When I first started rapping, I just wanted to make $2,000 a month.
People that’s big or that you perceive to be big, they’re not big, they’re just big because they treat themselves like they’re big.
I wasn’t going to be a doctor. You know, I wasn’t going to be a lawyer. I wasn’t going to be, you know, I didn’t see myself putting on a suit or tie every day.
Dom Kennedy’s Top 10 Rules For Success
Evan: He’s an American rapper from Los Angeles. Since 2008, he has released five independent mix tapes.
He is known for his laid back flow, wordplay, and unique storytelling.
He’s Dom Kennedy, and here’s my take on his Top 10 Rules for Success.
Rule number three is my personal favorite, and I’d love to know which one you guys like the best.
And as always, as you’re watching, if you hear something that really resonates with you please leave it in the comments below, put quotes around it, so other people can be inspired as well. And when you write it down, it’s much more likely to stick with you, as well. Enjoy.
DOM KENNEDY’S RULES
- Better yourself
- Find the reason to keep going
- Take yourself seriously
- Work hard
- Learn from your failures
- Fill in a void
- Find your definition of success
- Focus on your passion
- Challenge yourself
- Create something unique
Give your best
Rule #1: Better Yourself
What I try to do is, always, you know, better myself. You know what I’m saying? As a person, as just a human being on God’s Earth, or what you want to call it. I feel like, focusing on too much today. Kids focus on, and even a lot of my friends, the end result, which is the money, you know, the fame, and all of that side. But it’s like, if you don’t learn anything about yourself, if you don’t take anybody with you, you know what I’m saying, if you don’t change anybody’s life for the better, and you do it alone. It’s not going to mean nothing. You’re going to end up somewhere by yourself unhappy about it, anyway.
Interviewer: That’s right, that’s right.
So that’s kind of like what I tell my friends and how I try to live my life.
Rule #2: Find The Reason To Keep Going
Female Interviewer: Was there ever a point that you were so close to quitting?
Yeah, it was. I wouldn’t say, I couldn’t say like, so close. I don’t know how close, you know?
But it was definitely a time where I was just like, you know, I didn’t have a lot expectations, like I said. I got to a point where I had done a lot of things. I had kind of passed. When I first started rapping, I just wanted to make $2000 a month.
That’s why I honestly tell my friends-
You said a month? I heard that.
Like man, if I could figure out a way to make $2,000 a month, you know, I would be happy.
You’re almost there, huh.
Yeah, man. It’s getting close.
Keep grinding, man $24,000 a year, brother, it’s coming.
So, at a certain point, I put out music, I traveled, and it was just like, yeah, I was questioning. You know you have to find a reason every day to want to still do something, so, I kind of had to re-focus, but yeah, it was, though.
Rule #3: Take Yourself Seriously
Man, take yourself serious. You know, don’t wait on nobody else to validate you. Take yourself serious, you know what I’m saying, ’cause people only going mess with you as serious as you take yourself. So if you think you the small time, everybody going to think you small time.
Nobody ain’t going to have no reason to. People that’s big, or that you perceive to be big, they’re not big. They’re just big because they treat themselves like they’re big. You know what I’m sayin’, they act important. They’re important people to themselves. So the world has to take you as such, because, you know, that’s who you are.
“Every project I did, every failure I had, it made me smarter. It made me stronger. ” – Dom Kennedy
Rule #4: Work Hard
Most important lessons I learned was just, man, don’t be scared to take a chance, you know, on yourself. Nothing is guaranteed. There’s nothing that you’re ever going to do where you’re going to know exactly, for sure, that the outcome is going to be successful, but you got to go anyway.
You got to protect yourself, and the only way you can do that is by working hard. You know, to guarantee that the outcome will be one that you will like. It takes a while to get to that point, where it’s like, you’re okay with putting music out and putting out albums and stuff. But I like to do it until I feel like I’ve given enough to that project. And then when I’m at that place, and I’m satisfied, and I feel like no matter the outcome, I’m happy with it, that’s when it comes out.
Rule #5: Learn From Your Failures
Interviewer: I was reading an article on you on Forbes, which is amazing. Because for you to be on Forbes they were really studying your work as an independent artist, and kind of like how you are in a position where you can tell a label, “This is what I want,” and then tell them, “Nah, I’m not going to take that deal,” because I already got my movement. Tell me about how you got to that place, because obviously that didn’t happen overnight.
Nah, it happened gradually, you know, out of necessity, really. You know, it started with me just being a fan of music, first of all. I say that, like, I wasn’t, When I was a kid and when I was younger, you know, in my early 20’s, you feel me, I wasn’t really meant to be a rapper. You know what I’m saying? I always wrote. Like, I feel like a lot of kids in the inner city can rhyme.
You know what I’m saying, and they love rap, and they buy albums. But then as I start putting out music and learning more, it kind of just prepared me for this. So every project I did, every failure I had, it made me smarter. It made me stronger. You know, every time I slipped, right after I slipped, I got up. You know what I’m sayin’, and it just kept going, it just kept building.
Rule #6: Fill In A Void
Fill a void. You know? Fill a void. It’s jobs out here. Figure out what you can make better. That’s better than any job. Like, you could go get a job doing something, whatever you want to, but figure out where you can really fit in and be happy. And then worry about, the money’s going to come. That’s not going to be a problem. Because if you’re filling a void, and you’re adding to, you know, whatever, you might be like, “You know what? They don’t have good food at venues.” You know what I’m saying? And you might be the person, the next billionaire that just have bomb food at concerts. Like straight up, though.
Interviewer: Yeah, that’s true.
Straight up, though, or just figure out a way to involve, like, media in concerts. Like where people could be there and you could like, you know, whatever, some type of way. But just figure out something that people is not doing. You know what I’m saying, that you feel like people could utilize and do that.
“Don’t wait on nobody else to validate you. Take yourself serious” – Dom Kennedy
Rule #7: Find Your Definition Of Success
What’s your sort of definition of success?
You know, for me, it’s just peace and happiness. You feel me, that was the last song on the yellow album. You know, and that was really the message that I learned in all that time, and all my time doing music. Up to that point, for me, that was success. You know, peace and happiness. And for me, happiness is just giving my all, you know, to whatever I’m doing at the time. Again, it’s not, you know. Like, I haven’t-
I’ve only sold two projects. Like, that was my biggest project today, and I gave it away for free. You know, so it wasn’t really, I had to see if I, you know, prove it to myself, like, I would do this for free, so I would definitely would do it for money, obviously. But it’s not really for that. You know, it’s for something else, for me. And it was definitely at that time, and it was just to be dedicated to something, for your life to have a purpose.
Rule #8: Focus On Your Passion
I decided around 2005 that I wanted to be, you know, an entertainer.
And rap was something I had already been involved in. You know, just as a childhood, it was a passion of mine. So I figured it was my best, you know, route to take applying everything I know, everything I had. Like, I wasn’t going to be a doctor.
You know, I wasn’t going to be a lawyer. I wasn’t going to be, you know, I didn’t see myself putting on a suit or tie everyday. I’m just being honest. So I, you know, you kind of look down the list of, like, what’s your possibilities. You know, what are you going to do? So, it’s kind of like we chose each other, I guess.
Rule #9: Challenge Yourself
You know with any project, you kind of hope it would. The Yellow Album was little step further than what I normally do, you know, musically. And I had, it was a very ambitious project. You know, and there was times when I was making it that I didn’t really know.
You know, but that’s the fun part about being an artist, you know, is to challenge yourself. You know, I think that’s why it’s been my best project. So, I worked really hard on it. There was a lot of nights, I was like, you know, sat up and yawned, listen to songs like, “Man I wonder what people are going to think or if they going to even like this.” But, you know, I’m more than happy with how it turned out, for sure.
“What I try to do is, always, you know, better myself.” – Dom Kennedy
Rule #10: Create Something Unique
Like, I get inspired by life a lot, and that’s my way of giving back and expressing. And people, you know, I get inspired by people basically, and that’s my way of, of showing that, is music. So, the only way that I can do that is, the only way I do that is with rap songs.
As soon as I find a beat, or music that I love, I can get to you. You know what I mean? Giving back. So, it’s like I sit around, I go to the studios. I wait for those moments to hear music that I love, that I could write something that I never written before.
And make a song I feel like the world has never heard it before. Kids, you know, from my area, and people, like, they have never heard before. Just inspire them to do something different, and be themselves even more, you know? Like, if you listen to my music, you know, it varies from time to time, but it kind of stays the same in terms of uniqueness. I would think so. You know, like, I just look for unique. I don’t want to say professional legit.
You know what I mean, it sound like a real person that really knows what they’re doing, mainly. I don’t like to you know, I don’t know. There are different levels of, you know, musicianship, but the people that I tend to work with are more like, you know, like how I am. They’re sure about what, like, when I’m sure when I write a song, or when I’m Don Kennedy, or when I hit the stage, like, I know what I’m going to do.
You know, so I look for producers that have that same confidence in what they do. You know, and is not worried about trying to do what everybody’s trying to do. And just have their own thing that they bring to the table. That’s what I look for.
Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because Mikey Linan asked me to. Also, if you want to nominate someone for the next top ten video, please check the description for a link to a video where you could vote for people, and put in your suggestions as well.
I’d love to know what did you take from this video. What was the most important lesson that you learned, that blew your mind, that you’re going to immediately apply to your life or your business somehow. Please leave it down in the comments below. I’m super curious to find out.
I also want to give a quick shout out to Clyde Hayz. Clyde, thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word. Taking that picture and posting it on Instagram. I love the effects you put on it. I really appreciate the support and I hope you’re enjoying the book.
So thank you guys again for watching. I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself and whatever your One Word is. Much love. I’ll see you soon.
Give your best
I can’t tell no man, or no kid, nobody, that you should try your best in school, if I’m not trying my best at what I’m doing.
You know what I’m saying, they going to know, they’re going to be like, “Man, you just getting over it. I just want to be like you.” But it’s like, no, I’m not getting over it, dog. I don’t go to sleep.
You know what I’m saying? Like, I be up stressin’ nights, working, trying to figure out perfect ways to express myself and, you know, come up with t-shirt designs. Like, this is something I do ’cause I love it. You know what I’m sayin’, and I love and I work hard at it, and it rewards me for being loyal to it. You know, not the other way around. Like, you don’t just get paid because you show up.
Interviewer: So I know after you released the other album, you sort of, toured the world and all that, sort of, for the first time. How did those kind of experiences affect you, and sort of, affect-
First of all, it showed me just, really the power in just, you know, believing in yourself. ‘Cause me making the Yellow Album, you know, it wasn’t a risk at all. It was a calculated risk, if anything. But it showed the power of me, to me, of believing in yourself and believing in your art.
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