Ego: Why You’re Allowed To Have One


What is the difference between being egotistical and being unapologetically driven in an industry so narcissistic, competitive and cutthroat? And at what level of confidence is someone considered too caught up in his or her ego? In my opinion, your answers say a lot about you and less about the people labelled as such. *Kanye shrug*

In the rap world, the word “ego” has been over-used and beaten over our heads more than swag, bae and turnt up. From the artists to the managers, down to the publicists, the title has evolved past a Yeezy remixed Beyoncé classic and is now used as a near derogatory term to lessen somebody’s credibility in the music businesses.

Oh her? She thinks she’s so important. Him? He’s Hollywood…

And the problem is?

Really though, when did having an ego become such a bad thing? And I’m not talking about narcissism, self-indulgence and selfishness, because it’s just common sense that those qualities are bad for business and make it nearly impossible to work with someone. I’m talking about self-pride, confidence and buoyancy. Those seem like positive qualities to me.

But many people, who hold those qualities, including myself, have been called the E word. Maybe I’ve been hanging around too many rappers…

This isn’t the food industry, a non-profit organization or some corporate world. It’s diss tracks, video sets and after parties. It’s rap. And rap is boldly proud.

That isn’t to say that we should walk around with our noses up in the air, but that definitely doesn’t mean we should keep our head down either. Keep a level head. The music/media industry was built and thrives on personality, inner-strength and work ethic. To be any type of successful, you need to trust yourself, your own capabilities and know that you’re worthy of your spot, because if you have one, there’s thousands of people trying to take it from you. It’s ugly, hectic and will swallow you whole if you don’t have the strength in your shoulders to carry it. Of course, half of us “ain’t shit” (that is to say, we aren’t who we want to be, yet), but if we went around broadcasting that, where would we be? I prefer to #werk #flourish #GetEm. Because I do that with a pure motivation and an authentic drive to better myself and reach my goals and despite anyone else’s opinions, there isn’t much more of a humble approach than that.

Yes, narcissism can masquerade as confidence, but the opposite can also be true. Many times, the word ego gets thrown around at people who are truly attempting to make a name in their respective industry. People that work hard for everything they’ve accomplished. We’re so set on this crab in the bucket mentality where we are so programmed to hate to see others’ wins that it’s blurred our vision. Rather than accepting the fact that it is jealousy that births such bitterness, we reflect our competitive insecurities on another person, calling it ego.

But it’s like that saying goes: your enemies will broadcast your failures and whisper your victories. Stay woke.

This is hip-hop. We’re allowed to be proud, we’re allowed to be boisterous and we’re allowed to celebrate our personal achievements. Because coming from the bottom and making something of our careers, our culture and us is worthy of that.

After three years, some hard lessons and some labels of my own, here’s what I know about ego in an egotistical industry:

1. It’s okay to be unapologetically gratified. If you did something and you are authentically delighted with your accomplishment, celebrate it. Don’t let anyone take those personal victories away from you and spoil them with their own bitterness. You did that.

2. Always keep a role model. It keeps you hungry and humble at the same time. When you have someone to look up to, you are continuously striving for greater things and consistently growing, rather than getting caught up in what you’ve already accomplished.

3. If you can still admit to your faults without excuses and PR smear campaigns, than you still have enough humble in your blood to grow and move on.

4. Be personal rather than so promotional. No one likes the person on social media always talking about what they’ve done. Sure, it’s important to be a brand, but no one’s going to ever be happy for a brand. Be human and be you.

5. It’s much more accepted for a man to be considered egotistical – Kanye West, Jay-Z, Drake, 50 Cent, Future, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Joe Budden, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. – but I guess that’s why they call it cocky. It is difficult for a female to evolve from bitch to boss in the eyes of everyone else, but the grind doesn’t lie. Keep working.

6. No one likes #fakeimportance – the people who stay on Twitter all day to remind everyone how relevant they are – but they don’t like #fakehumble either. Yes, that’s a real thing.

7. You control your own confidence level. It’s not for anyone else to decide how confident you are allowed to be. And if they try to take you down a peg or two, they probably aren’t around for your best interests anyway.

8. No matter what you feel about yourself – always make sure you can back it up.


Previously published by Urbanology Magazine

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