10 Things the Title Industry can learn from Rap Music [pt 1/2]

March 12, 2018

Did you hear the news?  The American Land Title Association (ALTA) is featuring a Atlanta-based rapper Brandon Blue to set the tone for ALTA SPRINGBOARD with an opening session called "Finding Your Rhythm."  Now those are two words that we are excited to hear together in the same sentence, "ALTA" & "Rapper!"

In lieu of this, we thought it would be fun to explore if there are any things that the Title Industry could learn from Rap music... and to our surprise, there are actually a few things!  In fact, we came up with 10! 

So here goes... 10 things that the Title Industry can learn from Rap Music. Let the beat drop...

1- Own your Block

When someone thinks of "title" and your city, or type of closing you specialize in, do they think of you?  Are you the first title company that comes to mind?

If someone mentions Brooklyn, the first rapper that comes to mind is typically Notorious B.I.G. (or Biggie Smalls as he was also called), and if LA comes up in rap conversation, Tupac is without doubt the #1 LA rapper to ever emerge.  Why are these two rapper synonymous with these cities?  Because they represented those cities better than anyone else. They made music for those cities, talking about what was happening there and literally wearing those cities on their backs and heads with the latest fashion gear.

It's a well-known principle that before MTV or the world ever knew either of these rappers, their block, their city and their states knew them- because to begin, they never made music for people outside of their block, city and state.  They owned their block before they owned the airwaves.

Takeaway Principle:
Own Your Block.  Stop focusing on "out there," and start own the relationships right in front of you.  That's how you get noticed.

2- Avoid "Beef" with other Rappers

Have you ever heard of the phrase "Got Beef" as it relates to rap music? 

According to Urban Dictionary, having "Beef" with someone means that you have "a major issues with someone or some people."  In essence, that "someone hates you or has a grudge against you."

In business it's not really a question of what to do "if" something goes wrong, but what you will do "when" something goes wrong.  Has a real estate agent done something to make you look bad, or told their client something about you that was not true?  Has another title company told consumers something about you that is false?  Have you messed up on a closing and not taken ownership for the mistake?

In rap music, "beef" is typically started with something very, very small (that often was not even intended to hurt the other party), but sure enough, one party offends the other and no reconciliation is made.  Beef is what allegedly caused the feud between rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls (Notorious B.I.G.), and Beef is what then eventually led to both of their deaths.

Takeaway Principle:
Stop "beef" before it starts by owning up to things if you make a mistake, and if offended by someone, as the Good Book says, "turn the other cheek."  Punching back is never the answer.  Stop beef by stopping it at it's root: miscommunication.

3- Make a Mixtape

When's the last time you tried something new with no real positive or negative consequences if that new thing either succeeds of fails?

At the height of his rise, Louisiana rapper Lil' Wayne (aka "Weezy Baby") was not only pushing out record after record, but mixtape after mixtape.  If you are unfamiliar with the term mixtape, the easiest way to describe one is a low-fidelity record that is not signed to any major distribution, and features the beats of other rappers- which you would rap on top of, with your own lyrics.  The beauty of a mixtape is that they are inexpensive to produce and allow an artist to test new content or rap styles outside of their major-label release. 

Free Mixtapes not only allow you to test new content, but to get that content out to new audiences.  In one year (365 days), at the height of Lil' Wayne's mixtape hysteria, he released 300 songs!  Based on what he learned from those 300 songs (which ones were played most, what parts of the country liked each song most, etc.), he was then able to go back to the recording studio to record his own high-production studio record.  It should be no surprise that his next record, the 2008 blockbuster "The Carter 3" shattered record sales, breaking records that had been untouched since the days of the Backstreet Boys and N'Sync nearly a decade before.

Takeaway Principle:
Make Mixtapes. Allow yourself to test new ideas that might just turn into your next BIG idea.

4. Make the Chorus for a 5th grader or Drunk Person to sing along with.

In business it can often be easy to over-complicate things, using big words that customers do not understand.  Industry knowledge can be a gift, but sometimes also a curse, because the average consumer does not know what you are referring to if you are using big words that they are unfamiliar with.

Artists that have the ability to pack stadiums and receive radio airplay have mastered the art of simplification (and repetition).  I like to describe this as making a chorus that is easy for either a 5th grader or drunk person to sing along with.  Let's look at two chorus' from recent years that have done a great job of simplification and repetition:
 
Outkast: "I Like the Way You Move"

I like the way you move
I like the way you move
I love the way you move
I love the way, I love the way

I love the way you move
I love the way you move
I love the way you move
I love the way, I love the way

Can you believe that?!  Talk about easy to sing along with!

Some might say that this is too simple, but if you step back, it's hard to argue with success.

Takeaway Principle:
How can you simplify the communication with your consumers?  What big words can you remove and how can you repeat the most important information?

5. Have DJ Khalid produce your next big hit.

As a business owner or manager, when was the last time you brought someone in to actually help process your business with you?  Who do you have in your life to challenge you to try new things?

In rap music the Producer holds a lot of power.  They do much more than push buttons on the sound board, they engineer hits.  Right now one of the hottest producers is DJ Khalid.  He doesn't even have to rap on a song to make it a hit.  His signature "And another one," at the beginning of a track let's you know his fingers were on it, and then when his featured rappers take vocal aim at the mic, it gets very hot in the studio very fast.

Producers take rapper and help them see new opportunities because a producer is only relevant as long as they make hits.  So if you need to make a hit, and hit that next level of success, it might be worth it to lend your talent to the guidance of someone that could have a bigger vision for you than even you have for yourself.

Takeaway Principle:
Sometimes you need to have someone else in your corner, who believes in you and points you towards bigger/better things.

Check out Part 2 of this post for 5 other things that Title Companies can Learn from Rap Music.