Dear Montreal rappers, Let’s talk for a second. The Canadian urban scene debuted in the 1980s and we have yet to have one really successful act to come out of Montreal. We spend all of our time talking about how we’re Real City but has anything real ever come out of the city? Hate on Kardi and Drake all you want but they did what they had to do, escaped their boroughs and made a splash on the international scene.
Montreal is blessed with linguistic and cultural diversity but we spend so much time focusing on what we want to be and how much better we are than everyone else that we haven’t done anything at all! This is ridiculous…
Let me run down my Top 3 reasons why Montreal is still stuck in its own little bubble.
Reason #1: The lack of talent Ok so you can rhyme the word “I” with “eye”. It doesn't make you a rapper! Rapping isn’t only about what you say, it’s about the thought you’ve put behind the writing and the delivery. Oh! And having a flow that doesn’t sound copy/pasted from your idols helps too. By the way, all of you people supporting talent less artists are’t helping. If you were really a friend to the artist, you would tell them it’s time to quit and do something they’re really good at. Stop being “yes” men!
Reason #2: The lack of business skills and industry knowledge Now you don’t have to have graduated from TREBAS or l’Ekuele du Show-Business or any similar educational institution. Read a book, attend a few conferences, and consult websites. And if you’re not going to be bothered doing any of this yourself, at least pay attention to the people who have (especially when they’re giving out the advice for free). Reality check: If you really knew how to do everything yourself and you really could do it, you would be somewhere now wouldn’t you?
Reason #3: “Feeling yourself” too much So you have a lot of friends, 500 people in your Facebook fan group, a few spins on CKUT and K103… You’re a star now aren’t you? UHHHH WRONG!! You’re still just another Montreal artist. You’ve been doing this for 3, 4, 10, 15 years now and you’re still where you started, this isn’t your industry. Sorry – tough love! You might have had the talent to do it somewhere along the way. Opportunity probably knocked but you were too busy feeling yourself to realize it was time to open the door. In the end, maybe the only one really feeling you is you…
On a side note, I’m very aware of the lack of budget also linked to your struggle but that’s why you associate with someone who knows how to get money and investors to make your project work. Also, your managers are not your personal ATM machines. They can help but they will fund you entirely.
Look, you can’t do everything yourself. Get a team. And when I say team, you can’t call your manager your team because he or she is your booking agent, producer, publicist, graphic designer, image consultant, lawyer, etc… One person wears one hat. That’s how you build a TEAM. You also need trust and believe in who you’re working with. Just because they’re new to the industry (or so you may think), doesn’t mean they can’t help your project along or at least get it into the right hands.
Don’t get me wrong, a lucrative career in the entertainment industry takes time, money and hard work. If you’re not willing to put it at least a little bit from each of these three key elements, you’re in the wrong field.
Represent what you are and not what you wish you could be…
(Posted February 17th 2010)