When education fails you, let the streets be your guide


Why are all school dropouts doing better you ask?

You know, I used to wonder about this very same thing too — not only these annoying dropouts have the nerves to tell us how working for someone sucks and that our education ain’t gottta get us anywhere, but — they always have some sense of entitled duty to remind us that we’ll never acquire their wealth too.

If that was not enough, they flexing with some fine “trophy girlfriend” on Instagram, checking in overseas via Facebook at some five star rated hotel with a view you only get to see on Top Billing, all of this as documented via #PremiumLife on twitter.


So me being me, I started to study them, they are not all special, ok maybe a little, phela making something of yourself without necessary support or back up is a mission. For that, I’l give it to them. One thing I noticed that drive dropouts is their lack of security, a degree, a job, a qualification to back them up unlike the ordinary you and me.

So what do they do everyday? They Grind, Hard.

What about when they get an opportunity? They slay, badly so.

I’m not here to glamourise dropping out of school don’t get me wrong education is equally important as is everything else in this life thing. The real issue comes with how we apply such education in real life.

Think Kanye West, Drake, K. Lamar, Cassper Nyovest, Richard Brandson even the late Steve Jobs, God. All of them are hella rich and you my guy with a degree, you’re is still speaking your English in the fancy Sandton offices while sipping that Starbucks coffee, just so another pay day arrives — life’s great fede but we won’t ignore or otherwise pretend that their success without some formal qualification or education is non-existent, No. We can’t, cause they snapchat this on our face just about every bloody day!


So, what’s really going on?

My observation and a few explanations come through a series of things I found thanks to this space technology thing called the internet: Two of these are obvious and are presented in “theories”.

James Clear’s 10 000 hour rule and Talib Kweli’s Hip Hop lessons:

James Clear is strategic writer, I’ve been following his writing for years now and in every writing he presents, there is always a method or a strategy on how to be a master at what you do. One of the strategies he shared is that you need to invest at least 10 000 hours (i.e. 10 years) into your work. If you are a writer, strategist, researcher, musician, programmer for instance, to be truly amazing, to be at a master level — you must spend 10 000 hours perfecting your craft. Only then will you be considered as a true master of your craft. Anything less, you’ll remain a mediocre. Oh, that’s not James that’s just me rubbing it in.

Still with me? Sweet!

Secondly, some lessons on the origins of Hip Hop from Talib Kweli:

The story on the origin of hip hop published by Cuepoint shares an interesting theme and I coined it as: Let the streets be your guide. Talib goes as thus:

“Hip-hop was primarily created by black and Latinx youth living in the South Bronx in the 1970s. During that time, highways were being built through poor neighborhoods, destroying the fabric of these communities. Along with budget cuts to programs designed to help poor people of color, these changes disenfranchised many. Arts and after school programs were cut, and rather than being in safe learning environments, many kids took to the streets for their education. They created new slang and a rebellious fashion. They plugged into the lamp posts for power and made up new dances while the DJ played the funkiest part of a song over and over again. They created a new form of poetry, a new form of music that they used to express their pain. Like the rose that grew from the concrete, hip-hop became a quite literal response to systemic oppression faced primarily by poor people of color” Talib Kweli Greene. “Hip-hop as a culture is based on skill, as long as you have skills, you will be respected regardless of race.”

Read that last sentence again, skill, acquired through the streets.

The Productive Hobbies Narrative:

The difference between education and the streets is that the streets requires a more practical approach, a hands on type of an attitude that’s why very few never start or finish their projects, that mixtape or EP my guy, where is it?

I write this knowing well there’s a bunch of you, a whole lot lot of unemployed jitas and cherries chilling , or probably hustling for an opportunity to break in, Stop right there and hear me out. Some will say volunteer (Don’t do this) while others will say work for free (Don’t do this either).

Instead, find that one thing, that sweet thing you like, worthy of your pursuits, be it producing beats, singing, writing, soccer, netball, coaching kids — that thing which will showcase your true potential. I call these productive hobbies, stick to that thing, forever — no seriously, NO GAMES, for the next 10 000 hours of your life. If you are employed, that’s even better, your cheap busy life excuse mustn’t cut it: run a marathon, record a mixtape, write a book (A Dummy’s Guide to The Financial Market or Engineering or even Programming whatever the case) , cycle for charity, sponsor a cause on education, help kids in the rural areas with math, God, something but remember one thing: do it full force.

Merge your skills with the 10 000 hours of nothing but hard work. This is probably why some of us write a lot, read a lot, and invest a lot of time in our companies. Think of it this way, a flower or a rose is never attractive if not fully blossomed. No one wants a thing that looks like a flower or has a potential to be one. This is you. People just look for a beautiful flower or a rose and take that. The same is true of talent, your education and everything a person does. The more you craft, the better you become, you blossom and then, the more attractive you become, like any other set of flowers.

As a house head, this reminds of my all-time favorite house music producer Da Capo. The story of how I discovered Da Capo is odd. Da Capo used to produce what I call “fast house” it was very popular back in the days. Fast house sounds something like Sgubhu sa Pitori, remember the early days of TK le Ma Eli and Mujava? (You’re too young if you don’t and it’s cool). My lil’ brother used to annoy me with his music, this was early 2005 or 2006 (I think), but as time went, his music and sound started to change, I began to nod to his beats and that’s when I became a fan. His production quality to date is of international standards. In fact, Da Capo is the only young producer who has the capabilities to produce a track that is of similar quality or greater than those of Vinny Da Vincci, Ricardo Da Costa or Ralf Gum, producers who are the ancestors of the industry. It took Da Capo that long and one thing I will tell you is that Da Capo spends a lot of time producing, that’s how you craft and master. That’s how you blossom.

This is what Drake did (hmm, not sure though), but this is also what K. Lamar did, and so did Casper Nyovest (In fact, Cassper Nyovest tells us that he has been in the industry for 10 years) imagine.

The lesson is simple. That’s what it takes, in business, and career and in the little productive hobbies. For your passion to fully blossom like a colorful flower, we must be willing to grind until the axe go blunt. Before you know, you’ve got the street cred. The flower is brighter, and attractive to the eye. No formal education enables this.

So then, when education fails you, take it to the street for your education, spend that 10 000 hours perfecting your craft, hands on, learn, create, produce beats, code, sing, write, coach kids, run a marathon, record that mixtape, write a book, craft and blossom.

Be a master.