He’s an American rapper from Los Angeles, California. He’s released several mixtapes of which Jay-Z has bought 100 copies of for $100 each. He’s collaborated with many artists including Drake, Snoop Dogg, and Rick Ross. He’s Nipsey Hussle and here’s my take on his top 10 rules of success.
Nipsey Hussle’s Top 10 Rules For Business and Success
Rule #1: Have A Plan
Without sounding like everybody else sound, you know what I’m saying, trying to keep it as real as I can keep it with everybody paying attention and watching. Mane, the most important thing, number one, is you got to get rid of doubts.
If you got doubt in what you doing, it’s not going to work, you know what I’m saying? They way to do that is you have a plan, cause if you got a plan, it’s not like just a pipe dream. You have a step-by-step list of things to do to get to your goal.
If you don’t have that, it’s very hard to really have faith in what you’re doing, ’cause as soon as something pop up, it’s going to look like the end all. But if you got a game plan of everything you need to do, one thing pop up, “Well I still got to do this, this, this and that,” so this ain’t going to stop me.
You know what I’m saying, another thing pop up, “Well sh-, I accomplished these two things “since my last obstacle, “I only got three more things to do, “let me keep pushing.” Pretty soon you’ve obtained your goal, and then you create another one. But without a game plan and without a strong sense of faith in what you’re doing, it’s going to be real hard to accomplish anything.
Rule #2: Don’t Alienate Your Brand
Interviewer: How’d you come up with the idea to really focus on your core fans?
I think that’s one of my, like, natural inclinations just being a rap fan. Like I follow orders and a lot of times I feel like I’m a real core, one of they fans, and I get upset when they stray and try to go, like, do that’s outside of, you know what I’m saying, what I fuck with ’em for.
I understand it because it turns for good business sometime, but I be like, “You know you didn’t have to really do that.” It seems like they always end up coming back to what they fans love ’em for. I just thought before I got in the game, I’m like I’m going to be a artist that stick to my, and really represent what I represent, the whole way through, well, do my best to and try to find ways within that to get the big looks and to get the singles, and to get that turns for good business.
But I never wanted to, like, alienate my brand for business. I always wanted to like keep it authentic and keep it as pure as I could.
Rule #3: Find Leverage
We livin’ in a new era where, for example, I don’t got cable TV, I watch the internet. The majority of my content comes from on-demand outlets, YouTube, Netflix. this is where I go to get my thing or the blogs. I got a cellphone that can connect me to the world like everybody else do.
And so, I think with that creating is what they call that the global underground ’cause I’m not what you call a mainstream artist. We ain’t on every mainstream outlet but it’s a global following. We can go around the world and see that.
My thing was to leverage that to create a new type of deal, you know what I mean, that’s different than the standard paper work that they going to offer you of being a hot artist that got potential to sell. My main focus was to leverage the global underground to create a unprecedented type situation.
Rule #4: Seek Respect
Interviewer: Would You ever sign an artist deal with a major?
Nah, I mean just the structure of the majors, they don’t respect talent. You know what I’m saying? They don’t respect.
Interviewer: Major labels don’t respect talent?
Nah, definitely not.
Interviewer: Explain that.
You at the bottom of the totem pole, go tap dance, go rap, go sing, and then we’ll talk to your manager or we’ll talk to the executives involved in your situation. Of course when you blow up, they jump on your dick, but it’s not respect. To me respect comes first.
When I walk in the door, I’m the executive representing the talent, I’m not the talent. I’m the executive representing the talent, so that’s a different conversation. Don’t play with me, you know what I’m saying? Don’t talk to me like the talent, it’s disrespectful to me.
Rule #5: Be Proud Of What You Do
I’m at peace with what I’m doing. I feel good about what I’m waking up doing and about my lifestyle. At one point, I wasn’t proud of my lifestyle. You know what I’m saying? I wasn’t content with what I was doing on a day-to-day basis.
I wasn’t happy with that, so it was eating at me even though I’d be on the surface cool and straight. Deep down I knew that this wasn’t the direction of what I needed to be doing.
Now I wake up with the feeling that I’m going in the direction that I’m here for, like what I’m on this planet for, I’m doing it bigger than just the LA, bigger than some gang-banging, bigger than some street. It’s just on some human sh-, I’m doing what I’m here to do. I feel like so it feel good.
Rule #6: Live Your Dream
Success to me, I say it a lot, it’s just being able to do what you got to do and support yourself off of it. Live your dream and do what you gotto do every day. So I’m successful in my eyes ’cause I don’t sell dope, I don’t go to work, but I do music, and I love to do it. That’s all I have to do is to maintain.
Rule #7: Seize Opportunities
Interviewer: How surprised are you as to the level achieved to what you faced, especially Kendrick?
I’m not surprised.
Interviewer: So you saw it back then?
Yeah. I mean I saw a group of people that wasn’t going to stop. I know that’s the formula for success. I saw a group of people that came from somewhere that you don’t really get them type of opportunities that they was looking at.
The same way I look at it. We don’t get these opportunities, Ima make this work, you know what I’m saying? So I know that feeling of like how dare you fumble, how dare you fail.
Rule #8: Don’t Listen To The #Littleman
I did everything with my process, point A to point Z. I went out and made the relationships with the producers. I took the music into my house, imported it into Pro Tools, grated the sh out, recorded myself, ran from the Pro Tools to the mic and back and forth, bounced it down, burnt it on CD, took it into the street, promoted myself, sowed to myself, went into these meetings, articulated my vision to the label, signed a deal, put my first foot forward to the street with my mixtape series.
This was all me, so if my engineer tell me, “Oh, we can’t do that,” I’ll engineer it, my nigga, so you get out the seat, let me take care of that. Or if my team say, “Oh, that’s not going to work,” if you go to Queens or Manhattan or a Brooklyn and you want to go to every high school and surround they high schools and really do grassroot promotion.
They in there, “Oh, that’s not going to connect.” Well, you don’t do it then, I’ll do it ’cause I’ve done this and I know the effect it has.
Rule #9: Keep Evolving
I think if people been following me, they been knowing that I’m getting better every time I drop, every time something come out, even if the project as a whole isn’t better than the last one, they see my progression as a artist.
They see me try to evolve my craft, and taking my craft serious, and putting like the foundation of like the culture first like lyrics, you know what I’m saying, the truth, you know what I’m saying, concepts that we grew up with.
Rule #10: Be Loyal
Loyalty means a lot and people see that when you’re on stage like them his friends having fun. In the interviews and the photo shoots, them is, like you said, people that slept on each other couches. Them is people that grinded and been through the trenches together and was freestyling for free, rapping just off the love of the art together.
So you can tell that when you see it, you know what I’m saying? It’s organic, and the industry bull usually doesn’t get in the way of success when it’s like that, when it’s family oriented. It don’t cause the natural fall-outs that happen with people when you be successful.
Thank you guys so much. I made this because Samuel Mendoza asked me to, so if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do. I’d also love to know what of Nipsey said meant the most to you, had the biggest impact on you.
Leave it in the comments and I will join in in the discussion. Finally, I want to take a quick shout out to Hector Tirado. Hector, thank you so much for buying a copy of my book.
It really deeply means a lot to me. Thank you guys so much. Continue to believe or whatever your one word is! And I’ll see you soon.
Sometime you got to take two steps back to take 10 forward. That mean I got to fall back from having my jewelry, having my everyday money, riding around the hood on leather and chrome, smoking weed all day, calling the homies up, “You got that for me? “For sure.” Going to pick up 200 here, 500 here, 1000 here, and that’s my day.
I had to let go of that luxury, go back to being a young dude that was pinching every penny, maybe had $20 a day to spend, 10 on a sack of weed, 10 to eat just so I can stay creative and work. It was hard for my ego.
Focus On The People
I’m thinking about my people, like I said, my supporters. That’s who I’m doing this for. I ain’t going to lie, I been in the mindset of trying to please the label. I’ve been there before. My “eureka” moment, you know what I’m saying, when the light bulb came on was like them is the middleman, no disrespect.
All of these outlets are middlemen to the people, you know what I’m saying? So if your process is from your creativity to the people and your strategy is that, I think you good.
Interviewer: The only real reason to with major labels is they going to put up that 300,000 to do a nation wide promotion. You cool, other than that, unless you want to gamble your own 300,000 which a lot of people don’t want to do. That’s really what it is.
I agree. I just think that it’s ways to get that money without giving up ownership. 300,000 ain’t no life-changing money in the scheme of things. You can’t buy a house in LA for 300,000, you going to be in the hood, for sure.
You going to hear a helicopter every night, you know what I mean, and it’s going to be real with 300,000. It’s about being what type of hustler you are, you know what I’m saying? How you put it all together, you know what I’m saying? If you want to be a owner but you want your records at radio, you got to find out how to do that.
If it’s put up your own money, if it’s figure out where else to get the money from, you got to figure out how to do that or you got to go on head and just take a situation that makes sense to you. Me personally, I’m selling mine to people.
I’m selling my product to people. I ain’t selling it to the formats, I ain’t selling it to the platform, I’m selling mine to the people. That’s where my is, the middleman.
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