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How to manage an artist | 12 Tips from Busta Rhymes manager Chris Lighty

Today I want to shed some light on Chris Lighty's management rules to live by. Chris Lighty who was Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliot, and Diddy's former manager, to say the least, and creator and founder of Violator Records and Management, took his job and career seriously. These are his top 12 rules to live by when it comes to artist management. For all of my aspiring managers out there I highly suggest you check it out!

1. Don't drink or get high with the group.

2. Get your group out of town the night before you're supposed to leave.

  • If you're not in town for the after-party to get in trouble, you won't get in trouble. This means your group's game has to be tight because you're leaving out at 2 or 3 in the morning. Especially if you are the tour's opening or middle act, don't break night at the hotel. Be the first act in the next town so you can headline next year.

3. Get your group to places on time

  • This means if the wake-up time is 7 a.m., you have to be up by 5 a.m. you'll quickly learn it takes at least an hour and a half to two hours to get any group moving.

4. You got to have a psychiatry major.

5. You must lie

  • Sometimes it's your only option.

6. Find out who in the group is the traveling leader

  • Remember, whoever is the leader on record may not be the traveling leader. Notice who's waking up quicker and use him/her to help keep the others in line.

7. You have to watch Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and learn Jedi Mind Tricks.

  • 9 out of 10 artists don't want to go to Radio or retail, but you got to get them there anyway.

  • If you treat them right, the groups will eventually come to you and be like, “What are we doing tomorrow?” if you do your job well then they'll begin to rely on you to make all their moves for them. They won't move unless you move.

8. Develop an immunity to lack of sleep.

9. Be careful about what you eat on the road.

  • When outside of America, learn to read and find the basics. When I was in Europe, I survived on bread and water.

  • Don't be afraid to hire a chef on the road. Bite the bullet and pay the extra money. Fast foods too dangerous. The only Mainstay that's probably a safe bet is Mickey D's.

10. When staying at hotels, don't forget the concierge

  • It's their job to help you. They can help you find a restaurant and get your laundry clean.

11. When doing a show don't bring your group to The Venue until you have your money.

  • I wouldn't come down to the venue unless I got half upfront and half before I brought the group into the building.

12. Get the group to focus on money and not girls.

  • Every now and then you gotta say shit like “yeah, remember those rape charges L and them nigga’s caught?” and “This guy got arrested and they locked him up. " You gotta bring up the foul shit every now and then. Be prepared to be the bad guy.

Before becoming Big Willie CEO of violator records in Violator management, baby "Chris Lighty got his rep as the tough-nosed, ever-efficient Road Manager for the Jungle Brothers. A key figure at Red Alert Productions, he coordinated tours with the J.B.'s, A Tribe Called Quest, Brand Nubian, and De La Soul

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