Hip-Hop Is Chess Not Checkers
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Hip-Hop Is Chess Not Checkers

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Learn to play the game.

One of my favorite movies is Denzel Washington’s Training Day.  Not only did we see him in a different light, but there was a scene in that movie that was sooo powerful that it still resonant with me to this day. It was during the car scene when Denzel looked over at Ethan Hawke and said “It’s chess not checkers!”. This line spoke volumes to me and at the same time explained everything we need to know about hip-hop and the music industry in a whole.

Confused? Let’s breakdown exactly the difference between checkers and chess. Checkers is a strategy board games for two players which involve diagonal moves of uniform game pieces and mandatory captures by jumping over opponent pieces. Now that’s the technical definition. Let me give it to you straight. Checkers doesn’t take that much skill. If you know the basics you can start playing today. Now that’s no flack to checkers…it’s just facts!

Chess on the other hand is all about skill and strategy. Its a game that can take years to master. And that brings me to why this industry is all about chess. Many people jump into this game thinking that success will come over night, only to find out its full of dead ends and disappointments. To win it takes time and some serious strategy. You have to know who to hang with and find ways to cut through the b.s. and see who is genuine.

So how can you do this? First off figure out who you are and what you can accept. If you’re not the person with thick skin, then you may want to to sit on the sidelines and let someone else handle the “dirty work” for you. This is why your team is ALWAYS important. Now as an indie artist your team may be limited, but if you have people willing to go to bat for your, you are ahead of the game.

So what does all of this really mean? You need strategy and patience. Without those two things, your chances at success will be extremely limited.

Found these tips helpful? You may want to take a listen to our weekly podcast, where we dive into more topics geared to providing guidance to independent artist on their journey of surviving the indie circuit.

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