Later this month, Jeezy is slated to release his new album, Trap or Die 3. Like all artists preparing for an album drop, the ATL veteran has begun to hit the interview circuit. His first stop: the Tax Season podcast.
The hour-long interview, filled with inspirational stories about Jeezy's come up in hip-hop, is highly entertaining, but one quote, in particular, caught my attention because it echoes a sentiment I often find myself sharing with independent artists.
During a back-and-forth with host Taxstone about earning an audience beyond the hood and strip clubs, Jeezy said the following:
"[They're] not going to out hustle me. That's what I depended on, my hustle. And the fact that I wasn't scared to invest in myself. I would buy whatever I felt like was going to get me to the next level. I was fuckin' paying for studio time at Big Boi's studio, I wanted these niggas to see me."
The idea of hustling in hip-hop is equal parts ambiguous and amusing because the meaning of the concept varies depending on the artist. For Jeezy, it meant driving from one club to another and handing out his mixtapes. For another artist, though, it could mean starting a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to shoot a music video or firing off mass e-mails to rap bloggers at 5AM. There are levels.
Investment in self, however, is as straightforward a business plan as there is. While the saying might be cliche, you do need to spend money to make money. In fact, the single biggest decision an artist can make is to put money into their passion. The real difference between a part-time hobby and a potential career is money-backed confidence. After all, if you don't believe in yourself enough to invest in your career, you shouldn't expect anyone else to do the same.
Also, just to be clear—an investment in your career means setting aside funds for recording, mixing and mastering, graphic design work, photography, videography, digital marketing and legal help, not dime bags, Swisher Sweets, trips to the strip club and Uber rides for your girl.
Like Jeezy said, it's about getting to the next level.
By DJ Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.
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