The Artist and the Producer

A year before Eminem was a loved/hated rap genius, he was a lonesome and struggling innovator that looked out of place and rapped about his mom’s spaghetti, when everyone else was gangsta.

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If you’re a technology inventor, you know the struggling stage. To innovate is to be a misfit, a non-conformist and a seeker of the new. Until you’ve broken through, you are on your own, with too few resources, and surrounded by a world that doesn’t want you. Drive, determination and belief in oneself are required of every artist.

We recently rewatched the documentary about Eminem connecting with Dr. Dre. Dre recognized Eminem’s genius immediately and their collaborative productivity was sparked in their very first meeting. It’s thrilling to see how they play off each other: Watch a 10min clip about their first encounter here.

It’s an intimate look at the symbiotic relationship between genius artist and producer. When the artist has made the courageous leap into the undefined new space, the producer is the first one to follow and jump in there with them - this too an act of courage. When Dre partnered with Eminem, Dre provided the resources for production, marketing and distribution. These means were critical for Eminem to become a published artist, but insufficient for his success. Dre provided something else that was not financial: He provided the beat and the sound. Eminem’s lyrics alone were raw and unappealing to most listeners. Dre integrated them into a sound that was familiar and accessible to the market. With Dre’s beats, Eminem’s personal and vulnerable lyrics became widely beloved music. Their first album earned Eminem his first Grammy.

We see hard tech innovation working just the same. Fantastic innovations can be overlooked by the market if not framed right. So we formed Rhapsody to be “producers” and not just investors. We work with the artist, the genius hard tech inventors, to create commercial success. We know the industrial customers and partners: their language, what pains they have, how they screen and evaluate new innovations, what economic pressures they have, what budgets they have available for collaboration and acquisition, how they like to structure contracts and engagements. When we partner with a founder, we provide financing; more importantly, we become the premier evangelists of the innovation. We jump in with our time, network, expertise, creativity, and not in the least: our conviction.

The symbiotic relationship of co-creation between the artist and producer depends on a deep trust in a joint mission. The inventors we meet have fought through a long and improbable journey of resistance and sometimes ridicule from other people. In the partnerships we form with innovators, we recognize the non-conformists in each other. Beyond that, we simply do the work together, from the first phone call on.

by Ro Schenck and Carsten Boers