No matter your success level, it's never too late to listen to your OGs.
During his interview with co-hosts Elliott Wilson and Brian "B.Dot" Miller on the Rap Radar podcast, Will Smith proved this tenet true by telling the career-altering story of making his first $1,000 from rapping.
“I got my first $1,000 at 17 years old, and they handed me 10 $100 bills for rapping,” Smith recalled emphatically. “It was… It was crazy. And I knew that I was never ever going to do anything that would stop somebody from handing me 10 $100 bills, you know [laughs]... It was helpful for me in the sense that it immediately curbed my vices. I was 22 years old before I took a drink, I’ve never smoked weed, I’ve never done drugs. I so enjoyed getting $1,000 that it knocked out everything other than—I love women, so that was the only thing in my life that I struggled with—but it knocked out a lot of the potential vices that I could have fallen into.”
Now, there’s something. Smith was so taken aback by earning his first grand, he subconsciously did everything in his power to protect and subsequently replicate that feeling. Navigating sudden celebrity without so much as a drink for six years is impressive, to say the least, and also speaks to the inherent determination and willpower an artist needs to have an enduring career.
While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in your success and celebrating when celebration is due, we must note how radically different Smith’s approach is from the present social media brandishing that’s become commonplace. Surely, there must be a middle ground between totally abstaining from every vice under the sun and throwing away your advance before the first-week numbers are in.
Of course, staving off vices helped to facilitate Smith’s three-decades-long career within and outside of hip-hop. In terms of the validity of his advice, Smith is living proof that his route has a handsome payout.
Even so, no matter when you get your big break in the music business, one thing remains true: secure your bag at all costs.