What you do it for?
Nobody else raps like me...
Every aspiring MC has to have that mindset when they pick up that pen and put it to paper. Whoever you have in your top 5, I guarantee you that they sound vastly different from each other. With 7 billion people on the planet, there's no reason we should sound like clones of each other. Every now and then though, I fall into doubts as far as my sound and my rhymes. There's something reassuring when you play someone a song and they say "oh... this is like 'so and so'..." Familiar is comfortable, but familiar is also safe. I don't think the arts where people should be making a living out of playing it "safe." You want safe? Apply to that mailroom position, work your way up and grind towards your 401k. This ain't that.
When I was 13, my father found one of my rhymebooks in its hiding spot under my bed. By now you should know that my parents hate hip-hop. Anyways, in an effort to discourage me from pursuing it, he told me "Be careful what you write down. Words last forever." Now, what he MEANT was that if people 200 years from now found my raps, they would think I was an uneducated lesser being because of the slang. As with most life lessons, I pulled something completely different out of that exchange: My words will last forever.
If I die tonight, someone will be able to go on my soundcloud, or through my fb notes and connect to words that I had made rhyme years prior. For me, that means a kind of immortality. Every flaw, every doubt, every slurred word or accented punchline will be embedded and stamped into time. Not only does it prove that I was here, but it'll show that I was perfectly imperfect in my humanity. Sorry, not sorry for the deep existential tones, but it runs that deep for me.
The other point is... I dont want someone to remember me 200 years from now as "that guy who sounded like..." Just saying. Its hard being the best you. Its hard being the average run-of-the-mill you, even. With music, you're only as good as your last success. My take on it is that you might as well be you for that process.
Last thing I want to talk about is networking. Its real, and it works! Word of mouth is worth more than any business card and more effective than any marketing scheme. I reflect back to the success of our past shows, and it comes down to talking to people, and then talking to others. For example, I was planning a mini tour stopping in D.C. around Christmas Break. I know like 4 people down there... But then... from one friend (who I hadn't spoken to in 11 years) talking to another, talking to another, I linked up with another dope artist down there who's starting his own movement, so shout out to Jimmy and Shiv. Whether or not this tour happens, I'm still going to be one step further than I was before. All due to networking. Find like minded people, connect with them, support and build.