Why hip hop? When I was five, six and seven years old, my dad – single at the time after my mom passed – was a high school basketball coach in Rochester, Michigan, and I basically lived in the gym with him. I was a tiny gym rat, desperately trying to heave the ball into the 10-foot hoop at Rochester Adams.
Those were the days, man. Hours and hours of basketball practices. The players were like superstar older brothers to me. Everything they did, I thought was cool.
Around this time, Run-DMC released an album called Raising Hell. The next summer, my dad, soon-to-be step mom (now my mom of 28+ years) and I took a road trip to Philly to visit my uncle, aunt and cousins. My cousin Pat, “dubbed a tape” – now not even a phrase that makes sense – of the Raising Hell album for me. I played it in my Sony Walkman for hours, days, weeks, months straight until the tape itself actually ripped and broke.
I was freaking hooked on hip hop from there. Run-DMC was just the start. DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, LL Cool J and Beastie Boys, and eventually Rakim, NWA, Dr. Drew, 2Pac, Snoop, Biggie, Nas, Big L and into today with Russ, Big Sean and Logic.
I saved all my money in high school to buy turntables, a mixer and speakers and an amp and made money dj’ing parties through college, carrying around crates of records.
Spending hours and hours in vinyl record stores putting records onto the turntable, listening and finding hooks that audiences would love to dance to, beats I could loop and verses I could mix together – that practice allowed me to perform at a level that others couldn’t. I was paid to play music three nights a weekend due to that digging that happened before and after the show.
That’s data to me now.
Anyone can build a website. Wix, Squarespace, WordPress Themes, GoDaddy Website Builder tools, Web.com, the list goes on and on.
High school kids can build professional websites for you instead of dj’ing your parties. 🙂
But the ability to dig through the data is the differentiator. The ability to apply it both pre and post website and campaign launch is the most important thing.
While a lot of athletes and hip hop artists have had to focus and hone their craft for years – often times while telling their stories of struggle and adversity along the way – to achieve success, they’ve also had chips on their shoulders due to those doubting them during various parts of their journey.