I’ve been devouring this new jeen-yuhs documentary about Kanye West’s rise to superstardom.
If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it.
Kanye struggled like a mf before he became a household name.
Back then, he was only known as a producer. And back then, producers didn’t rap.
Despite this, Kanye tried convincing Rocafella Records to sign him and produce his first album for an entire year. And when he finally broke through the stereotype that “producers didn’t rap,” he thought he made it.
But that wasn’t the case…
In fact, he spent another year signed as a Rocafella Records artist without getting a marketing budget or studio time to produce his album. He had to sneak into other artists' studio sessions, like Jay-Z, Ludacris, and Jamie Foxx, to record more of his debut album.
But Kanye was on a mf mission.
He wouldn’t let the stereotype stop his rapping career. He wouldn’t let his lack of marketing budget stop him from promoting himself. And he wouldn’t let his lack of studio time stop him from recording his album.
Buncha lessons in here already.
After Rocafella signed him and before releasing his debut album, Kanye sat in a studio session with Jay-Z.
If’n you’re not familiar with rap music, Jay-Z is the holy grail of rappers. Think The Beatles or Grateful Dead of rap. Especially back in the early 2000s before rap became one of the most popular genres of music.
And before Rocafella signed Kanye, he made a couple of bangin’ beats for Jay-Z. Producing a Jay-Z song put Kanye on the map as a producer, and helped him develop a friendship with Hova.
Okay, back to the story:
Kanye sat in with Jay-Z as he rapped over another one of Kanye’s beats for a song called The Bounce for Jay’s The Blueprint 2 album.
Little did Jay-Z know that Kanye created a verse for this beat. But remember, back then, Kanye was a producer only. Producers couldn’t rap. And rappers couldn’t produce. Even though he was signed as a rap artist on Rocafella, the label gave him no respect as a rapper. They didn't take him seriously. And despite Kanye making a few of Jay-Z’s hottest beats, Jay-Z didn’t take him seriously as a rapper yet either.
That’s when Kanye (who was light years more humble back in these days) finally spoke up.
He told Jay he had a verse for this song.
Jay didn’t believe him. Almost laughed it off. But told Kanye to spit it if he actually did.
And Kanye spit a fire verse. He amazed everyone in the studio, including Jay-Z, the most popular rapper at the time. And, Jay decided to keep his verse on the song.
Kanye landed his first rap feature — and it was on one of his idol’s song.
After Kanye rapped his verse, Jay-Z told him:
“Yo, I didn’t know you could spit like that. You never woulda been on the song if you didn’t speak up. Closed moufs don’t get fed.”
And while Rocafella still didn't take Kanye seriously as a rapper, Jay-Z did. And soon Rocafella would follow.
Moral of the story?
Speak up. Closed moufs don’t get fed.
If you wanna make it as a freelancer, you gotta speak up.
If you wanna charge your clients more money, you gotta speak up.
If you wanna slang more of your product or service, you gotta speak up.
Who knows what woulda happened to Kanye if he hadn’t spoken up. His debut album won him a Grammy. But it might’ve never happened if he didn’t pipe up when he was in the studio with Jay-Z.
And so it is with bidness.
Do with this what thou wilt.
And I highly recommend watching jeen-yuhs on Netflix even if you hate Kanye and think he’s an arrogant arsehole.
Buncha powerful bidness, mindset, and purpose lessons sprinkled throughout the documentary. And you see a side of Kanye that you probably never knew existed, i.e., a more humble Kanye.
If you want to grow your revenue from email by at least 30% in 30 days (or less) and you have a proven offer, book a discovery call. And let’s see if it makes sense to work together.