By Baha Hamadi, Board Member of the Public Relations & Communications Association
At first glance, public relations (PR) and rap music might not have much in common. One is a high-stakes profession that requires continuous innovation and strategic thinking, while the other is an artistic outlet that often mesmerizes with its allure of thrill and adventure. But scratch below the surface, and you'll see that these two industries have more in common than you might think.
So what does rap have to do with PR? Turns out, quite a lot! Let's take a look at some of the ways these two seemingly disparate worlds are actually quite similar.
Both place a premium on storytelling
In communications, we often talk about the importance of storytelling. A good story can humanize a brand, change perceptions, and create emotional connections with audiences. The same is true in rap music. A good rapper is able to tell their story in a way that is captivating, relatable, and memorable. They paint a picture with their words, whisking listeners away to another world where they can see themselves in the characters and scenarios being described. The best rappers are masters of storytelling, and the best PR pros strive to be as well.
Both require excellence in writing skills
Great rappers are known for their lyrical prowess. The ability to rhyme and tell a story using metaphors and similes is an art form, one that takes years of practice to perfect. Likewise, PR pros need to be excellent writers. After all, much of our job revolves around crafting compelling pitches and stories that will get the attention of the media. We also need to be able to write clear and concise press releases that get our clients' messages across effectively. Like rappers, we need to know how to play with words while remaining truthful and authentic, so that we can engage our audiences and deliver the results our clients are looking for.
Both require thick skin
The rap world can be brutal. If you're not on your game, you will get eaten alive. The same is true in PR. We deal with rejection on a daily basis, whether it's getting passed over for an opportunity or having a pitch rejected outright. It's part of the job, and you can't take it personally. You just have to get back on your feet and try again. Success in this field is earned through resilience.
Both require an understanding of human behavior
People are complex creatures, and understanding what makes them tick is essential in both PR and rap. In order to persuade someone to see things your way or buy into your product or message, you need to understand what motivates them and what drives their decisions. Only then can you craft a strategy that will resonate with them on a deep level and achieve the desired results.
Bars and delivery
Both PR and rap are industries that rely heavily on the effectiveness of not only the written or spoken word, but also one's delivery. Whether it is writing clever hooks or spitting out verses with perfect timing or delivering speeches, if you can't captivate an audience, you won't last long in either field.
Both involve connecting with people from all walks of life
PR pros are very good at reading people – it's one of the skills that we use on a daily basis when we're trying to secure media placements or partnerships for our clients. We're able to quickly assess what someone's interests are and what will resonate with them so that we can better tailor our pitches accordingly. The same skill comes in handy for rappers who are trying to connect with listeners from all different backgrounds. In order for their music to resonate, they need to be able to understand what people want to hear – and more importantly, what they need to hear – and then craft their songs accordingly. The best rappers are able, through their music, to connect with people from all walks of life, which is something that any good PR pro should aspire to do as well.
Public relations and rap may seem like two very different things, but they actually have quite a lot in common. Those working in either field need to have certain qualities and skills if they want to be successful. So the next time you're crafting a pitch, remember: you might have more in common with your rapper friends than you think!