went from singing lyrics of empowerment and social issues, to movie roles and mass appeal. And she is indeed the “queen” when it comes to branding.

Then there’s the clever rapper simply known as “Common”. Hailing from Chicago, Common’s career debuted in 1992 with the album, “Can I Borrow a Dollar?” Needless to say now he has millions of dollars, and a successful acting career to boot. Not to mention, a pretty impressive speaking career and important political connections.

Even Donald Trump has recognized that rappers can be astute players in the business arena, evidenced by his inclusion of rapper Little Jon in the line-up of Celebrity Apprentice cast members in a recent season.

Based upon my “case studies” and analysis over the years, I have concluded that Rappers impart important lessons when it comes to career management, marketing, branding and making a living as a creative artist.

Here are a few that serious freelancers would do well to master and incorporate in their success strategies.

1. Rappers reign supreme in cultivating multiple income streams. As artists and entrepreneurs, it’s important that we diversify our efforts and our projects. Editors leave. Clients can pay late. And industry changes can impact our bottom lines. Rappers recognize this and act accordingly. Which is why Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs also has a successful clothing line, and Bad boy rapper 50 Cent also puts his name on sports drinks, and fly gear for today’s youth. Make no mistake about it; many are shrewd business men.

2. Rappers aren’t afraid of courting controversy if the situation dictates. Whether it’s lyrics that speak to “their own personal truths” or spending a ridiculous amount of money on guilty indulgences, they offer no apologies. In writing, there can sometimes be a tendency to worry that we will offend from our words of choice, or invite criticism from bucking conventional wisdom. In the words of Soprano actor, “Fuggetaboutit.” Feel the fear and do it anyway! Throw caution to the wind and pen a blog post on a Sunday, if you‘re so inclined. Or break those rules your English instructor considered cardinal.

3. Rappers know how to turn pain into profit. They’re savvy about turning life’s lemons into lemonade. Behind the bumping music, if you listen closely, you’ll hear stories of love and loss. Of humble beginnings, and dealing with personal demons. It’s something we all can relate to on some levels; no one is immune to these universal experiences. Though they may not translate into the next billboard hit chart song, as writers, they can become fodder for personal essays, poems, or meaningful memoirs. Take your heartbreak to the bank.

4. Rappers are passionate people! Even if you don’t morally share their perspective, you should definitely emulate their sense of conviction. 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.

5. Rappers really have a way with words. And they treat them as a commodity. It’s a common misconception that all rap is bad and simplistic in nature. That it promotes violence, immoral behavior, or fast-lane living. Not true. Rappers like Heavy D, Will Smith, and L.L. Cool J not only compose songs that get folks to get up on the dance floor, they are hugely creative, insightful and clever. From using literary devices like hyperbole, imagery, alliteration, parallels and metaphors, take notice. No matter what genre you dabble in, these techniques can make your writing more interesting, colorful and engaging.

6. Rappers have swagger. They exude confidence. Their lyrics are large and so is their bling. Whether on stage or the studio, they convey a sense of “authority” on street life, having “hustle savvy”, and being loved by the ladies. Conversely, one of the things that many writers feel uneasy about is marketing and tooting their own horn. Pump up the volume! Let the world know how awesome you are through your marketing materials, blog posts, or testimonials. To quote an expression, “It’s a sad dog that won’t wag his own tail.”

Follow these six tips and rest assured, you’ll find yourself singing all the way to the bank!

About the Author: Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, pro blogger and relationship columnist. She recently became a contributing writer for the ever-popular site Technorati.com. Visit her blog at PenAndProsper.blogspot.com.




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19 Responses to “6 Things Freelance Writers and Bloggers Can Learn From Rappers!”

  • Himanshu Chanda

    That’s all so very true. Rappers are confident and on your face. I believe that is what differentiates blogging from journalism. You say what you want to say without any boundaries… And if your words are clear concise and take a side you will always find a tribe sitting right there to follow you.

  • MsTrendy

    I like this article…. swag

  • Rebecca

    I loved point #2, “Rappers aren’t afraid of courting controversy if the situation dictates.” I applaud anyone with the guts to take a stand; someone who doesn’t conform to please everyone else. I admire how rappers are confident and don’t back down. I think a lot of writers wished they could be like them, write like them. However, they’re too afraid of what other writers, family, friends, etc. will think. They don’t take risks and stick to a ‘ho-hum’ path.

  • Michael @Blast4Trafficnow

    This is really awesome. The way you explained everything as it relates to rappers, it makes me inspired knowing I’m on the right track in my blogging career. Thank you.

  • JENNIFER BROWN BANKS

    Himanshu,

    Thanks for weighing in and starting us off. Rappers are indeed confident and even “borderline cocky.” But it works for them. 🙂

  • JENNIFER BROWN BANKS

    MsTrendy,

    Glad you liked it. “No diggety, no doubt!”

  • JENNIFER BROWN BANKS

    Rebecca,

    Great feedback. I couldn’t agree more. B/T/W/ loved your site.

  • Stephanie

    Rappers are beasts as the young folk will say. They have learned the art of business well. I can learn from them as both a writer and a teacher. I need to have the faith that they have about my skill and talent as a writer, and also to use them to show my students what perserverance can do. Thanks for a though-provoking piece.

  • JENNIFER BROWN BANKS

    Michael,

    Happy to hear from you. Much success in your blogging journey!

  • JENNIFER BROWN BANKS

    Steph,

    Yep. Though some may not (necessarily) be great role models, they provide great business models. I appreciate your input.

  • Jingles

    “It’s a sad dog that won’t wag his own tail.”

    I agree, you have to bigup yourself because nobody else will.

  • HP van Duuren

    Thanks, Jennifer great observation,

    It’s a good idea to be building Multiple Income Streams, and
    – Affiliate Markting – is a great way to do just that. Also to have Passion can get you far. It indeed can be good for business to have a certain amount of Rap-ture.

  • JENNIFER BROWN BANKS

    Thanks, Jingles…well said.

  • JENNIFER BROWN BANKS

    HP van Duuren,

    Good to reconnect. Affiliate Marketing is definitely something worth noting. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sarvanshu

    rap is like wine, the older the better….I am working on a post Which features some popular music videos which inspires me to blog better and explains basic of blogging….Its a list post…Jennifer this blogpost will really help me in completing my post.

    Thanks!

  • JENNIFER BROWN BANKS

    Sarvanshu,

    I really dig the simile where you compare rap to wine. Your upcoming blog post sounds really interesting. Hope you get rave reviews! Thanks for dropping by.

  • jorge jacobo

    Don’t listen to rap music. But I believe there is a lot to learn from the success of people, rappers included. Thanks for sharing.

    to Author.

    I noticed that the link to the site mentioned may not be well redirected, maybe?

  • JENNIFER BROWN BANKS

    Thanks, jorge. I’m not sure what link you are referencing.

  • jorge jacobo

    It was in the section about the author part.
    Maybe Daniel would be the one to fix it!

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