The best way to be the best

In a Hot Ones interview, Pusha T says:

“I am the Martin Scorsese of street raps. That’s how I want to be seen. Even just creatively, Scorsese gives you The Departed, Goodfellas, and a host of other joints. You never say, “Hey, I want him to make a love story.” That’s how I want you to look at me rap-wise.”

I’ve written about positioning a couple of times recently (#1, #2, #3), and Pusha is one of those artists that really locked his positioning down. 

That doesn’t mean he’s relegated to a niche. He’s working to expand his category too, taking street raps into a more conscious direction, and also considering mainstream collaborations that explore it from another perspective. His relationships with Ye and Pharrell further enable him to create incredible music that breaks beyond a niche sound.

You don’t have to be the best to everybody. You just have to be the best to somebody that you know—or have decided to get to know—better than most other people.

And in order to do that, you have to define what you’re not going to do, and who you’re not serving or making things for.

When that happens, your brain naturally focuses, learns how to make better work, and opportunities start coming your way. You also draw in people who appreciate artistic integrity and count on you for your expertise.

Don’t try to be the best for everyone; aim to be the best for someone, and define who you won’t be the best for.

Inspired by Pusha T, and Rob Fitzpatrick’s Write Useful Books.

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