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  • Tristan Acker

Hustle Til You Drop (and then I did)


In March of 2018 I fell ill with perforated diverticulitis. My stomach burst after years of neglecting my physicality in pursuit of artistic and intellectual hippie-ass types of satisfaction. I always agreed with the instagram-era indie hip-hop ethos of "hustle til you drop", "you are the label and the business", "only you will do the work to make your artistic dreams come true" etc. and all that’s true but there are other kinds of health and work that are required of a functional adult that it’s all too easy to ignore. I had a drain in my stomach for two months, I was on disability for 3 months, I had a surgery and everyone kept asking why a 30 year old dude was having these procedures for an illness that usually happens in one’s late 50s and beyond.

I have to constantly remind myself that stopping to swim or get my steps in or maintain my yard are all part of a larger health that is required in order to do art. And now when I do art, the priorities are different: I accept that I’ll have even less time than I previously thought I had to make art and now it’s more about what works do I need to have made before I die? It’s less about spitting to show I can do certain kinds of cadences and styles and more about singing, about finding the right words to express my truth and what I think I have to bring to the conversation of poetry and art.

There’s a detached, condescending, laughing, relentless tone to much of the marketing on social media about hustle, hustling, business, entrepreneurship, marketing aimed at people in indie hip-hop and there’s a lot of value to it but I think people will be healthier if they learn to keep it in perspective.

I actually think the culture has gotten better about this within actual practitioner artists like Curtiss King, Viva Mescal, Noa James and many more – people are incorporating socially responsible, progressive and mentally healthy ideas into their artist development materials intended to help artists to succeed at their business. I wasn’t paying enough attention to the better resources like them and others that would have reminded me that we only have one vessel and you can’t make any music without it. The developing rap artist development YouTube Instagram dot com industrial complex health consciousness is something I’ll be watching and writing more about in this blog.


Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for Zus Entertainment, a Jooseboxx and Untapped Hip-Hop contributor, and member of the Inland Empire, California based nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers

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