Young Guru has been the man behind Jay-Z, Kanye West and other musical luminaries, first as an engineer and then as a producer, arranger and conductor. His R & B parallel would be Quincy Jones.

He knows the key to longevity.

One of the problems is that we are quick to compare our modern day careers to those of the past, which is like apples and oranges. Instead, you need to have gratitude and humility for the power we currently have today.

You have way more power than your predecessors

On the TIDAL Rap Radar podcast, Guru says musical artists today showing off about their accomplishments is the equivalent to basketball players comparing themselves to the teams before the 3 point line.

It's amazing that the 3-point line was invented in 1969 and officially implemented in 1979 - within my lifetime. Here's the official USA Basketball website:

In the late 1960s, when the ABA introduced the 3-pointer, a generation of coaches had to rethink everything they knew about the game, and it made things hectic. One ABA coach admits that at first, he never used the 3-pointer unless his team was losing late in the game and was desperate for points.

Both players and coaches obviously adapted, to the point where the newer generations have made 3-points their strategy.

Similarly, Guru shares that financial success comes much easier to today's music artists: Streaming services give passive income once dominated by radio; YouTube allows artists to build their own following; and so on. Even a certain amount of music streams count the same as someone purchasing music, which means "selling" a million copies of a song isn't the same as it was even a decade ago.

Take advantage of your advantages

The point isn't to disparage you as a modern day creator, but rather to inspire you with the strengths you have over your predecessors. You can self-publish a book and have it become a best-seller without an agent or publisher. Charles Dickens? He didn't have that, nor did any generations after until now.

It also means you shouldn't talk about how difficult it is for you, or how much you've earned your place, as your privilege - even coming from low resources today - is well above people in the past.

Instead, honor the advantages you have, build within what you've got and let go the comparison game, especially to the people that came before you. There is nothing productive that can come from the past.

Published on: Oct 31, 2018