In this day and age, it’s easy for us to limit our options for our lives.
Sure, as kids we dream of all of the things we become, but that somehow gets lost due to the demands of everyday life.
In today’s world, we all do something different and have a chance to use our uniqueness in different ways. The internet has given us so many options and ways to pursue our passions. The question is, will we share our passion? Will we share more about who we are or what we can be?
Today, arguably more than ever, you have a chance to own your personal brand and create a lifestyle around you. I hate to see people not take advantage of the time we are in because personal branding will only become more important in the future as we continuously look at people who promote what they do with pride.
One thing is for sure, Coach K from QC knows exactly what focusing on a brand can achieve…
QC The Label
if you’re a fan of rap music, you might have heard of Kevin “Coach K” Lee or Pierre “Pee” Thomas, but you’ve definitely heard of Quality Control (QC).
QC is a record label based in Atlanta and has an unreal group of artists under them like Migos, Lil Yachty, & Lil Baby. In 2018 Migos earned their second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 after releasing Culture 2. Also, during March of 2018, Lil Yachty was at the number 2 spot on the Billboard 200 with Lil Boat 2.
Although there are many other artists that they’ve pushed to the top, just this level of success goes to show that P and Coach K know what they are doing and have established a track record of success in the rap world.
Coach K saw Yachty as a brand from Day 1.
I was watching an episode of Rap Radar Podcast on Youtube that featured P and Coach K when, Elliot Willson who is a host on the show asked an interesting question.
“How he can Yachty still be viewed on the Forbes list and how can he be seen as successful even though the record didn’t see huge success?”
As soon as I heard Coach K’s answer to this question, I knew I had to write about it. Branding is becoming increasingly important in today’s world and I had been struggling with how to convey that, until this moment.
Coach K went on to say a lot about it, but my favorite quotables were:
“We built a brand with him, it wasn’t about the record”
“Any artists you work with, if you’re a manager you should be trying to build a brand not chasing a record”
“The records, they gon’ come, he’s going to have another hit, but if we continue to build him as a brand that’s what it’s about”
Money from music is the goal if you’re an artist, but why not try to make money in other ways?
In a clip from Complex’s Everyday Struggle show features Joe Budden and Joey Badass debating whether an artist selling a specific number of records makes them a superstar or not. The clip went viral and eventually made it to P from QC.
In response, P commented “Lil Yachty made 13 million dollars in 16 months” on an Instagram post, clearly saying that he still sees success. But when you look at how Yachty made this money, it becomes clear that he is definitely successful.
Yachty isn’t just an artist, he is taking his brand and making the best of it.
The proof is in the endorsements…
Let’s take a quick look at how Yachty is making money outside of his music.
Partnered with Finish Line: In 2016, Lil Yachty teamed up with Finish Line to promote the release of the Adidas Tubular Shadow. They worked with the rapper to create a digital experience while at the peak of his buzz.
Sprite commercial: Also in 2016, he appeared in a Sprite commercial along with Lebron James.
Target commercial: He was in a Target commercial along with Carly Rae Jepsen
Nautica even brought him in to be a Brand Creative Designer
These opportunities don’t just appear for every rapper. It’s the way he carries himself, dresses and of course having the right team on his side doesn’t hurt.
It just so happens that Coach K saw these things in him, which opened huge doors.
It’s no question that he is winning big right now, but why doesn’t everyone think this way? Why isn’t everyone in search of another opportunity that they’ll enjoy?
Whether you are an artist or not, are you setting yourself up for larger opportunities?
Maybe you can’t sign a deal with Nautica or Sprite tomorrow, but you can set yourself up for beginning to position your personal brand for different opportunities, the opportunities that you want, by putting yourself out there and showing the brand that you wish to spread and type of people you wish to connect with.
Think of 50 cent & Will Smith for example, these two used music to get into an acting career. Looking back makes me wonder if their stories would have been as big if they just “stayed in their lane”. These examples are obviously big ones, but who’s to say you can’t do something similar?
As illustrated by Coach K through Lil Yachty, a brand is bigger than the music. What’s yours?
Written – by ‘rouk