What if you could learn from and work with your role models? In this week’s Spotlight, A-Rayz shows us how he has gained credibility and wisdom from predecessors to earn his spot in the light…
In this post, I share a quick background on A-Rayz. Then I will show you how he has leveraged collaboration to connect with a growing network of artists.
The purpose of this post is to share an example of someone who has been collaborating with veterans to accelerate his development, so you can start collaborating with your role models and succeed faster.
Background on A-Rayz
A-Rayz is another character I met through the Boston University Hip Hop scene. He grew up in Lexington, MA. His ambition brought him both to Boston and my attention.
He works with local artists on the up like Cam Meekins, Michael Christmas, and Cousin Stizz. As well, he has worked with a number of successful artists like Raekwon, Traphik, Chiddy Bang, Mac Miller, Young Buck and Krumbsnatcha.
As a result, his music has been enjoyed over a million times all over the world.
Collaborate: From Good to Great
Talent will take you far. However, as 50 Cent once told Kendrick, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
Taking talent and combining it with hard work is obviously a better combination. However, you can be talented, work hard, and still not get anywhere.
Why does that happen? Participants do not have a good understanding of the industry’s overall landscape.
Learn From Veterans
When A-Rayz works with guys like Raekwon and Krumbsnatcha (Gang Starr affiliate), he absorbs a wealth of knowledge.
If there is a local meet and greet, A-Rayz will go meet his influences. He often finds his way into the same room as his role models. He has met DJ Premier, Madlib, and Just Blaze in person.
Prior to his release of Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, Kendrick Lamar did a meet and greet at Laced Boston. A-Rayz handed Kendrick a copy of a beat CD and asked for feedback. Kendrick actually listened to the music and helped A-Rayz sharpen his craft.
Be like A-Rayz. Make it a point to spend time having interactions with people who have been places you want to go. They can share a better understanding of the landscape, helping you find shortcuts and avoid pitfalls. Not only do you gain know-how, but veterans also help you build authority.
That extra know-how and authority will help you go from good to great and separate yourself from the pack.
3 Pieces of Art to Get You Started
Supply & Demand
A-Rayz reaches out to people from all over. He reached out to Traphik aka Timothy De La Ghetto, a Youtube Celebrity with over 230,000 subscribers and 14 million views total. With a collab like that, A-Rayz gains a lot of authority.
Art of War
Raekwon helps Green Street and A-Rayz make it a point that this is more than just messing around. With both a veteran and peers, A-Rayz takes another step forward to a fruitful career in hip hop. Working with an industry veteran like Raekwon will provides an opportunity to tap into a wealth of knowledge on the hip hop game.
Rap Ain’t Real
Poetic Killa is a Boston emcee who has worked with guys like Kool G Rap, Raekwon, Jadakiss, and D12. Building a relationship with this local emcee helped A-Rayz learn about the industry and manifest collaborations, like the one here with the former G-Unit member, Young Buck.