So, there are many aspects of going viral that I learned this year and even more this past week from going viral for rapping in a Nor’easter with Fat Joe at a Knicks game.
“the Fat Joe opportunity was a product of me performing on the street hundreds of times in NYC”
Whether it happens for the right reason, fits your brand, or is just from you being yourself, there are many reasons one could go viral. It depends on many things you are doing and narrowing into what you are good at. In my case, I have been rapping for 20 years and just this past year I figured out how to make a move to a new city and create things that really work with the environment I live in.
In my very specific case, it is New York City. If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere. Now it is time to tell more of my story of what it means and what I have learned about being 40 years old on Worldstar. Get with it kids. I am getting booked at Pawn Shops and we love to see it.
1. Attention is attention – For those who don’t know, the Fat Joe performance isn’t the first time I went viral. My first time was getting hacked by ISIS in 2014. Before that, I had a song in a Bud Light Superbowl commercial with Jesse Shatkin in 2012 and trended on Twitter for Vans Warped Tour in 2015. Just because you are trending news doesn’t mean magic happens. You have to use it to fuel the next thing in line and promote the promotion.
2. Back to the basics (rapping) – Since working the corners was fun but uneventful, I decided to go to major events where a lot more people could be more excited. I did the Rose bowl. I did the NFL Playoffs. NBA Playoffs.A Verzuz battle as Moses with Takeoff from the Migos. I did the Grammys and got a $50,000 commercial with Chevrolet. and then told the story in a TEDx talk. When you get your basics to get seen by millions, you don’t need to go viral because you always are producing at a higher rate. The basics never fail. Good raps. Good songs. Time. Investing in yourself. Showing up early and staying late. Staying late was why I got 9 million views the other week. I was supposed to leave but I didn’t. Fat Joe is viral for nearly everything he posts. He is at that celebrity level and has the power to continuously produce micro-content that is seen consistently by millions because he has produced multiple songs and albums that have been digested by billions and hundreds of millions of times.
3. Having a proper team in place – I recall that my Superbowl lick was seen by 100 million people in the 4th quarter. I could’ve parlayed that into something bigger but I burned through that money quicker than I thought and didn’t get right back to work. I was coasting and I wasn’t as hungry as I am now. The Fat Joe co-sign has led me to reach out to so many since I have 9 more years in the music business now. Agents. Bloggers. Journalists. Managers. Lots of people have reached out to me, including UNILAD, who made a documentary that is at 428k views, I was able to make a lot of it happen from all my past mistakes. Next time I will be able to make it even bigger as I learned so much from this time around, just like the 2nd marathon I ran this weekend. I ran it the 2nd time and improved by 22 minutes. Now I even have NFT ideas and I am breaking into that space.
4. Create the story you want – Not all news I have trended for is good news. When I was hacked by ISIS it was bad news and people were scared. When you fight against bigotry, racism, and antisemitism, a big spotlight is on you but it is trauma news that you are viral for. When I trended for Bald Fest, it was a comedy musical performance and my face wasn’t used, yet it got 20 articles including the NY POST. Now every year I get to curate this festival and get loads of press.
The Fat Joe performance was hopeful news and gave people that special feeling of inspiration for our dreams. For that reason, I manifested flying to his show and him seeing me in the crowd and pulling me on stage to perform. That actually happened, but I would’ve been ok if it didn’t. Now I am manifesting the next great thing to happen. It takes action and it is ok if I don’t know what it is. I just have to continue to take action and get out there.
5. Showing so much love to everyone – It is very addictive to see your numbers shoot up so rapidly. I gained 8k Instagram followers off about 8 million views. My TikTokgrew by the thousands. The bigger pages were shared and some didn’t tag me properly, yet I still thanked them. Keep telling your story because there are 7 billion in the world and if 8 million wanted to hear /see it in 8 days then I assure you the rest of the world should see it too.
If anyone asks for your help and time, a simple comment on their Instagram is awesome and means a lot, or even a heart or response. I love it when people appear on my page and show love and share my work, especially when I don’t ask them to! If you are having a slow day after your viral high, show lots of love to people. It means twice as much since you are the hot one.
6. If you are seen more now start asking for more $$$ – Everyone is excited about virality. I saw Fat Tony go viral on Complex while deejaying a party. He stated once that attention leads to more opportunity. Now that we have received abundance, make sure to ask for more opportunities. My average price for collaboration and shows was $500-$2500 and now I have already asked for 2 to 4 times those amounts and no one has looked at me like I am crazy. I only say this because I never thought it was possible to ask for more but many of my friends who I started within 2009, 2010 like Macklemore (we did shows in 2009) and G Eazy (warped tour 2012) and Mod Sun have been charging and scaling up since they started. This is par for the course of an artist. I am 40 and still rapping on the street. As humbling as that is, it is also inspirational to younger people because it introduces them to humility. I know that because I have received 100s of messages since it happened.
I opened for J Cole and played a festival with Mac Miller and Kendrick Lamar. How am I on the street? It is challenging for me but I knew I could reach more people if I reset my career now. Humility is a popular trend now in the media because authenticity is a real connector. Being humble is what people actually brag about if that makes sense. Do what works for you and then ask for more if it goes.
7. Go Harder NOW – Do you want to have one big video with 1 million views or 20 videos with 50,000? The chances are that if you go harder, you are more than likely to create the opportunity you wish you have. In my case, the Fat Joe opportunity was a product of me performing on the street hundreds of times in NYC. Now isn’t the time to stop and now more people are likely to book me (which is proof of “asking for more”) Keep sending your video every day to people. Travel to Complex Con or SXSW or Sundance Film Fest ( I do all of them!) Get them to see it, share it, and get them to love it.
8. Create more out of your virality into storytelling – Since I have posted about the viral video from shade room world star etc, I have gotten about thousands of more views on my story indirectly, from telling it on my own Instagram to podcasts that have been large and small. Watch UNILAD do a short documentary interview and my own short interview as well as one with the BTSN Network I recently did in LA.
9. Analyze your entire moment and utilize it – There were many things that happened to me. First, the $20 that fat joe gave me was controversial. (should he have given more or less? ) The umbrellas were everywhere and now I have new merchandise from that day. The rain was so bad that I got asked to be on the Fox Weather Channel with the dancing weatherman. Fat Joe also did a song I knew word for word when he joined me. (off Big L’s The Enemy)
I believe my slogan “WE OUTSIDE TILL WE INSIDE” will be a movement to have me play the halftime show at the Knicks game. The Knicks are winning and that is a whole movement in itself!
10. Meetings meetings meetings – I was proud to tell Fat Joe I didn’t have a perfect team but I am working on the perfect team. A new publicist for helping me tell this inspirational story on daytime TV. A new manager to navigate acting and rapping. A booking agent that believes in me 120 percent and can find stages from streets to festivals to concerts and speaking appearances. A record label who wants to sign me. Who knows? Maybe you are reading this right now.
11. Analyze all your attempts – I have popped off for rapping in a blizzard, in multiple suits in music videos from Red Blue, and green to rapping as Moses, and even as an astronaut! This time it was with an umbrella. What will I do next and continue to do and how will I change things?
12. Don’t try to go viral. Just be dope – I know that sounds cliche, but just know what works with your environment. NYC is a city where the slogan is ONLY IN NY. If you are only in NYC you can also be “only in Chicago, only in North Dakota, or only in Texas.” Find what works for you where you are and make your magic happen. Make it unique, special, and positive. That simple formula never fails in the long run. This will empower your fans and empower you to have more confidence in doing new creative stuff. I have made hundreds of songs. I did this “new stuff” this year because I was bored of rapping for 15 years and no one knew my songs. If you made it this far, I hope you get a second listen to my work now, which is produced by hitmakers like Sam Barsh, Jeremiah Raisen and Kool Kojak on my new album Nobody Cares Except You
As I continue to ride the wave of telling this story, I hope you all figure a way to tell yours.
Kosha Dillz is a hip-hop artist that thinks in the mind state of “We Outside till we Inside“ and plans on playing the Knicks half-time show sooner than later. Hit him at his website koshadillzworld.com or @koshadillz on Twitter or Instagram.