|Pongo performing at "Black Verse" event.|
By Dometi Pongo
Working on “From Profit To Prophecy” gave me a new-found respect for all the emcees that attended college or made other business moves while launching their music careers. Artists like Plies, Ludacris, J. Cole, Wale, Lil Wayne, Ice Cube, Common, 2Pac etc. gave me some motivation to increase my work ethic to get where I need to be.
The hardest thing about putting the project together was remaining inspired to write while outside obligations occupied my mind. Below are a few things I learned throughout this process:
1. Know when to make music for yourself - An artist can’t please everyone, so I stopped trying. I started making the music I wanted to hear.
2. Connect with all fans, use all resources – Keeping a list of email addresses, twitter names, and names of supporters can go a long way.
3. Learn to locate opportunities – As an Econ & Finance major, I joined a lot of professional business organizations. One was the St. Louis Chapter of the National Sales Network. I never thought that these MBA’s and corporate professionals would endorse hip-hop. My mentor surprised me by blasting the “Sick Of Love” video to all of her colleagues. This eventually led me to have shows and even seminars/workshop opportunities. Don’t sleep on power moves.
4. Genuinely connect with the people – Got this one from my business partner & producer (@JuiceBeatz). Locking myself in the studio wasn’t beneficial in the long run. Music is more potent when the people can interact with you and see you in your element.
5. Be selective when asking for opinions – Got this one from Meek Mill. Have confidence in what you do. As long as I’m making Music You Feel, there’s no reason to solicit outside approval from those outside of my inner circle. Doing so can change the integrity of the music. Everyone’s a critic.
Dometi Pongo, a business major here at SIUE and Chicago native, has been a leading contributor to black studies projects. He recently produced an album From Profit to Prophecy.