Sonidos y Mas

The Coolest Hood Has Free Admission, But It Comes With A Price to the Artist.

Stunta "IMMA HARDHEAD" feat. Sho Stoppa and Yung Kleva Music Video from G Films on Vimeo.

What did The Joker say in the flick The Dark Knight? "If you're good at something, never do it for free." It's what we were taught by our entrepreneurial mentors growing up. It's simple enough to understand. It makes sense.

But there's a business term that contradicts that phrase and it, too, can have a monetary payoff - later. It's called "sweat equity." It's when you put skin in the game to get long-term, substantial capital gains down the road versus immediate, small ones. Essentially, you work for free, temporarily, until your efforts pay-off big. Let's take it out of the college classroom and bring it to life through hip-hop terms.

Ben Westhoff recently wrote a piece on Chamillionare in the Houston Press, which mentioned that the artist cracked Forbes's list of top-earning rap stars of 2008 at No. 14 with an estimated $10 million. But think of the countless hours Chamillionare spent in the studio, the time it took to guerrilla-market his music to build an awareness, the number of bars spit that were never heard and the countless mixtapes that eventually led to a reputation, that led to a following, that led to low-paying road shows, that led to slowly building a Houston household brand-name, that led to a major-label deal, that finally turned into $10 million.

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Contributor Rolando Rodriguez is the co-founder of Trill Multicultural.