How much do you really believe in yourself?
You have to have such a strong belief in yourself that you can quiet out the noise — Shawn “Jay Z” Carter
My professional journey in Marketing began in October 2002 via an internship with Disturbing Tha Peace Records/Def Jam South. As child born 20 years prior in North Philadelphia, the first genre of music I was introduced to was hip-hop and I immediately fell in love the sound.
Though the sound of hip-hop music was always blasting through the speakers of hatchback Toyota Corolla’s with low profile rims and driver seats in the invisible man position. I was more drawn to the lifestyle that I was witnessing around it. Girls wearing big bangle earrings, guys wearing bagging jeans, the various dances that went along with various songs, weird haircuts and hairstyles that guys and girls were sporting. I learned at an early age that hip-hop was more than a sound, it was a look and feel.
I immediately knew at 5 years old (1987) that I wanted to be apart of it as a rapper (rehearsing RUN-DMC “Sucker MC’s”) or a DJ imitating Jam Master Jay by scratching all of the vinyl in my grandmothers house until I got punished severely….lol. But in 1987 information wasn’t as accessible as it is in 2017. So I just kept listening and paying attention.
Fast-Forward to 1998–1999 and my life changed through 2 mediums of content. First was the MTV Diary of Ja Rule while he was on the Hard Knock Life Tour. The second was Backstage: Hard Knock Life Tour movie which introduced me to what a hip-hop tour looks like behind the scenes and key fixtures in the music business names and titles. That’s all I needed to see and never looked back.
I always believed I would work for Def Jam being some big time marketing executive reporting directly to Julie Greenwald, Kevin Liles and Lyor Cohen. I eventually worked for the Def Jam system as a member of the street promotions team. Even during my time on street promotions I always blurted out ideas and how I thought things should go and artist and brands should operate together in the entertainment space.
Never giving up in what you believe in is the true key to success. Not what you think is popular but what you think consistently penetrates into the fabric of culture. Those nuances never change. Trends change, technology advances, companies open and close but the emotional connect between people and culture never changes.
Maybe you will be the only person that sees it so you have to work 100,000,000 times harder to bring your vision to life.
Everything I believed in because of hip-hop has come to life. So because of that I will never give up. I’m just getting started and loving the new journey.