5 Hidden Messages in Hip Hop Music that Can Aid You on Your Path to Success

By: Kyle Colley

I know what you are thinking, how can I learn anything of importance, from a genre that is commonly seen as intolerant to social norms?

Well hopefully after this list of five hidden messages in Hip Hop, you will see that Hip Hop artist in many ways can give you the upper hand in succeeding in life, if you are able to obtain these conveyed points.

1) Wordplay

Hip Hop artist have a way with words regardless if it is positively or aggressively spoken. Linguistically, listening to Hip-Hop music will improve your vernacular and open your mind to new words and ideas.

Also, the way certain artist express sophistication on the mic can be seen in J.Cole’s verse in “Dead Presidents II” when he says, “I guess the flow pro-tested like a sit in.”

Being able to decipher good wordplay from bad wordplay can aid you in success because who does not respect a smooth talker and someone with the confidence to speak bars (bars meaning powerful/volitional sentences).


2) Hustle Mentality

Not the illegal aspect, but the mentality of outworking and being one step ahead of  everyone in your field is crucial in being successful. There is a false stigma, that some Hip Hop artist luck up upon a hit that excels them up the charts and into mainstream stardom. By claiming they achieve their accolade by luck is blasphemy because it downplays the early mornings and goal driven nights dedicated to their craft.

Hip Hop legend Nas alluded to this in his Hip Hop classic “NY State of Mind when he said “I never sleep because sleep is the cousin of death,” meaning he is always ambitiously moving by not letting the streets (or sleep) catch up to him.

To accompany Nas’ lyrics, 50 cent (Curtis Jackson) along with 48 Laws of Power author Robert Greene,  published a new manuscript, the 50th Law, which is also a hustle mentality and a principle of success which is fearlessness.

Moreover, by going the extra mile conjoint with a strong sense of fearlessness will contribute to your success because fear is a state of mind and will limit you on the path to greatness.

3) The rags to riches story

This idea is one of the most compelling points, because Hip Hop artist preach an important message… learning from and surmounting failures. This is such a vital principle of success because failure is often alienated and avoided, however according to Napoleon Hill, “failure carries with it the seed of equal or greater benefit.”

The rags to riches stories also highlights the importance of perseverance, another necessary trait of successful people. In Aaliyah’s hit song “Try Again” lyrics such as, “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.”(Although she might be alluding to something else the lyrics are nevertheless motivational) These lyrics are used to promote succeeding in your endeavors.

A person’s ability to make the most and capitalize on every opportunity provided is a fundamental key to their success.


4) Confidence

Hip Hop artists are undoubtedly confident. Think about any of your favorite artists’ lyrics and you will noticed the self confidence rendered steeply in their rhymes. Now look at yourself or anybody else you considered successful, and you will see and hear self confidence radiating from their voice as they speak.

Lines such as “ I believe there is a god above me, I’m just god of everything else,” uttered by Pusha T in his song “New God Flow”, displays the confidence you need to have in yourself no matter what endeavor you face in life.

Furthermore, confidence is essence to your personality, and everyone has the ability to be confident when they are ready to believe themselves, which all successful people do.


5) Creativity/innovation  

Musicians in general let their imagination wander when they produce music, and it speaks volumes to their creativity level. Albums are the musician’s final art masterpieces that are cumulative of their innovation.

A great album is like a great movie or book, that takes you on a journey and when you arrive at the end of the recording it has a definite impact on how you view the world (To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar is a great example of this) .

Any successful person knows that having creativity and innovation is fundamental to their beings, because it allows them to be unique and express who they are.

Successful people also know the importance of the imagination within them. Although most of the world wants you to think linear and put you in a box, the successful person does not accept normality, and emancipates the mind creatively from such captivity.

Proverb: Since we spend so much of our lives listening to music, we might as well yield some uncanny success tips from it. Life is the sport, and learning is the game, the people that score the most points (knowledge), end up in the hall of fame.

Kyle Colley is a rising sophomore political science major from Denver, Colorado who attends Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. 


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