How Stressful Is Being A Rapper... Really?

Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Every Monday (that isn't a national holiday) Rocks Off will have some of them discuss issues relevant to their culture.

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Photo illustration by John Seaborn Gray
This Week's Panel: V-Zilla, Nosaprise, Preemo, Yung Redd, hasHBrown

Not Invited: Ricky Ross, because he thinks he's Big Meech, Larry Hoover.

This Week's Prompt: We're all familiar with the lavish way rappers' lives are portrayed, what with all of the money, clothes and hos (or man-hos, for you femmes). But what about the other side? Charles Hamilton, who shot up in Internet fame a ways back before crashing back down to Earth just as quickly, recently admitted himself to a mental health hospital. We all saw Kanye crack up.

How stressful actually is it to be a rapper? What does that feel like?

V-Zilla: Stress is being subtle, especially when you love - and I mean love - what you do. This game can ruin friendships, relationships, partnerships, etc. I've been fortunate to travel to foreign countries, flip language, rock shows and opened up for legends, just to come home to no notoriety.

I don't bite my tongue: [I] guarantee I can hang, if not straight up obliterate, that chrome contraption [microphone] against anyone. But I'm still broke.

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I got so many side hustles. I sleep an average 4 hrs a night, 7 days a week. I've ghostwritten records that got artists on, but my stubbornness to not conform keeps me in this underground. Stress? Shit. That's guaranteed in our profession.

To make it, to live better and provide on the daily off music is damn near more than the average 40-hour work week. And yet and still we trudge on through the mud and muck, all for the love of the game.

Preemo: Basically I feel like nothing worth having is easy to obtain. What people have to realize is this life isn't for everybody. I think the most stressful time in my life is when I was dealing with a label and had people who where not artists in control of my creativity. That was stress.

The other thing people don't realize is that when you come from poverty and almost overnight earn a tremendous amount of money, you become a target. And not just a target for jackers, but a target for everybody that thinks they have a realistic shot at getting a piece of your money.

From groupies to lawyers to past "friends" or past business associates, even family members. This is something that can be a tremendous source of stress. But this is the price for living our dream.


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