For the millionaire-minded, there’s one takeaway I wanna talk about from The Autobiography of Gucci Mane that’ll serve you well. And that’s pacing. I’ll explain.
Gucci had an album, Back to the Trap House, flop. So he felt like he had to prove himself. How? He decided he’d flood the radio, clubs, and streets with his music. Gucci contacted every DJ he knew and told ’em he wanted to do a mixtape.
When they all accepted, he had his work cut out for him. He was recording nonstop. But it wasn’t enough. Too many projects, too little time. So he switched it up. Instead of writing all of his raps ahead of time, Gucci started freestyling – going off the top of his head, as soon as he heard the beat.
Some excerpts from the book:
It wasn’t a calculated decision to switch my whole style up, but months later, with these new projects in the pipeline and deadlines to meet, freestyling proved to be a much quicker way for me to knock out songs.
So that’s what I started doing and I did so relentlessly. I became a machine. I would record six or seven songs a day. Easily.
Now that I was freestyling, no one stood a chance of keeping up. I certainly wasn’t sitting around the studio waiting for anyone to catch up. One take. Play the next beat.
Sitting still in the studio killed me. I couldn’t do it. I always had something to get off my chest.
My work ethic would pay off. With each mixtape I dropped, the disappointment surrounding Back to the Trap House faded away. I was getting hotter and hotter.
From a publishing perspective, I’ve always been fascinated with pace. And, as a writer, me publishing an article is similar to Mr. Mane dropping a song. So when I read that I thought, “Damn, how can I up my own pace?”
But I think anyone, in any business, can ask themselves the same question. No matter what you sell or how, the cruise control’s probably set at a certain speed. You’re producing and promoting at a constant, casual pace – and I bet it’s similar to that of your competitors. Right?
So what shortcuts can you take with creativity, with planning, with production… to get ahead? And no, it’s not about letting quality dip. Actually, everyone liked Gucci’s freestyles better than his old stuff. In his case, quality improved.
Maybe that’s because, when you’re world-class at whatever it is you do, there’s a fluidity that comes with going off instinct.
Maybe our non-rapping, non-lean-sippin’ selves could also go faster and be better with less planning and more doing. Brrr.