A highly respected lecturer, entrepreneur, activist and, of course, Hip Hop legend with three decades of rapping excellence under his belt — when Bun B speaks, people tend to listen up.
The UGK veteran graced the mic at SXSW in his native Texas earlier this year, where he dropped jewels about the music industry during a fireside chat as part of the Earn Your Masters panel, a collaboration between UnitedMasters and the Earn Your Leisure podcast.
Bun B’s full keynote speech finally premiered on YouTube this week, and Royce Da 5’9 was among those listening intently. On Tuesday (June 21), the Detroit rapper shared a clip of the Trill OG dishing out valuable advice to young artists, explaining why the bottom line is more important than sales or plaques.
“Once you realize you don’t need a million people to make a million dollars, you’ll be a lot better off as an artist,” he said. “‘Cause numbers in that sense are cap. How many records you sell is cap. How much money did you make off the records you sold? That’s what this shit is about.
“You can walk around with a platinum plaque and hold your head up high because that is a major accomplishment, but you can’t eat off that muthafucka. There is no cheque that comes with a platinum plaque if you don’t do your business right. So you gotta decide if you wanna be famous or you wanna be rich because in the music industry and entertainment, that is on most levels two totally different things.
“You don’t know the richest people in entertainment. You think you know ’cause you seen people on TV; they’re nowhere near the richest people in entertainment. Puffy, Hov, Russell [Simmons], maybe. You never heard of Clarence Avant ’til they put that movie on Netflix! That man was instrumental behind the scenes for 40-plus years! You don’t know the richest, powerful people in entertainment. You just know who TV tells you is important.”
Royce captioned the video with “Napalm Bomb,” while veteran producer/executive 9th Wonder commented, “SAY IT LOUDER.” The Roots’ Questlove also co-signed Bun B’s advice by leaving a fax emoji.
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Elsewhere in his Earn Your Masters keynote speech, Bun B spoke about the importance of embracing change and listening to younger generations, what Rap-A-Lot Records founder J. Prince taught him about business and why “fake it ’til you make it” is a flawed mentality.
“I didn’t get this far by thinking I knew everything; I got this far because I was willing to admit I didn’t know everything,” he said. “It’s very hard for people to get in front of people they admire or want to work with and tell them you don’t know everything. You always want to seem in that moment like you got all your shit together, right? Fake it ’til you make it.
“That’s a lie, don’t follow that motto. Because you gonna end up in the workplace having said you could do some shit, and then you can’t perform and you can’t come through, and now that’s your reputation. If you don’t know, tell somebody you don’t know. If you want to know, ask somebody. You would be surprised how many people would love to pass this game on, but probably a lot of times people come up to them acting like they know every goddamn thing.”
Watch Bun B’s full keynote speech below.