How To Perform Live, According to Producers For Kanye West and Jay Z
The Remix Project Chicago recently hosted its Tale of Two Cities: Chicago Showcase, allowing for its roster of burgeoning young talent a chance to take stage and finally employ some of their learnings in front of industry insiders and Chicago’s most vocal music leaders. Amongst those on the advice panel were rappers Add-2, signed to 9th Wonder’s It’s a Wonderful World Music Group, and GLC, who’ll always be famous for his contribution to Kanye West’s College Dropout and Jay Z’s The Black Album. Here’s some solid advice the two gave to performers at the end of each one of their sets. Read up ‘cause there are lessons in here for all.
YOU HAVE TO PREPARE FOR ANY AND EVERYTHING.
Add-2: Any situation can pop up. The mic is not always going to be one hundred percent. Sometimes the sound is not always going to be one hundred percent but that’s not the crowd’s fault at all; it’s up to you to still keep performing. No matter what is thrown your way, don’t blink; don’t flinch. Keep going and push all the way through.
IT TAKES PERSISTENCE AND CONSISTENCE
Add-2: Don’t let anyone tell you that the journey is not possible.
TAKE THE PAIN AND MAKE YOUR ENVIRONMENT A PRODUCT OF YOU
GLC: My girl, she was telling me, ‘Man. If everyone wants to sign you, why you ain’t sign?’ I told her, "It’s just not my time yet." Then I was thinking about my mom. She died December 21 and this was around the time my mom died, so I’m thinking about her. That’s where the line "lost my momma, lost my mind" came from. I was thinking about all the guys that I lost but I was like damn, I just got to overcome. I ain’t finna be messed up. I’m not going to be a product of my environment. I’m going to take this pain and make my environment a product of me. And that’s how “Spaceship” came about.
GOOD ART COMMUNICATES TRUTH
GLC: That’s what made the College Dropout album so cold, because that [stuff] was the truth. We were all really college dropouts. I really was focused back in the day. I really worked in the mall. I really hustled. Everything we talked about, it really happened.
SHARE YOUR STORY
GLC: If you all have any stories that are of your real life or just conversations that you have just with friends who are maybe going through certain things… It doesn’t have to be something for everybody; it just has to have something that the people can feel. When you speak from the heart and the people can feel you then they’ll never forget you. In fact, there's a good chance they’ll embrace you. If you can get their ear, you got to wait till their heart. If you can get their heart, you get their mind and they follow.
APPLY YOURSELF TO SUPPLY YOUR WEALTH
GLC: Everything that is, it all starts with a belief. From this stage that we’re sitting on, somebody believed that it could be built and they made. With your lives and your careers, you have the ability to be whatever you choose to be. It’s just a matter of applying yourself to supply your wealth. The only limitations you ever have in life are those that you place upon yourselves.
PLAY IT OFF
Add-2: Never own up to a mistake during a performance. Had you not said anything, I would have never known it. Never say it. Own it. Play it off.