Bun B dropped knowledge on sustaining a music career on Thursday (March 17) during an informative panel at South By Southwest 2022. The rapper took the stage at Earn Your Masters, a pop-up event put on by UnitedMasters and the Earn Your Leisure podcast. Attendees stood in line outside of Mala Vida awaiting a day of events including unique experiences combining education, music, and entertainment presented by Ally. The crowd filled the two-level venue eager to hear the intimate conversation.
During the fireside chat moderated by Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings of the EYL pod, the Houston rapper shared his learnings from the music industry over the years, parallels between Hip-Hop and religion, and more.
“You’re not just an artist, you have a business, too,” he explained. “So, you have to know not just what it takes to produce a record and get it mixed and mastered and all that. That’s 2%. That’s the easy part. You don’t even have to be good to make successful music. But you do have to be smart to build a successful business. Before you do the art, know the business.”
Bun B added, “Hip Hop, like religion, is where many of our young people go to get their information. It’s the space in which they commune and gather and learn and live with each other.” The “Get Throwed” rapper further explained how his trajectory changed once he elevated into the music business beyond artistry.
“Once I made the decision to go into the music business—and when I say the music business, I’m not talking about making music, playing music outside,” he clarified. “I’m talking about taking control of the business that I’m in, finding ways to take the music industry and the companies out of my equation. How much of this can we honestly do on our own? How much of this record label do we really need?”
“How many of these things can we sufficiently and consistently execute ourselves at a high level? As time went by, we realized we could do it all. The only reason you’re signed to a record company is really for cap. You know, just to say that you signed a deal with somebody to try to show out, but that don’t really mean making no money. I can almost guarantee you it’s designed for you to not make money.”
The conversation fit Earn Your Masters’ mission to shed light on the need to fuel financial literacy in educating the next generation of creators and people who are traditionally underserved by financial institutions. Bun B later took the stage for a performance at the event followed by Tobe and Fat Nwigwe, BigXthaPlug, OG Ron C, and Chase B.