Ski Mask the Slump God, a 21-year-old rapper from Broward County, Florida, has only been rapping for a few years, but he's already feeling the pressure of a burgeoning career as a major label artist signed to Republic.
"My debut album will definitely drop at the end or middle of next year," he told HNHH for their On The Come Up series. "We're definitely working on it right now, at the same time we're working on two other tapes. It's like I have so much to do. I have involvement with XXX's tapes, my tapes, ya, just shit like that. [It's] difficult. I wish somebody would have told me rap would be this hard."
Rappers often tell us in interviews that being a professional recording artist means that they've never had to work a day in their lives. This is a sweet sentiment, but it's also cliché bullshit. Between recording and touring, with nothing but constant travel in-between, an artist is separated from their family and closest friends for months at a time. No matter how much an artist loves making music and performing that music for thousands of adoring fans, at the end of the day it's work. Hard work. Being a professional recording artist is a grind. The key word, of course, being professional.
Only a few years into his career, Ski Mask is clearly wet behind the ears. But that's what happens when you stumble into a field instead of working toward that goal for nearly a decade. In order to achieve anything more than a singular moment in rap time, though, the rapper, born Stokeley Clevon Goulbourne, would be wise to heed the advice of Killer Mike, who earlier this year discussed why he takes rap so seriously:
"I don't take it for granted. I don't turn down interviews. I don't miss shows. I'm here to work," Mike told Power 106. "I say that and, a lot of times, people take as a joke or do you feel obligated. Like, this is my day job. And I love it like that. I love my job so, for me, I never ever in my life have to return to anything criminal. I work my ass off."