Sunday, December 18, 2011

Artists' Images That Work Effectively With Status, Genre, Brand Or Message

Images In The Urban Scene
What comes to mind when you think of rap artists and their style? Do most rap and hip-hop artists wear baggy jeans, sneakers, long silver chains or the like? If so, does this style work for them? Why or why not? What about artists such as Marilyn Manson or Lady Gaga? In comparison to mainstream culture does their rebellious or unique attire play as a disservice to their artistry or does it work well with the image or message they convey?

Image Is Important Wherever You Go...
We all at one point in time have been obsessed with our image. Most of us have high standards and because of that we believe that first impressions are of great importance. Whether it's a job interview or you are heading to an audition, you should always-if not already-focus on making the best impression. You may wonder how can you do this and question whether you can or not. The truth is you have the potential and can do so, simply by making sure that your image coincides with either your music, your label, your contract, your message, what's fashionably trendy in your music genre, your established career in the industry or a particular culture. Lastly, this image must work for you and must not be a disservice to you or your artistry.

How Do Artists Do It, Image Wise?
So how do artists in the music industry select the perfect image that not only meshes well with their music, brand or the number of years they have been involved in the business? There is no easy recipe or formula on what works best. If you are an aspiring rapper, established rapper or singer trying to get back into the urban scene there are a few things you must consider before embarking on an image that may make you or break you. 

What Image Is Best For New Artists?
If you are starting out and need direction on what image and apparel will work best for you, then you must ask yourself the following questions.

1. Does your record label have a theme, image or message   
    they like to convey?
2. If you are a female rapper and have a contract, does your 
    contract require you to dress a certain way?
     A. If you are a female and the label requires that you    
          dress sexy and appealing is there a street  
          theme attached to it in the terms? For example, such 
          as the image of a female stepping out of social norms.
     B. If so are you comfortable with that? 
     C. Do you need to portray yourself as "hard" just as your 
         other male rapper counterparts?
     D. Do you have any endorsements and are what are the           attire requirements?
3. Are you an established artist or an upcoming artist?
4. Does your material convey a rebellious message, love  

    theme, does it embrace manpower or does it posses an  
    image such as a hardcore lifestyle or street life?

Choosing An Image....
Whatever route you go, that is, if you do not have a stylist, or are not bound to a legal contract and your label's style requirements then, choose an image that puts you ahead. Great examples of artists who are managing their image effectively are Jay-Z, Little Wayne, Rhianna and Nicki Minaj. 

The Established Rapper Look: Jay-Z
Jay-Z has a strong standing career in the hip hop scene. Today his image represents an image of a "well established rapper." Rarely dressing like the new hip-hop artists of today, who often wear baggy jeans with their hats to the side, Jay-Z's image is luxurious and it suits him very well. His videos are splashed not only with your no-so average priced liquor, but also with luxurious attire, fancy suits, beautiful companions and expensive rides.

Images Of Female Artists
Female artists such as Rhianna and Nicki Minaj are versatile but do maintain effective images that work for their music, their label and whatever genre they decide to experiment with. Nicki Minaj not only maintains a sexy and a "out of the social norms" look when it comes to women but she also maintains the "hard shell" image that is often required as a female rapper. Rhianna is always playing with her image, specially when it comes to playing in different genres. The one image she always maintains throughout her music and regardless of genre is the "young sexy rebellious" look. This can be tricky because changing images often may not work if it is not done correctly. In some cases provocative images are looked down but on the other hand, the truth is that sex sells. Rhianna's "rebellious and edgy" look allows her to transform and reshape her image as much as she likes and this works well with her music and the message she conveys.

I'm So Good, I Can Wear The "Whatever Look"
Little Wayne's look is unique and despite his jail time, his signature look of fitted skinny jeans, dreads, shades and a classic white wife-beater works quite effectively-with everything he does. Having a unique look is a privilege and and not all artists can embark on this look. Why not? Well, if you have not been in the rap game for a long time and people do not know your content, this image will not work for you. Little Wayne on the other hand, is charismatic, is well known and people love him so much that they could careless what he wears. In other words, they respect him for his music and that is what drives his fame-not his clothes.


Image is important and in the entertainment industry specially the music industry, the image you choose not only must sell but be in line with your label as well as with your contract's terms. If you are not bound to any legal terms then use an image that puts your best foot forward and not in the backseat.



  1. Image is our presentation to the world and it is very important to be sure the image we are reflecting of ourselves is the one that we really want to show out! great post! I am a first time visitor and a new follower! Merry christmas!

  2. Great post. My sister is a singer/song writer and she certinaly has cultivated and maintained her image through the years. She is her own walking brand and people recognize her as a result every where we go! LOL

    As an actress I've been working on cultivating an image outside of my corporate look or the stuffy librarian look I wear to the office. If I'm not creating a character look for auditions, wwhen it's time for me to step out I put my best foot forward at all times. Cultivating my brand online and off it certainly of importance.

    Thanks for sharing these tips.


  3. Nice post! la imagen siempre es importante :)

  4. Great post - image is absolutely everything. Whether you perform or not. If someone wants a job in corporate america - they need to look the part. If they don't, it will be tough...regardless of their resume.

  5. Image is the 1st thing and so key to a successful business brand.

  6. I think no matter what industry you are in, you are nothing without your image. Great post!

  7. Thank you for the comments and the support ladies! Most grateful!

  8. great post, image is everything!! Love you blog theme!

  9. I love Jay-Z's look. It truly is the established "I'm a business man" look. I love Rihanna also and, you're right, she does change her image but maintains a sexy rebellion vibe. This post go me to think about my image. I tend to dress feminine but not overly sexual. I love romantic clothes. So maybe I have a hopeless romantic and youthful vibe? Lol.

  10. Great reminder to always look our best! Its true -- if you look good, you feel good, and good things happen. Best wishes for 2012!

  11. look your best best memo anyone can have you just never know love it great post !!!