3 Reasons To Have A Mixtape Mentality

mixtape (n.)
It is now a word to generally describe full length albums released for free, sometimes all original music, other times composed of freestyles and remixes of popular tracks.

I am an intense and dedicated lover of music (greatest of the arts, don’tcha know). It is nigh-impossible for me to design or write without music playing in my headphones or pumping through the speakers. The artists that fuel my creativity have varying levels of stardom, achieved in many different ways.

For example, one of my favorite hip-hop artists — Big K.R.I.T.— released 9 mixtapes (over the course of 7 years) before his debut studio album.

He is just one example of someone who was hard at work, before most even knew of him or the greatness that resided in his music. Now, those mixtapes (better known as free albums because of their quality) are his body of work — his musical portfolio.

However, without the drive to work and the bravery to release that work, that portfolio would not exist. The record deal was not there at the start, but he didn’t wait for the deal. He crafted and released mixtapes, releasing his vision out into the world. With each mixtape, his fan base grew.

I’m a fan of his drive and have been working on cultivating that drive within myself. Cultivating that bravery. Cultivating that Mixtape Mentality!

Here are 3 reasons why I think having a “Mixtape Mentality” is a great thing.

Getting Out Your Dreams

Think of every self-initiated project as a “mixtape”. Each one is an idea that you have given power. Each one is an idea you have given life.

Each of those projects is an opportunity to make what has never been, showcasing your unique take on something or your imaginative dream. Get your ideas out into the world. Show everyone your vision, independent of any requirement from the outside world.

Build your portfolio regardless of where you currently are because…

You learn.

Take any and all opportunities to refine your craft and experiment with new ways of doing things.

You only get better by doing.

Create, even when no one is looking. ESPECIALLY when no one is looking. Take that time to perfect your craft and message. #MixtapeMentality
— Robert Bratcher (@creativebobbie)

You gain more insight on your process, where to improve, and where you want to go. Through creating, you learn how to better create. Your portfolio (that you will eventually need to prune as it grows) becomes a journey to enjoy, look back on, and continue with a new confidence and refined skillset.

And with that confidence and skillset you will learn that…

Self-Initiated Projects Can Get You Jobs/Deals.

Many artists use mixtapes to get their name out there and/or to create buzz in-between full studio projects. Mixtapes (or free albums) aren’t made to make money. But the interest they create, the attention they garner can result in a record deal or an established, dedicated fan base ready to support a full studio release.

If you don’t have clients knocking down your door to create for them, that doesn’t mean you can’t create something on your own. Make your own opportunities to showcase your talents!

You don’t need permission to create.

You can tell someone how great you are at anything until you are blue in the face. But there is nothing like having a body of work to point to — a portfolio with stories to tell and skills to showcase. That body of work will attract those that it was meant to attract.

However, none of this will occur, if you don’t sit down and start.


P.S. For examples of self-initiated projects of mine, check out the following:
100 Days of Fictional Places
Bobbie Listens
Instabobbie Records (starring friends of mine)

Original version published at creativebobbie.com.