By Prince Myolisi Masuku / Word on the Street / 22nd March 2017
So you wanna be a star huh? Well guess what a star is an erupting ball of gas that exudes light that can be seen from millions of kilometres away, and I kinda understand why you wanna be that. You want to be a constant twinkle that everyone finds comfort in its presence – knowing that even if it may be dark outside there is still beauty in the dark. Well to be that star you must first have to appear like a star from the very sight of you and how you conduct yourself. The rising of the sun commands attention by its first appearance and no one can doubt its star power. It is said everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing and you surely don’t want to be unseen by the masses.
The essence of getting your name out there is to appear larger than life itself and shine more brightly than those around you, which is an ocean of other upcoming artists hungry for the same spotlight. Draw attention to yourself by creating an unforgettable even controversial image. Take a look at Cassper Nyovest the n*gga came out slinging a ponytail that puts to shame the ponytails in Chinese 80s movies tell me who could ever forget the n*gga; you were interested in who he was when he had cameos.
Nicki Minaj had on the craziest coloured weaves, easily the bustiest bod the rap scene has ever seen and to top it all off one the most animated characters in music now how could you forget that that is Barbie bitch! Better to be slandered and attacked than ignored.
Once people’s eyes are on you, you have a special legitimacy; creating interest means creating a crowd and every crowd has a silver lining. Crowds tend to act in conjunction; if one person stops to see what’s going on then more will do the same. Take streams, views and shows (SVS)[your ultimate target]: the more people that actually stream, view and attend shows it calls on others to do the same so that’s how you get people climbing to a billion numbers but with only mediocre stardom, Logic should come to mind. To create a crowd you have to do something different and odd, any kind of curiosity will serve the purpose, for crowds are magnetically attracted by the unusual and inexplicable and once you have their attention never let it go. At the beginning of your rise to the top spend all your energy on attracting attention.
Most important: The quality of the attention is irrelevant, no matter how badly you are reviewed or how slanderously they attack you never complain. That’s the stride that Blaqverse took when his own provincial Hip Hop site TheBlacksmithed wrote a horrendous article about him, instead he helped distribute the article which got him more attention than just spamming a link of a song and raised his profile to more than just another rapper but now he had a background story that people can remember him by. Attention, whether positive or negative, is the main ingredient for success. The worst fate in the world for a person who seeks fame and glory is to be ignored.
Burning more brightly than those around you is a skill that no one is born with; you have to learn to attract attention. At the start of your career you must attach your name and reputation to a quality – an image which sets you apart from other people. This image can be something like a characteristic style of dress or a personality quirk that amuses people and gets talked about (OKMalumKoolKat!)
Once the image is established you have an appearance, a place in the sky for your star. It is a common practice that that this peculiar appearance of yours should not be controversial, that to be attacked is somehow bad. Nothing can be further from the truth, to avoid being a flash in the pan and having your notoriety eclipsed by another, you must not discriminate between different types of attention; in the end every kind will work in your favour.
Once in the limelight you must constantly renew your image by adapting and varying your method of courting attention; if you don’t the public will grow tired, will take you for granted and will move on to the next star. The game requires constant vigilance and creativity. Pablo Picasso (Blame Jigga) never allowed himself to fade into the background, if his name became too attached to a particular style he would deliberately upset the public with a new series of paintings that went against all expectations. Better to create something ugly and disturbing, he believed, than to let viewers grow too familiar with his work; remember when Kanye told C Tha God that ‘Bound 2’ is “white trash” music? Also Tune doing that rock album, who even remembers what’s it called? Understand: People feel superior to the person whose actions they can predict. If you show them who is in control by playing against their expectations, you both gain their respect and tighten your hold on their fleeting attention.
Trick: If you find yourself in a lowly position that offers little opportunity for you to draw attention, an effective trick is to attack the most visible, most famous, most powerful person you can find. Remember, however, to use such tactics sparingly after you have the public’s attention, when the act can wear thin. Now doesn’t that remind you of ‘ShEther’?
Never make it too clear what you are doing or about to do, do not show all your cards, an air of mystery heightens your presence and also creates anticipation. Everyone will be watching you to see what happens next; use mystery to beguile, seduce and even frighten. That is why ‘More Life’ is probably the most anticipated project of 2017, when Drake announced it he specifically said it’s not an album or tape but a playlist now everybody tryna figure out WTF is a playlist in the sense of a project release and that keeps all eyez on him. People are enthralled by mystery; because it invites constant interpretations and they never tire of it. The mysterious cannot be grasped and what cannot be seized and consumed creates leverage.
The world has become so familiar and its inhabitants so predictable that what wraps itself in mystery will almost always draw the limelight to it and make us watch it. Do not imagine that to create an air of mystery you have to be grand and awe-inspiring. Mystery that is woven into your day-to-day demeanor and is subtle has that much more power to fascinate and attract attention. Remember: Most people are upfront, can be read like an open book, take little care to control their words and image and are hopelessly predictable. By simply holding back, keeping silent, occasionally uttering ambiguous phrases, deliberately appearing inconsistent and acting odd in the subtlest of ways you will emanate an aura of mystery. The people around you will then magnify that aura by constantly trying to interpret you. An air of mystery about an artist makes his or her artwork immediately more intriguing; cue TDE’s John Doe’s. It is all very easy to do/say little about your work, tease and titillate with alluring even contradictory comments then stand back and let others try to make sense of it all.
If your social position prevents you from completely wrapping your actions in mystery, you must at least learn to make yourself less obvious. Every now and then act in a way that does not mesh with other people’s perception of you, this way you keep those around you on the defensive. Do something that cannot be easily explained or interpreted; choose a simple action but carry it out in a way that unsettles, a way with many possible interpretations making your intentions obscure. Don’t just be unpredictable; create a scene that cannot be read, there will seem to be no method to your madness, no rhyme or reason, no single explanation.
In the beginning of your rise to the top, you must attract attention at all cost, but as you rise higher you must constantly adapt. Never wear the public out with the same tactic. An air of mystery works wonders for those who need to get themselves noticed but it must seem measured and under control. Do not let your air of mystery be slowly transformed into a reputation for deceit. The mystery you must create must seem a game, playful and unthreatening; recognize when it goes too far and pull back. There is an art to knowing when to draw notice and when to withdraw.
Never appear overly greedy for attention for it signals insecurity. There are times when the need for attention must be deferred and when scandal and notoriety is the last thing you want to create. The attention you create must never offend or challenge the reputation of those above you, you will seem desperate by comparison; e.g.: Meek Mill: “He doesn’t write his own raps… that why he ain’t tweet my album”, y’all know what happened thereafter.
Understand: That there are times when it is not in your best interest to be the center of attention.
To be that shining diamond in the sky you gotta take these steps in stride and get your name out there it ain’t that hard I got faith in you. Stay tuned for the next episode. Upcomer get your vise on, peace out!
Yours in service
Disclaimer: The content of this series is heavily lifted off the infamous 48 Laws of Power. As someone who has read the book from cover to cover over a period of 3 years I have learnt lessons from it that can be applied to upcoming artists regardless of genre but I lean towards Hip Hop because I’m a lover of the genre. Most of the content is taken directly out of the book but I select the useful parts for the up comer and put it in perspective for you in the current rap arena. So I urge you to get the book. S/O to Robert Greene.