Tyler The Creator Exposes How Rappers Stay Motivated
Host: “You mentioned focus, you’ve kind of used that word quite a bit in this conversation. What does focus look like for you? What does that mean for you when you say focus?”
Tyler: I think just truly caring. A few of my friends I would say, ‘Spend a week drawing yourself everyday. Monday – draw yourself, Tuesday – draw yourself, Friday… It’s interesting what stays in the drawing and what gets added. So for me during quarantine I kept drawing myself and it was my furry hat with the Rolls-Royce at the dock… I kept drawing that… and my focal point isn’t just that. It’s getting that with the album that came with it… it means getting to a place where I can get that car. Where can I get that hat? So I have to make it and all those type of things.”Tyler The Creator On How Rappers Stay Motivated
In this clip, we see Tyler The Creator exposes how rappers stay motivated to become legendary, Grammy-award winning artists just like he has now… several times over.
Throughout this article we’ll hear Tyler describe how he first discovered his inspiration to become a rapper, how he has used that same drive to take over other genres and even other creative avenues such as fashion, and much more…
But this clip is secret #1 to how Tyler The Creator has exposed how rappers stay motivated to make it in the game:
1. Use Visualization To Stay Focused
“And I tell my friends, yo… draw yourself draw yourself… what’s that? And one of my friends sees himself on a basketball court. I’m like, ‘What does that basketball court mean?’ He says that’s the basketball court he’s going to have some day at my house. I say, okay, then get it. And the focus is what are you going to be doing for the next whatever time to get that photo?”Tyler The Creator on How To Stay Motivated
Finding an actual activity to link with your visualization practice for your career can be extremely fulfilling.
In Tyler’s case, he himself (as well as what he had his friends do) was actually draw out specific objects in his life that he wanted to have once he reached a new milestone of success.
You’ve already heard Tyler describe possibly drawing out objects you’ll use such as a car or a basketball court at your own…
But you can also do what we at How To Rap actually have done in the past which is utilize a vision board by taking a picture of a place you’d like to visit or in our case a picture of the 100,000 subscriber plaque and keeping it on your wall until you get it!
Let’s listen to platinum rapper Russ talk about his personal process of using visualization to stay focused:
“What is your Mom’s reaction to seeing the beach house? Can you feel the car turning the corner? It’s about immersing yourself in that feeling as if it’s going on right now. And when you do that on a daily basis it’s not long before reality catches up.”Russ on How Rappers Stay Motivated
It’s true that most successful people, let alone successful rap artists have a clear vision of exactly what they want out of life.
In both cases, Tyler The Creator and Russ have told us in no uncertain terms that it is crucial to have a clear visualization of what objects and events will occur once someone accomplishes their goal of knowing how to become a rapper.
As previously mentioned, we at How To Rap have used key visualization techniques ourselves to reach half a million subscribers, and in fact we teach some of those same techniques in our “Music Motivation Course” which you can pick up by clicking HERE.
However, knowing how to stay motivated as a rapper isn’t only about SEEING what you want. It’s about OWNING that you really, really want it.
#2 Own Your OWN Goals
“We live in a society where a lot of people are followers and they can’t make their set opinions. I have friends who went to college for things that their parents wanted them to go for and they’re not even happy or anything but they’re just trying to please them in the long-run… I mean what’s going to happen… your parents die and you’re just stuck there paying debt for something you didn’t even want to learn in the first place. So I just try to tell people to think for themselves and they’ll be way happier in the long run.”Tyler The Creator on How Rappers Stay Motivated
Most people live their entire lives living out OTHER people’s goals.
They live their parents’ goals, they live their teachers’ goals, they live their friends goals.
Interestingly, Tyler The Creator however – one of the more influential rappers of the last 10 years not only in music but in fashion and comedy – from day one has said it’s better to think for yourself…
And own your OWN goals, not those of others.
When Tyler was first coming up on music back in 2007, the most successful mainstream artists were rappers like Lil’ Wayne, Kanye West, and Jay-Z.
At that time, rappers weren’t relatable per se… when you thought of a rapper like Lil’ Wayne, sure he had dope rhymes but he was a child star with face tattoos, sipping lean, and throwing up gang signs.
Kanye West, although he started as a relatable artist, by that time had become essentially a human spaceship, performing extra-terrestrial level raps on his other-worldly Glow In The Dark Tour.
And Jay-Z was… Jay-Z. A future billionaire former drug dealer married to the most successful female singer of the last quarter century Beyonce.
And here you have young Tyler The Creator coming into the game with all of that “pomp and circumstance” as a back drop.
What does Tyler do in this case? He OWNS his OWN goals and as he said thinks for himself.
Tyler’s first major hit was “Yonkers” an almost demonic-like anthem that went against all of the pristine gloss of Kanye West’s electronic sound her had been honing since “Stronger”…
…A track that didn’t try at ALL to chase Jay-Z’s “swagger-based” style appealing to the ‘grown and sexy’… and definitely didn’t try to overwhelm you with punchlines about the trap like Lil’ Wayne.
“Yonkers”, Odd Future, and Tyler was something completely different. It was music for a up-and-coming underground of kids who weren’t the jocks OR the nerds… they took fashion risks, they made funky music that didn’t follow pop music structure, and they made goofy jokes both on and off the mic and cursed a lot.
Indeed, Tyler and Odd Future arguably set the blueprint for many future “underground-to-mainstream cliques” like the ASAP Mob and TDE by demonstrating that you didn’t need to chase swag and and clout in order to emerge as a fan favorite.
Tyler was able to do this all by thinking for himself and owning his own goals rather than trying to be somebody that he was not.
“My whole life I felt like a stepchild. In school, at home… and especially in music and rap.
In 7th grade I got in a fight with a guy because he said ‘You don’t belong on a basketball court’ which… he was right! I’m trash.
8th grade, I tried out for drama club… I got in and then got kicked out within an hour because she said I was ‘too hyper’.
9th grade they said I couldn’t join band class ‘cause I couldn’t read music… but I still had the passion and I’m on two instruments now and working on my third but when all that happened…
I said f**k ‘em… I didn’t let none of that s**t stop be from doing anything that I wanted to do…”Tyler The Creator on How Rappers Stay Motivated
So follow The Tyler The Creator method for learning how to stay motivated by not letting ANY discouraging events pierce your mental shield of armor and OWN your OWN goals.
This even extends to the “clout rap” era that has just come and went in Hip-Hop.
How many face-tattooed “shock jock” rappers can you think of off of the top of your head that simply couldn’t sustain a long-term career because they were chasing OTHER people’s vision of success who actually really lived the lifestyle they were portraying?
The history books will make a mockery of the clout-chasing artists who dyed their hair two colors after XXXTentacion did it because they were trying to live HIS goals, RIP, rather than creating their own lane.
Therefore don’t try to be the next X, try to be the first you by owning your own goals rather than becoming yet another industry plant clone.
#3 If You Lead, They Will Follow
“People want something to believe in… and it could be positive or negative. And it’s just about how you carry yourself. If you carry yourself with those leader qualities… I’m not going to listen to anyone, I’m going to do this… some people will be like ‘oh s**t okay’ and that’s how a lot of the greats are… I just notice similar qualities no matter what and some people need that”Tyler The Creator On How Rappers Stay Motivated
Now we’ve already run through the history of Odd Future and how Tyler The Creator owned his own goals throughout his life and career like secret #2…
However its important to remember that Tyler wasn’t simply a MEMBER of Odd Future… he came in as the lead act, the leader himself.
It’s not enough to simply visualize, it’s not even enough to be yourself… You must lead others to your visions of success if you are truly to become a leader.
We’ve hinted at this a bit this article, but it’s important to demonstrate how Tyler’s fashion sense has even demonstrated his leader qualities.
Again, prior to Odd Future, most Hip-Hop fashion in the 2000’s was limited to streetwear like Bathing Ape, high end designer stuff like the stuff Jay-Z and Kanye would wear, and so on.
Once Odd Future and specifically Tyler came in with their unique often golf-inspired gear with bright colors, new textures, and old school patterns like plaid, an entire new lane of fashion opened up for rap fans.
To this day if you go to Melrose Avenue, one of the most important fashion districts in the world due to its preeminence in the Los Angeles scene, you’ll not only see a Golf Wang store, but you’re see a lot of other clones scattered all around.
That really comes down to Tyler’s leadership qualities shining through not only for his crew, but for the fashion world overall.
Of course this also extends to Tyler’s recent genre-bending work which has been making Grammy’s practically rain out of the sky for him.
Rather than simply stick in the “grungy underground rapper” sound of his early days, Tyler has been learning instruments, doing entire non-rap albums, and much more to set new trends.
His ability to maintain authentic to himself while ALSO setting new trends is an amazingly unique quality and demonstration of leadership in a game full of Future clones, Lil’ Baby flow stealers, and Drake chorus emulators.
Therefore knowing how to stay motivated like Tyler The Creator if you want to learn to become a rapper is about demonstrating those leadership qualities, owning your own goals and being your authentic self… and being sure to have a CLEAR vision of EXACTLY what success looks like for you.