‘You are always right.
If you think it will happen, it will.
If you worry it won’t happen, it won’t.
If you think the power is in you, then it is.
If you think they have the power, they do.
If you believe you can achieve it, you can.
If you don’t believe, you don’t achieve.
That’s why you are always right.’
¬ jOsh lugEmbe
I’m a great fan of hip-hop music.
When I was a teenager, we used to go to concerts.
I remember at one time we were at the hall before time the concert started, and so as the artists practiced they passed the microphone to all of us inside the room.
I guess they thought that we were all artists because we had our trousers hanging halfway down our bottoms, we walked in a swinging steps leaning on to one side, I mean, we had the swagger, too.
And so as the mic moved towards me I was like, ‘I ain’t got no line to rap… damn! What am I going to do?’
I worried because as a teenager once your peers trust you, once they believe that you can do it, you better believe in yourself and do it.
But today, I don’t rap (well, sometimes when I’m driving all by self).
And rap, hip-hop if you like has helped me stay confident.
In fact, according to Ben Horowitz, a successful CEO and the author of The Hard Things About The Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, hip-hop is the music of entrepreneurship.
‘Rock n’ roll and folk music is about railing against the man. Rap music is about being the man.’
There is power and enormous self-belief in hip-hop.
That’s why Kanye West could denounce George Bush openly even when he was a president.
Because hip-hop artists are poets.
They can either use poetry to correct and to speak out, or they can use it to entertain.
do what you wanna do
There is something I think I’ve learned from hip-hop artists.
- If you want to be one, then ACT LIKE ONE
There is no need to wait for the signs because if the signs aren’t there, you make them.
If you can’t walk with a swagger, go learn how to. Go watch Stir Crazy as Richard Pryor teaches Gene Wilder on how to ‘do some of these’.
- BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Look how 50 Cent came through.
Look how Jay Z made it to the top.
Or how Nas made the best first album.
These guys believed in themselves: 50 Cent sang about robbing the top artists. He said, if his album won’t sell, he is just gonna rob and take what he want.
Jay Z pretended he was loaded with cash even when he was broke. He invested in the look of a super successful hip-hop artist. And sure enough, he became all that he wanted.
Nas believed in his verses. And so the world believed in them, too.
the hip-hop swagger
‘Hey there, you know I’m a black man, right!
Does that mean I smoke ganja?’
Well, that’s how my first white girlfriend thought of all black people.
I remember she used to say to me, you’ve the black swagger… but how about the herb?
So by all means, I don’t say hip-hop swagger means smoking, or being rude, or bashing them things.
What I mean is this, ‘don’t let no one ever stop you from going and doing what you love’.
We can set goals.
And we can sustain the inner drive for a while.
But when things aren’t going the greatest, when it all doesn’t feel exiting any longer, that’s when it’s important to walk like you have it all.
That’s when you have to speak only of what you want – don’t complain and don’t explain.
That’s when you have to embrace your inner hip-hop drive.
Because you know that the reward is just around the corner.
Walk like you are one, progressive and super-determined.
Talk like you are, too.
Laugh like you’re heading to the top.
Because if you do it long enough, if you fake it long enough, well…