Speech, a member of Grammy award winning hip-hop collective Arrested Development, spoke with students of Clark Atlanta University Wednesday evening. The students were given the opportunity to ask the legendary rapper in-depth questions about his experience in the music industry.
"Entertainment is the first call that changes the things of this earth," Speech said. "Whoever controls the minds of the youth controls the whole world. They control the society. Entertainment plays a big role in the environment we have to maneuver through."
The rapper, who boasted about attending the university for a semester, was more than happy to share stories of growing up in Milwaukee, the hardship of low record sales, signing bad contracts and being a member of one of the most innovative rap groups during hip-hop's "Golden Era."
"I encourage all of you interested in getting into the music industry to look at it as a legacy, because that's what it is," Speech added. "You come from, in my opinion, the most powerful legacy that music has ever seen period. We [African Americans] have contributed some of the best music that the planet has ever heard."
Speech also encouraged students to "listen to their inner voice". He also noted the importance of originality in artistic expression.
"The pressures of this industry are extremely strong, some of it being internal from just wanting to fit in and wanting to make it and some of it external from your labels or management or fans," Speech said. "At the end of the day, you still are you and you have the ability to deny whatever people are trying to put off on you."
Speech stressed the significance of being true yourself and reminded students that there are various ways to accomplish your goals without compromising your dignity.
The lecture kicked off a series of talks called "Industry Insider." The series is designed to give students a firsthand look at various aspects of the entertainment business.
"I'm an artist myself, I rap and sing, so a lot of the things he said were very helpful and inspirational," said Davunta Harris. "I will definitely apply some of the advice he gave to my music career."
Industry Insider was put together by Linda "Pearl" Fils-Aime, who teaches a leadership in business course at Clark Atlanta.
"I decided to put this series together to give students some insight to the entertainment business and to also help them learn the business side of the industry," said Fils-Aime. "I'm in the entertainment business myself and I wish I had someone to give me this insight while I was in college."
During the event, the institution announced that Clark Atlanta's school of business will begin offering a sports and entertainment management minor in fall 2014.
Although Industry Insider is slated to be a monthly event, a date for the next event is yet to be announced.
Speech also invited students to a mixer for entertainment professionals called The Mixtape. The event, which is free to the public, is held every first and third Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The event is scheduled to take place at The Green Room.