Kevin Hart put it best, “Everybody want to be famous. Nobody want to put the work in.”
As someone who has been stumbling my way through the entertainment industry for the last five years, I have come to find out how true this statement is. I meet people every day who claim to be models, actors, writers, artists, producers, designers, etc., but who fail to pursue any opportunities that aren’t convenient or financially profitable to them in the short term.
Anyone that takes this approach is destined for a quick failure in an industry in which people notoriously work for free (or little more than that) for years before truly getting “on.”
How does the old adage go? “If it were easy, everyone would do it…”
It is precisely with this spirit, that I have truly enjoyed watching popular Atlanta-based artist, 2 Chainz (formerly known as “Tity Boi” from Playaz Circle), rise to the top. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t long after I moved to Atlanta, and started my own journey in the entertainment industry, that I found myself accompanying a friend, who was doing work with Playaz Circle, to multiple venues in Atlanta for performances.
Some of these venues were NOT what I would call “poppin.”
Still, Playaz Circle went hard—even though there were only 40 people in the desolate strip club and 33 of them were dancers.
I am not clowning. This is a fact.
Not long after that, 2 Chainz decided to leave Disturbing the Peace, believing that he could do bigger things than what he was doing with Ludacris’ label.
Some people thought he was a fool. After all, we know this move has not turned out well for other artists.
About a year later, he changed his name from “Tity Boi” to 2 Chainz, and released a mixtape T.R.U.REALigion—which would ultimately be the mixtape that changed his life. He was 35 years old.
Now, only a year later, 2 Chainz is one of the most popular hip hop artists in the game—the undisputed “feature” king of the moment. He took home “Rookie of the Year” and “The People’s Champ Award” at 2012′s BET Hip Hop Awards.
Of course, people love to see a dude that’s on top. But I think the biggest lesson that we can glean from 2 Chainz is perseverance and hard work—even when encountering setbacks and being belittled in an industry that belittles like no other.
So to all of you aspiring artists, producers, engineers, songwriters…or whatever…I encourage you to respect the process, go hard even when you are the most frustrated, and learn along the way.
Prove you want it. This industry ain’t for the faint of heart.