Malcom Gladwell popularised a concept in his book, Outliers, known as the 10,000 hour rule. Based on a study done by the Swedish psychologist, Anders Ericsson, this rule states that 10,000 hours of conscious work are needed to become a master in any field that requires cognitive ability.
Music is a field where the biggest stars seem to make it early. Whatever contributes to success in the music industry (talent, looks, connections, etc.) seems to blossom at a tender age, before those 10,000 hours are even possible. From the Beatles to Justin Bieber, we are left to admire – sometimes envy – young successful artists.
But lately, I have come to appreciate that in music, the 10,000 hour rule does not only render one a master. It also contributes to creating a much more unique and personal sound. It seems to happen to artists whom fame has eluded at a young age but that persist in their craft. I have not scientific basis for this claim, but I would like to share three artists whose skill seems to be the result of a slow simmer. Sure, I have only come up with a list of black, male rappers, but I’m sure there’s all colours of the rainbow out there!
This Californian drummer/rapper/singer seems to have been doing his 10,000 hours partly in Church and partly in a a torn-down prohibition bootlegger jazz club. His unique format, swagger and catchy tunes are what finally made him break into the limelight. He was nominated at the Grammys in 2016 with the album Malibu.
Be it because of religious conviction or simply because he matured, I have to admit that I enjoy the transformation in this rapper’s career. His early albums (2008) sound like any other struggling hip-hop artist, swearing, using simple rhymes and poor backing tracks. Over time, however, he has developed much more profound thinking and a unique style. I must say, I find his produced albums lag far behind his live performances with the band.
Who is this MONSTER from Schweinfurt, Germany, who ONLY shows himself on a few Youtube videos? He may be young, but a fluent English, impressive vocal technique, rich lyrics and performance style can only suggest he’s been putting in 10,000 hours somewhere…
Hope you enjoy as much as me, and please share any other artists you may find!