Boy do I have a fine kettle of fish for you today.
Here’s a true story:
Many years ago, when I was but a fledgling high-schooler, I found my first true love:
Early 90’s Hip-Hop.
Now this probably isn’t the same hip-hop or rap you’re used to hearing on the radio.
This type of hip-hop is specifically referred to as “golden era” or “boom-bap”.
But unlike other sub-genres of music, “boom-bap” hip-hop is classified less by it’s sound than by it’s underlying principles.
And these principles include:
Sample-based beats (specifically samples of “rare” cuts taken directly from vinyl for that true analog sound)...
Improvisation, play, and the continual breaking of “sonic boundaries”...
A heavy focus on word play and complex lyricism...
And that last point is extremely important to your pal MC Tryonius. Because, as you’ve probably gathered, writing, language, stories, poetry, mythology, and the intersections of all those things is what lights me up like a drunken Jack O’ Lantern.
As a certified English major, I’m fully qualified to say that some of the best and most interesting poetry written in the English language has come from this very curious sub-culture called Hip-Hop.
One of the poets that I consider a master of craft, goes by the stage name “MF DOOM”.
And there are tons of “cloak-and-dagger” branding lessons we can learn from MF DOOM (also nicknamed “The Supervillain). Lessons like:
1) A full-fledged backstory involving the death of his brother, jail time, homelessness, and, eventually, his “return to society” as a “villain”
2) “Hijacking” cultural narratives and mythology to flush out his stories, giving incredible depth to the yarns he spins (for example, he riffs off Al Capone-style gangster culture, comic books, TV cartoons, and more and more)
3) Consciously creating a cast of characters, specifically, he says, because it helps him tell more of the story
4) Creating a veritable world (complete with the above cast of characters, accomplices — such as other musicians he collabs with — and a distinct vernacular)
There’s a million dollars worth of branding secrets laid out right there for the keen observer. And while those aren’t things that will make you sales tonight, they are things you can begin implementing in your products, copy, customer service, etc, to begin building not just a following… but a rabid horde of fans.
Which, by the way, MF DOOM has one of the most rabid and “ride or die” fanbases of any musician, hip-hop or otherwise.
But there is another very interesting thing MF DOOM does with his albums that can be easily and profitably applied to your product creation.
Just a note before we dive in:
This is truly the “long story short” version. There’s a lot of depth to what I’m about to explain. So please use your noggin and think about it to get the ultimate benefit.
Basically, here’s how I see it:
Every one of MF DOOM’s albums does a few things… 1) Fits into the overarching “world” he’s built with his persona (did I mention he wears a mask and NEVER reveals his face)... 2) Is completely “self-contained” and unique from all his other albums.
When you create your products, I suggest you do the same.
So that every product you create — from the title, to the uniqueness factor, to the benefits, to the cover… — feels wholly like you. Almost to the point where someone in your audience could pick it up, start reading it, and instantly know you created it (MF DOOM’s music is like that… I’ll hear the intro to one of his songs, and instantly I’ll have a feeling it’s him).
But at the same time, every product you create is a whole new experience for your audience.
Because MF DOOM is influenced so much by comic books, we’ll call this the “Comic Book Model”.
Basically, each issue of the comic book fits into the overall story of the specific hero(s). But each issue tells it’s own story… in it’s own way… with it’s own message… and own vibe.
The curious thing is that all my favorite musicians are like this. It’s not just something MF DOOM does and it’s certainly not something that’s only done in Hip-Hop (and yes, I see this done by extremely successful and profitable businesses).
Anyway, I think I already gave away too much valuable information today. But hey, sometimes I get excited and give away the goods.
But I do like to spoil you.
And now a final note for those who already have products lined up and ready to sell:
If you want to discuss what it takes to get me on your team to write profitable emails to your list, hit “reply” and spill the beans on how I can help.