What did the king of all things say he wanted when he started his career? Simple. ‘Cocaine and pussy’.
Now you can’t imagine that goal leading to much more than a two hit wonder rapper that made his highest radio play off of his smash ‘Booty juice’ (shout out to Fear of a Black Hat) but by some miraculous twist of fate and hard work that goal gave birth to a mogul that continues to inspire millions; a man living, breathing, and continually defining hip hop.
I use that intro to bring this idea to the table: Aren’t we all taking ourselves a lil’ too seriously? In the entertainment industry there is this strong pressure to be an artist that has ‘longevity and credibility’. Don’t get me wrong; those are amazing goals but all too often, we measure every action of an artist as to whether it will directly achieve those goals. Webster’s dictionary defines longevity as ‘a long continuance’. Credibility is defined as ‘the quality of inspiring belief’. Those definitions are subjective and therefore capable of holding different meanings depending on who you ask. Who on earth is so all knowing and and all powerful that they should be the one to define the goal or meaning for another’s life and career?
What I’ve experienced on the music end is a constant pressure to ‘ACT right and SPEAK right’. The industry people telling me this are not trying to instill better behavior in order to help make me a better person or allow me to learn some valuable life lesson. They’re telling me, in their words, to be ‘as vague and opinionless as possible, so you don’t offend the masses, so you will sell a higher number of records’. The industry provides endless hours of media training. Yes, they actually hire people to give you the ‘right’ answer. How inspiring is that? I’m sure there are exceptions and industry leaders that rebel against this format and for those of you involved with them… more power to you! I can only speak from my experience, and I’m sure this applies far beyond the depths of the music industry, as most jobs are usually selling something!
I know artists that are credible, helpful and ‘down for any cause’, that have been denied the ability to do charity work or to provide aid to a charity, based on the fact that something about them did not fit the charity’s standards of an artist who has ‘credibility and longevity’. How ridiculous is that? We can’t even help people any more unless we are living a common denominator life! Do our artists really have to be just like us, act like us, go to the same church, share our political views, or be role models to our children before we buy their music?
So what I love about the mogul’s less than politically correct or ‘wrong’ answer, is maybe we all ought to lighten up and allow our artists to be what they are and say what they really feel or think instead of giving the ‘vague and opinionless’ answer as taught to my generation of artists in order to achieve ‘credibility and longevity’ to sell more records… Maybe next time the answer should be something as simple as ‘cocaine and pussy’.
Here’s Russell’s response…
Wow…Funny. When I exposed Aubrey’s educational, philanthropic and biz initiatives, I guess I was guilty of trying to ‘clean her up.’ And now she writes a blog that threatens to clean me up :-). I guess we are even :-).
I said it…when I was her age, all I thought I wanted was ‘cocaine and pussy’…. I also told her that we as artists and producers always would say the ‘critic could get the didick!!!!’ She shouldn’t have to ‘accept judgment or worry or feel