Yesterday at the new Tidal offices in New York, attendees gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip hop. The event included an intimate panel discussion around hip hop's journey thus far and the impact of entrepreneurship over the years. Moderated by music consultant and writer Ladidai, the panelist consisted of rap great Styles P, fan-favorite Flo Milli and rising star Reuben Vincent.
With August being both Black Business Month and the 50th anniversary of hip hop, bringing the two commemorations together for a conversation with the old and new school made perfect sense. As an artist-first platform, TIDAL aims to nurture the evolution of artists as entrepreneurs, while it also celebrates the past five decades of hip hop.
The three featured panelists are all at different stages in their lives and careers, so having them share insight on how artists can stand out and succeed amidst an increasingly saturated creator economy and the ever-changing and competitive music industry, was needed. As we’ve all seen in the media—and really the world—we’re all basically living paycheck to paycheck. In 2023, it’s important to have multiple streams of income.
Styles P, the OG on the panel, shared his thoughts on what entrepreneurship means to him, hip hop today and seeing the evolution through the years.
“Entrepreneurship is a fancy way of saying hustler. In the spirit of being an entrepreneur, I would tell the average artist to know what you want to do, study what you want to do, and then have a plan B and C in motion as you're working on plan A," Styles P shared. "If you think about the most successful people in hip-hop, they all do more, they all have their hands in a few different pots, and that’s just the way of the hustler.”
For Flo Milli, she doesn’t let internet trolls bother her. She knows who she is and who she wants to be in the future, and won't let anyone on or off the internet dictate that.
“I have certain things that I keep in my head when it comes to social media. If somebody is trying to pull you down, that means they are already below you," she shared. "You have to understand where people are coming from, and sometimes they are intimidated, insecure, and mad that I’m doing what they’re not doing.”
Ruben Vincent, the new kid on the block, spoke about how up-and-coming artists can be successful and stand out.
“There are new artists coming out every day, and you have to be able to take advantage of everything you can, including social media and platforms like TIDAL and its Rising Artists," Vincent shared. "Those things are going to help you in your early career.”
Styles P continued dropping jewels and gave more advice to hip hop's next generation.
“You're not always going to be on top. You're going to have trials of tribulations, and you're going to have peaks and valleys," he said. "But when you stay true to yourself, people will recognize that in you and gravitate towards you, whether they're younger, older, or your peers… your reputation arrives before you do, and if you have a great work ethic, that word spreads around. Don’t let your character and your ego get too big. Treat everyone with respect, show up, and be ready to work, and that'll carry you a very, very long way.”