It can often be hard to see the business side of things when you are focused solely on the art side of your craft. It’s sometimes the reason why startup founders are asked to step aside once the company is off the ground to let a business-focused CEO manage growth.
The same thing can happen in the music industry even among the titans of rap and hip-hop.
In an interview with the New York Times, rap icon Eminem, who admitted he focuses exclusively on the musical aspect of his work, discussed his relationship with close friends Dr. Dre and 50 Cent and how they have branched out into successful businesses.
The Times asked Eminem what his relationship with 50 Cent was like these days, given that 50 appears on the new Eminem-produced soundtrack for the film “Southpaw.” He said:
“Same as it’s always been, pretty much. I love Fif’, man.”
The interview then touched on 50 Cent and Dr. Dre’s business acumen and whether Eminem would ever branch out from music as they did. Eminem said:
“With 50, I could always see that coming, even from the start. He was always so business-minded. He’s always been so in tune with what the next move is, where I may be — I hate to say it — but I tend to be more narrow-minded. Just so tunnel vision with the music.”
“Down the road, maybe I could see myself producing records, but I feel like I’ll always want something to do with music. There’s not a lot of other [stuff] I’m really into. And kudos to anybody who is able to make those kind of transitions and be happy and comfortable with it. I don’t know if there could be another area for me to excel in.”
The interview then focused on Dr. Dre’s wildly successful Beats headphones business. Eminem described what he thought when Dre first discussed the business with him during a recording session in Hawaii when Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine was present:
“I never thought the headphone thing — it came out of nowhere. I remember we were in Hawaii, and we were recording songs for ‘Detox’ and for ‘Recovery.’ Jimmy [Iovine] wanted us to do a photo shoot with the headphones on. Of course I’m gonna do it — it’s Jimmy and it’s Dre. But I’m thinking: ‘All right, can we get to the music? I just want to get back and record.’ I remember thinking like: ‘How big is this thing going to be? It’s headphones.’ But man, I should’ve known just based on Dre’s name alone. And Jimmy’s like the Great Gazoo, from ‘The Flintstones.’ Somehow he has the foresight to always know what’s up. Sometimes I just don’t know what’s up. It blew my mind.”
Like any passionate artist, Eminem’s musical genius keeps him solely focused on his art. Being able to recognize that your passion might limit your business perspective, however, is crucial to making more money, and that’s when you know it’s time to study up and learn new business skills or find a great partner to supplement your talent. Especially when your creations are potential hits, it sometimes takes a business mind to introduce them to the world — otherwise you may be missing out on a huge opportunity.