My son, I am so happy about your achievements as a notable music producer in the country. You deserve every accolade bestowed on you. I watched your CNN interview as you talked about creating a unique sound that represents our culture. I am so proud of you. Who wouldn’t be?
I remember you as the little boy running around, happy with your toys. I saw that spark die with the passing of your dad – my good friend – and only music brought you any sense of joy. I know it’s not easy growing up without a father, and I am happy you listened to me on the need to study music as a business. Many understand the art but not the business side and it costs them in the long run. I got your message about my advice to overcome your struggles and the temptations of stardom – you see the life some celebs live and it bothers you. Many successful people forget one thing: you are successful because of a gift/skill, but other areas of your life still need to be honed.
Being a star means getting paid for a craft you do exceptionally well. Most people don’t know the person behind the skill. They don’t know what makes you tick, all they know is that producer who makes ‘sick’ beat. They don’t know your core, and that is what you must always protect.
In business and music, making assumptions will cost you big time. Never think you are friends with anyone simply because you work in the same industry. Never assume your celebrity ‘friends’ have the same values. There are vultures, there are allies, there are ticks. Some are transactional relationships. Mike Tyson knows a lot about these people.
I want to share a story about one of the greatest athletes of all time. He was a boxer in the ’60s who moved like a butterfly but stung his opponents like a bee. He refused to accept a decision by the government and he was stripped of his heavyweight title. He did so because of his beliefs and, with the backing of some of his compatriots, this led to a turning point in sports as it has shaped athletes’ conduct to date.
A lot of artists are not aware that, with fame, they automatically become role models. You didn’t ask for it, but it is what it is. Many people will live by what you say, so be careful how you conduct yourself.
As you rise, there would be subtle temptations you didn’t know existed. That’s why you need your core community. The individuals who are rising and keeping you accountable – friends, family, and mentors. Certain temptations won’t come to you based on your level in the industry, but as you ascend, they will call for you.
The world is currently going through a lot of turmoil, and it takes men of courage to rise to the occasion. You are not just making music; you are shaping culture and generations. Music is the food of the soul, so remember to serve them what is healthy.
Don’t just think about today, but think long term. Think about the impact when your music is played for your grandkids. The lies are always easier to handle but the truth is going to force you to check yourself.
I want you to remember these points as you forge ahead in life.
- You will make mistakes but don’t stay there, learn from them and move on.
- Stay true to yourself.
- Stay hungry and humble.
- Be focused on your mission.
- Stand firm behind your values even if it costs you.
A renowned psychologist once said, “In any given moment, we have two options: to step forward into growth or back into safety.”
So I ask you, my boy. Why do you make music? Ponder on that until we meet at Christmas. Always stand tall, stand firm, stand boldly in what you believe.