AUDACIOUS & UNSTOPPABLE (read time 2:37) Back in the day (circa 1981), all of us in the media had our eyes and ears keenly focused on the rapidly emerging Rap scene...actually it was a movement. The crusade was desperately “culture-driven” so not everyone could relate. However, the contentious rhym’n message was clear, as it rode on the back of one of the deepest driving downbeats ever recorded (at the time). An annoying, electronic chest thumping beat so low, and so deep it would rattle the contents of the glove box in the car next to you. The music itself was unique enough, however it’s rapid growth was astounding. It was socially viral, before viral socialism was even born, and certainly before Zukerberg was born. Back then, Rap music was the only music ever to achieve astronomical sales figures with little or no airplay and absolutely zero tour support. Why do you suppose that is? How do you suppose Rap ever got so HUGE, without following the traditional marketing ploys of the day?    Here Are 2 Essential Lessons Every Artist & Entrepreneur Can Learn From Early Rappers:    1) AUDACIOUS INVENTORSEarly rappers remained unbelievably dedicated to their newfound expression, the art of rhyme. They were not going for world domination, they weren’t headed to the Staples Center or Carnegie hall, and they were not interested in the SoundScan tally at Tower Records. The commitment was to just keep writing, keep expressing, keep rhyming, keep improving, and keep inventing. Remember, they weren’t just taking R&B to a new level, or simply playing an off-street style of rock. They were inventing something totally new, that no artist before them had ever done. They were “innovating” before the word became so popular. And as a result, they not only built a following, they built a tribe. This was long before Myspace, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Seth Godin, and it was definitely before Google!     The lesson here is to stay focused on producing outrageous, impossible, extraordinary art, music, products, services, websites, networks, etc. Venture outside the accepted confines of normal behavior. Don’t just make a better APP; create one we can’t live without! Don’t just write another rock ballad, reinvent the genre! That’s what Rappers did. They invented a new sound, a new category, a new Billboard Chart...heck, they even invented a new fashion trend right under the radar of Vogue and Prada. They knew they couldn’t compete with mainstream Pop, so they didn’t even try. They were using the Blue Ocean Strategy before that methodology was ever contrived! When I was CEO of Music Connection, I kept looking for better ways to make our mag, our product, our service even better. While others on the team are figuring out how to market it, someone has to be in the production room or studio constantly improving it. There can be no pause here. You’ve got to keep working and improving your art or product. Really good is no longer acceptable. Heck, “great” only gets a quick glance. We expect extraordinary today. We expect our jaw to hit the floor and our eyebrows to hit the ceiling! We expect Audacious!2) UNSTOPPABLERappers never quit. They never gave up. Mainstream media totally reamed rap a new one in the beginning, but Rappers never quit. TV news blamed Rap as the source of violence in our cities. Rappers never quit. White folks were afraid of it. Rappers never quit. Politicians publicly condemned it. Rappers never quit. Pop musicians were threatened by it. Rappers never quit. Policemen demanded that Rappers cease and desist because they were afraid of being targeted. Rappers never quit. Parents demanded that their teenagers never listen to that devil’s music. Rappers never quit. Women’s rights organizations insisted that Rap lyrics openly degraded women. Rappers never quit. Rappers never quit. And like a slow moving ocean swell headed toward a crowded shore, Rap music kept growing and growing and growing until it garnered a tsunami of followers from coast to coast...still with little airplay and no touring. Then and only then did MTV have no choice but to start airing (soft core) Rap. Then and only then did RUN-DMC and Aerosmith create their breakthrough “Walk This Way” video  (1986). Then and only then, after it had become so clear that Rap wasn’t going away, did it become cooler to love it, then it did to resist it. The lesson: Never quit no matter what.If your company, group, start-up, band or Corp wants to continue to grow and survive in this “uncertain” economy, it may not be a bad idea to swing your “Long Tail” strategy in the direction of a proven path. Follow the tracks that the inventors of Rap laid for us over 20 years ago, and build...rather invent something extraordinary, not just a new way of doing the same thing. Grow your tribe slow, without urgency. And never, never, never quit no matter what. Enjoy this great video memory: The classic 1986 Rap/Rock face off between RUN-DMC and Aerosmith, “Walk This Way.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B_UYYPb-Gk
J Michael Dolan

AUDACIOUS & UNSTOPPABLE (read time 2:37)

Back in the day (circa 1981), all of us in the media had our eyes and ears keenly focused on the rapidly emerging Rap scene...actually it was a movement. The crusade was desperately “culture-driven” so not everyone could relate. However, the contentious rhym’n message was clear, as it rode on the back of one of the deepest driving downbeats ever recorded (at the time). An annoying, electronic chest thumping beat so low, and so deep it would rattle the contents of the glove box in the car next to you. The music itself was unique enough, however it’s rapid growth was astounding. It was socially viral, before viral socialism was even born, and certainly before Zukerberg was born. Back then, Rap music was the only music ever to achieve astronomical sales figures with little or no airplay and absolutely zero tour support. Why do you suppose that is? How do you suppose Rap ever got so HUGE, without following the traditional marketing ploys of the day?
   
Here Are 2 Essential Lessons Every Artist & Entrepreneur Can Learn From Early Rappers:
   
1) AUDACIOUS INVENTORS
Early rappers remained unbelievably dedicated to their newfound expression, the art of rhyme. They were not going for world domination, they weren’t headed to the Staples Center or Carnegie hall, and they were not interested in the SoundScan tally at Tower Records. The commitment was to just keep writing, keep expressing, keep rhyming, keep improving, and keep inventing. Remember, they weren’t just taking R&B to a new level, or simply playing an off-street style of rock. They were inventing something totally new, that no artist before them had ever done. They were “innovating” before the word became so popular. And as a result, they not only built a following, they built a tribe. This was long before Myspace, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Seth Godin, and it was definitely before Google!
   
The lesson here is to stay focused on producing outrageous, impossible, extraordinary art, music, products, services, websites, networks, etc. Venture outside the accepted confines of normal behavior. Don’t just make a better APP; create one we can’t live without! Don’t just write another rock ballad, reinvent the genre! That’s what Rappers did. They invented a new sound, a new category, a new Billboard Chart...heck, they even invented a new fashion trend right under the radar of Vogue and Prada. They knew they couldn’t compete with mainstream Pop, so they didn’t even try. They were using the Blue Ocean Strategy before that methodology was ever contrived!

When I was CEO of Music Connection, I kept looking for better ways to make our mag, our product, our service even better. While others on the team are figuring out how to market it, someone has to be in the production room or studio constantly improving it. There can be no pause here. You’ve got to keep working and improving your art or product. Really good is no longer acceptable. Heck, “great” only gets a quick glance. We expect extraordinary today. We expect our jaw to hit the floor and our eyebrows to hit the ceiling! We expect Audacious!

2) UNSTOPPABLE
Rappers never quit. They never gave up. Mainstream media totally reamed rap a new one in the beginning, but Rappers never quit. TV news blamed Rap as the source of violence in our cities. Rappers never quit. White folks were afraid of it. Rappers never quit. Politicians publicly condemned it. Rappers never quit. Pop musicians were threatened by it. Rappers never quit. Policemen demanded that Rappers cease and desist because they were afraid of being targeted. Rappers never quit. Parents demanded that their teenagers never listen to that devil’s music. Rappers never quit. Women’s rights organizations insisted that Rap lyrics openly degraded women. Rappers never quit. Rappers never quit. And like a slow moving ocean swell headed toward a crowded shore, Rap music kept growing and growing and growing until it garnered a tsunami of followers from coast to coast...still with little airplay and no touring. Then and only then did MTV have no choice but to start airing (soft core) Rap. Then and only then did RUN-DMC and Aerosmith create their breakthrough “Walk This Way” video  (1986). Then and only then, after it had become so clear that Rap wasn’t going away, did it become cooler to love it, then it did to resist it. The lesson: Never quit no matter what.

If your company, group, start-up, band or Corp wants to continue to grow and survive in this “uncertain” economy, it may not be a bad idea to swing your “Long Tail” strategy in the direction of a proven path. Follow the tracks that the inventors of Rap laid for us over 20 years ago, and build...rather invent something extraordinary, not just a new way of doing the same thing. Grow your tribe slow, without urgency. And never, never, never quit no matter what.

Enjoy this great video memory: The classic 1986 Rap/Rock face off between RUN-DMC and Aerosmith, “Walk This Way.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B_UYYPb-Gk

COMMENTS


Posted By joe
never quit
that was all i needed for this blog michael, thank you.. I've always said the same even in some song lyrics: NEVER QUIT, NEVER GIVE UP :-)


Posted By Vamplified
CREDITS
Oh and I need to give Al Koehn, Tampa Bay area vocal coach, some credit for the little rap rhyme (below), as he was part of this collaboration as well:)


Posted By Vamplified
SPIRIT RAPS
The beginning of Modern Spiritualism started with The Fox Sisters who communicated with a murdered peddler they called "Mr. Splitfoot". The ghost would rap out letters from the alphabet to create words to communicate. As a spirit medium, I once channeled Frank Zappa’s quirky, humorous sarcasm and this is what was written ... (set to a psychedelic rap beat… the capital worlds rhyme and are punctuated in the rhythm). "I like RAP... not rock n ROLL... All those notes and chords and CRAP... got to GO... Cause it mess with the GROOVE and it mess with the SOUL... and it gets in the way of the music." p.s. I thought the Aerosmith/DMC emergence was sheer genius!


Posted By randy
Two words
Never quit.


Posted By FreddieBrown
To rap or not to rap
Grow your tribe slow, without urgency. And never, never, never quit no matter what. I'm growing my tribe, with a bit of urgency and quitting is not on the agenda thanks to the constant reminders of Mr. Dolan. Thanks Michael !!


Posted By Rachel
Rappin it Up
Hi Michael! Great read! Thank you! I personally think Rap spread, because it came with authority, but also ,it was really the emotion of the day. Rage..anger, frustration, force. Maybe now, like Jack Layton said, "Love is better than anger" Thanks Michael! Rachel


Posted By Joseph
Not dime a dozen Rap...
Before popular perceptions and the forms we are aware of, Rap was born from the cultural womb of blues and roots jazz in the inner city. It was extremely strict in it's cultural identity and it took innovators within the rap scene, willing to break the gangster mold, and launch Rap as an art form. Most of those pioneers were seen as sell outs to whitey - or rap light. It took real courage to break away from that Rap culture to innovate. It artists to be able to communicate on different levels within the rap genre. This coming from a Christian/Latino/Rocker growing up in the barrio and ghettos of Azusa, West Covina, Morgan Hill and San Jose California. One outlet for my musical expression was the B.S.U. talent show in the schools I attended in those areas.


Posted By Buzz Lightyear
turned to Sh**
Funny, I liked rap in the early days, but it slowly turned to sh*t. I guess that doesn't really fit the premise of this article, but it still needed to be said.


Posted By Rykashay
Got Sumtalkbout?
I agree completely I am a female artist under independent label in Nc and we just opened independent music store in Greensboro mall named STB RECORDS for independent artist worldwide! This is the first of this kind where we offer instore recordings as well and promote and distribute album sales one on one!!! Giving up is not an option only doing what they afraid to is the key!!!


Posted By Rykashay
Got Sumtalkbout?
I agree completely I am a female artist under independent label in Nc and we just opened independent music store in Greensboro mall named STB RECORDS for independent artist worldwide! This is the first of this kind where we offer instore recordings as well and promote and distribute album sales one on one!!! Giving up is not an option only doing what they afraid to is the key!!!


Posted By Tony
Unstoppable
Don't forget PUNK ROCK. Its formal style and ascension followed the same time frame as rap, but without the benefit of mass public acceptance. It continued to develop and influence countless styles of music, including Rap, without getting any credit. Green Day and Blink 182 may be the mainstream's idea of "punk", but the real thing is still going; under the radar. Never surrender.


Posted By TShaka Mayanja
Audacious Jazz!
I agree as well, you gats to be fearless. As for Jazz, as someone has highlighted above, an audacious move is needed. Smooth is alright, covers too, if they'll rope in more folks to love the music. But rightly so, we have to push it even further.


Posted By Kenn
this great blog!
Perfect! Couldn't say it better myself - so I'll just repost on Facebook and send it to everyone I know. Thank you for this! K. Rowell NYC


Posted By Joani Taylor
audacious
I loved this post!!!! I only wish that the Jazz community would come together and re invent our music from playing the music of the past or re vamped r&b with longer solos and calling it smooth. This is a great lesson to pass on to my students and for myself. Thank you for this perspective.


Posted By Sarah
learning from Rap
Okay, I confess I WAS one of those who couldn't stand early rap and YES, it has grown on me. More importantly,it survived because of persistance AND it resonated with so many, it demanded to be heard. It IS encouraging that Rap refused to die, refused to stop, and I "get" that I have to get behind or in front of it to consistently pursue my own unique voice. Which means I have to "rap" on, with my writing, which is my particular craft. Resistance is no reason to quit!!! Thank you, J. Michael. Sarah

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• A FLEETING GLIMPSE (Read time 0:47)

2012 Posts:
• 7-Ways To Make 2013 Better
• MIRACLE ON 34th (Read time 1:13)
• FAIL-SAFE
• FOLLOW THE LEADERS (Read time 0:39)
• ABSENCE OF FORMULA (Read time 0:51)
• Beginners Mind (Read time 0:43)
• 35 DAYS (Read time 0:47)
• THANKS!
• INDUSTRY MELT DOWN (READ TIME 1:37)
• Your Tired Strategy (Read time 0:27)
• FADE TO BLACK (Read time 1:27)
• DEEPER TRUTH (Read time 0:47)
• Blow Away Distraction 2012
• Unseen Unsold (Read Time 0:49)
• FILIBUSTER (Read time 0:30)
• Got Something To Prove? (Read time 0:37)
• R U OUT OF YOUR MIND? (read time 1:13)
• NO BIG SPLASH (Read time 0:27)
• Modus Operandi (Read time 0:49)
• DETACH (read time (0:31)
• PLAY BIGGER (Read time 0:17)
• DON’T GIVE UP (Read time :037)
• ALL TOGETHER NOW (Read time 1:03)
• R U READY? (Read time 0:47)
• EVERY SINGLE DAY (Read time 0:51)
• The New Marketing Dept. (Read time 0:23)
• O Captain! My Captain! (Read time 0:57)
• THE WORKHORSE AND THE FILLY (Read time 0:21)
• KEEP YOUR BOOTS MUDDY (Read time 0:37)
• When UR Best Effort Fails (Read time 0:29)
• STEEP CLIMB (Read time 0:27)
• SILENCE OF CHAMPIONS (Read time 1:13)
• WHY IT’S NOT WORKING (Read time 0:31)
• THE BUCK STOPS HERE (Read time 0:51)
• WE ALREADY TRIED THAT (Read Time 0:29)
• CHOOSE ONE (Read time 1:09)
• COMMIT NO PETTINESS
• LEGWORK (Read time 0:15)
• ARTISTS vs. ENTREPRENEURS (Read time 1:03)
• 5-YEAR SURPRISE! (Read time 0:43)
• MID-YEAR TO DO LIST (Read time 0:53)
• ALL IN (Read time 0:33)
• WHAT IF NOTHING CHANGES? (Read time 0:21)
• WADDA JACKASS! (Read time 1:07)
• WHAT ARE U SO AFRAID OF? (Read time 0:57)
• DON’T THINK! (Read time :31)
• Why incumbents rarely invent the future (Read time 1:13)
• THE BOX (Read time 0:33)
• STAND UP IN THE BOAT! (Read time 0:27)
• YOU’RE DREAM’N! (Read time 0:57)
• KNOWING (Read time 0:33)
• CONCEALED CONCERNS (Read time 0:47)
• TAMING THE $$$ BEAST (Read time 1:17)
• FAKING IT (Read time 0:17)
• STAYING POWER (Read time 0:47)
• 0:20 SECONDS OF INSANE COURAGE (Read time 0:51)
• GRASS (Read time 0:41)
• WITH BLOODY FINGERS I WRITE ON (read time 0:27)
• I'LL DO ANYTHING BUT THAT! (Read time 0:47)
• ASS ON THE LINE (Read time 1:37)
• MARKETING BLUES (Read time 0:47)
• THE LONG RUN (Read time 0:39)
• CREATIVITY TO THE RESCUE (Read time 2:07)
• THE RACER'S EDGE (Read time 0:41)
• NO WAY NO HOW! (Read time 0:27)
• THE SMART MONEY (Read time 0:25)
• YOU’RE CRAZY! (Read time 1:19)
• DANCING WITH YOUR DEVOTEES (Read time 0:39)
• LIBERTY!
• NO DOUBT (Read time 1:17)
• WHAT EVER YOU DO, DON'T TURN AROUND (read time :39)

2011 Posts:
• GRAND FINALE!
• 2-DOZEN WAYS TO MAKE 2012 BETTER!
• DEAR PRUDENCE (read time :43)
• COMPLAIN ALL YOU WANT! (read time :23)
• IMAGINE (read time :57)
• WEEKENDS (read time :33)
• PIXAR LETTER (read time 1:03)
• RESISTANCE CAN KILL (read time 1:37)
• AMATEURS vs. PROS (read time :57)
• REQUIEM FOR A HONEYMOON (read time 1:09)
• CAN YOU FEEL IT? (read time 1:47)
• BRANCUSI'S VICTORY CRY  (read time :57)
• SAIL AWAY (read time :43)
• ARTISTS RULE! (read time 1:23)
• USE IT OR LOSE IT (read time :53)
• START HERE (read time 1:27)
• UNCERTAINTY (read time 1:19)
• STOPPED BY CALAMITY (read time 1:37)
• ART (read time :57)
• AUDACIOUS & UNSTOPPABLE (read time 2:37)
• WRITERS BLOCK (read time 1:47)
• BLOW AWAY DISTRACTIONS (read time :31)
• WAY OF THE CREATIVE WARRIOR (read time :27)
• GOOD BYE LADY LUCK (read time 1:53)
• CONFIDENCE IS EVERYTHING (read time 1:23)
• DEADLINE OR DIE! (read time 1:53)
• THE WIZARDS CLOCK (Read time :47)
• CREATIVE PRIVACY (read time :43)
• THE KOBE IN ME (read time 1:13)
• READY, SET, GO! (read time :47)
• EVE OF DISTRACTION (read time 1:29)
• KEEP YOUR FEET UP! (read time 1:09)
• JUST ONE MORE FOOT (read time 1:57)
• MY MUSE DOESN'T CARE (read time :39)
• MISUNDERSTOOD (read time 1:19)
• DUMP IT! (read time 1:19)
• IS IT WORTH IT? (read time :49)
• THE 24 HOUR RULE (read time 2:21)
• MONK ON THE MOUNTIAN (read time: a lifetime)
• “IT” (read time 1:37)
• BORN TO SHOW (read time 3:37)
• THE STING OF REJECTION (read time 1:13)
• LESSON FROM A ROCK STAR (Read time 0:27)
• THUMB POWER (read time 1:59)
• EXPOSING THE WIZARD (read time (1:13)
• HEY, WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA? (read time 1:37)
• THE WAITING WARRIOR (Read time 0:41)
• PLAY AT YOUR OWN RISK (read time :57 sec)
• AUTONOMY HIGHWAY (read time :35 sec)
• LIMPIDITY (read time :45 sec)
• WHY I MEDITATE (read time 1:00 min)
• YOUR SHADOW AGENDA (Read time 0:59)
• WHY I SOLD MY BUSINESS (read time 6:33)
• BARENAKED PROBITY (read time 1:47 min)
• THE FANTASIES OF POSSIBILITY (read time 4:17 min)
• THE TUG OF WAR (read time 5:09 min)