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    Tips From The Stars: How Do Hip-Hop Artists Overcome Stage Fright

    How do Hip Hop artists overcome stage fright 1
    ‘His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, there’s vomit on his sweater already – Mom’s spaghetti’ – when Eminem uttered that famous line during the soundtrack to his critically acclaimed debut movie ‘8 mile’, surprisingly, the bleach blonde rapper wasn’t trying to convey the shortcomings of his mother’s cooking.
    How do Hip Hop artists overcome stage fright 2
    Moreover, the profuse sweating and regurgitation of some two day old Bolognaise could be attributed to the sheer panic his 8 Mile character Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith Jr was feeling before going on stage. Indeed, ‘stage fright’ as its known in common parlance, is a phenomenon that has plagued music performers for centuries. As far back as the 1800’s it was reported that the Polish American pianist Leopold Godowsky was so nervous that according to the on stage that he could only play at his best in a private setting. Another pianist, Vladimir Horowitz, is probably the worst sufferer in history. He stopped performing on several occasions, for years at a time, after losing his battle with nerves.

    And despite all the cocksure swagger and bravado many of Hip Hop’s biggest stars can give out one hundred years later, stage fright and indeed performance anxiety doesn’t discriminate, no matter how confident one may appear.

    In fact, it may not be an exaggeration to say that performance anxiety or the fear of ‘choking under pressure’ is the single biggest barrier to success in waking life and the reason behind it, according to psychologist Roberto Forzoni when speaking to Betway Insider is down to the human species’ innate tendency to always think about the future consequences.

    “It’s a thought process,” he says. “Rather than thinking about what you do, you think about the consequence.”

    And in the case of our 8 Mile protagonist Rabbit (see clip below), it’s clear his ‘thought process’ lays firmly with what his rap battle opponent and indeed the crowd, will think of him.

    Furthermore the scientists at the University of Pittsburgh are in agreement that this state of high alert can play havoc with the brain’s basic functions and decision making processes, which explains rather aptly why Rabbit was quite literally lost for words in one of 8 Mile’s opening scenes.

    But away from the fictional world of inner-city Detroit, how do some of the world’s biggest hip hop stars stay on top of their game before going on stage? We scoured the depths of the Internet and hand-picked some of our favorite rapper and singers’ best tips.

    Kanye West gets a haircut

    Whilst on the face of it, it may seem a little odd (we expect nothing less of Kanye), Kanye West’s penchant for a pre-show haircut actually makes a lot of sense.
    How do Hip Hop artists overcome stage fright 3
    Appearance is closely tied to one’s self worth and by ensuring that his high fade is as slick as can be, Kanye is purposefully giving himself an extra dose of confidence before spitting bars on stage.

    Slim Shady pumps some iron

    Now a veteran to the rap circuit, along with Lunchable Snack Packs, Eminem apparently requests that a couple of 25 pound dumbbells are sent to his dressing room before he goes on stage. Much like hip hop rival Kanye, Shady’s need to workout before a concert could be tied to appearance not to mention the increased bloodflow from doing a few sets of bicep curls could help him think more clearly when on stage.

    DopeThought gets spiritual
    How do Hip Hop artists overcome stage fright 4
    You might not be surprised to hear that DopeThought, a rapper whose name was literally spawned from the idea that positive thinking can produce extra amounts of dopamine in the brain which can lead to happiness, may use positive self-talk to help battle his demons on stage.

    But as well as this, whilst speaking to the Salt Lake Tribune, the Utah-based rapper who is a devout Christian spoke of how he uses his relationship with God as a way to mentally prepare backstage:

    “Go off alone, definitely pray. I’m spiritual. I practice natural breathing, ask God to help me spread the positive message.”


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