My family lives, eats & breathes hip hop because my husband Rhymefest is a Grammy-award winning hip-hop artist & writer. If Jay Harris, who recently turned down his full scholarship to Michigan State to pursue a rap career were my son, we’d have to have a “heart to art.”
Most young men who want to be either athletes or rappers, want to do so for two reasons. The first reason is they want to feel validated and they believe fame brings that validation and recognition. The second is they want to make a lot of money. The first question I would ask my son is “why do you want to be a rapper?” and if it were for validation or money we’d examine some alternatives to getting validated or earning money, where he was more in control of the outcome.
Gone are the days of million dollar advances, which are really loans that have to be paid back. You can only get a record today if you are already famous. In my husband’s case, he started rapping in 3rd grade and literally worked from then until 2006 as a battle rapper, making a name for himself long before he ever met with a record executive. He started rapping because he loved how it allowed him to express himself and he loved language, not because he saw it as a way to escape poverty.
To be an artist doesn’t mean that you can’t do something else. David “Cap D” Kelly is lawyer by day as the Vice President & General Counsel of the Golden State Warriors, and hip-hop artist by night with a massive following. Most artists even those who reach platinum status delve into other industries including fashion, business and technology simply because the music industry is not as profitable as it used to be. I would nudge my son toward the business side of music whether it was entertainment law, marketing & promotions or even the technical side of engineering.
I would make a deal with him where I would buy him equipment or studio time after successfully completing each semester of school. That way, we both get what we want. Would you bribe your child to get a college degree?