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Sway may not have the answers to everything, but he's not the only one; everyone needs a little advice along the way as they try to navigate their way through the world, and rappers are no different. Whether it's making career decisions, dealing with the music industry, or just trying to survive in the world, a little advice can go a long way toward helping people figure things out in the best way possible. With that in mind, XXL spoke to 12 rappers and producers and asked them to share with us the best advice they've ever gotten, from mentors, publicists, managers or fellow artists. Higher learning. —XXL Staff
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Advice From: Birdman
Birdman told me a long time ago, you get out what you put in the game. You go out there and you have to work. You get paid. That’s all I’m saying. You overworked, you overpaid.
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Advice From: N/A
Best advice I ever gotten was to do me. Never change ever and do me. Be who you are. Me as a rapper, I could have been got discouraged four years ago when radio wasn’t playing my music. But here I am six years later, and it’s like I made $500,000 without a radio song. When you look at it like that and before the label, I made $500,000 stacks before the label. I think my biggest advice was to do you. When people was telling me—‘Write a hit. Find hit beats. Let’s look for the hit record.’ You know what I am saying? I never listened. I always did me and even to this day, stuff that the radio do play it’s my own personal music. I didn’t make it for the radio. I think the biggest advice and effort was to do you.
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Advice From: Robert Green
Best advice I’ve ever gotten is always say less is necessary. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something stupid. I actually read it in a book. 48 Laws Of Power by Robert Green. [Laughs] But that one sticks out because when I hear people talking a lot, I’m like, ‘Okay, are you going to shut up? ‘Cause you are sounding stupid.’ I be like, ‘Man, I don’t want to sound like that.’ And it always goes back to that law that is so true. I always say less than necessary. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something stupid.
And another quote, I made this myself—if it is not beneficial, it’s not necessary. That was the best advice I gave myself. ‘Cause if it’s not helping your mind, body or soul, financially, what is the point? If it’s a bunch of drama and that shit ain’t gonna make me a bankroll, it’s not necessary.
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Advice From: Rudyard Kipling
The best advice? One of Rudyard Kipling’s poems said, ‘To thine own self be true.’ I guess that’s the greatest advice I could give anybody. That is the greatest reality ever: ‘To thine own self be true.’
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Advice From: E-40
Keep your team super solid, take every day one at a time, remain humble and be super appreciative of everything. E-40 was telling me that when we were talking about my situation.
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RapsodyAdvice From: Missy Elliott
There's one that is the same, no matter who I speak to: always be yourself. Don't try to be like anybody else, create your own lane, you don't want to sound like anyone else. That's how you stick around. I think that's the one that's been the most important. And just to find your niche, find your voice, and run with that no matter what anybody says, who else is poppin'. The one and only time I talked to Missy Elliott—it was via DM—that was the advice she gave me. The same thing from Kendrick, Big Daddy Kane. Erykah Badu, she compared it to a chess board. She was like, you gotta be the king on the chess board. You gotta be the king, and find your hat. Your hat being your niche, the thing that makes you feel great.
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Advice From: Dad
The best advice I ever got? Probably from my pops, stand tall. Stand tall being stand up for who you are. Be who you are no matter what. Don’t bend or fold or break from nobody. It really just means be a man. Stand up for who you are. Stand up for what you believe in. Never back down. Stand up for your people. Take care of your people. Take care of yourself. Stand tall.
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Advice From: Manager Jay Brown
There's a thin line between loyalty and stupidity, and don't be on stupidity's side. Who said that to me? My manager, Jay Brown. He told me that shit. I was like, "What the fuck? That's it." 'Cause you know, you can be real loyal to one of your friends, and you can be so loyal that your friend takes you into some stupid shit, you be on some dumb shit. You fuck up a lot of shit that you not supposed to fuck up.
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Boldy JamesAdvice From: Everybody
Always have safe sex. Wrap it up. Everybody. Everybody told me that. I mean, really, that's the best advice you can get. Say no to drugs and wrap it up.
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Advice From: Her Publicist, Dove
As a girl in this game, in this industry or business, I need to accept the fact that men are going to consider me emotional, and they're going to take everything I say with a grain of salt. So I need to lower my tone and talk like a man would. Really not put any emotions into it, just really handle things as professionally and businesslike as I can. That was my girl Dove [who told me that], she's been my publicist forever. She just told me it's really hard. As a man, you can say what you want and people kind of take it for that, but as a girl, it always seems like you're bitching or whining, and I have to just accept that, as a girl, that's gonna happen. But I'm working with it. I think it's working.
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Dun DealAdvice From: Dr. Dre
Consistency. Consistency can beat out talent. That was the best advice I've ever gotten. I was in California five, six years ago, and it wasn't, like, directed at me, but I was around Dr. Dre and he had said that to somebody. And I just took it and ran with it.
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Advice From: N/A
Mine is always listen more than you talk. I always try to be the sponge in the room. The person who talk the most, the loudest, is usually the one who don’t know the most. I just try to soak it in. Especially if I am in the room with OGs. I feel like you can learn from anybody—you can learn from a five year old, ‘cause they got a different way of adapting, a different way of seeing things and speaking. It’s always just trying to learn more, learn something daily. It’s always listen more than you speak. You can’t learn if you are always talking.
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