"Jack of All Trades, Master of None"
It’s hard to believe but when I began my journey as a hip hop artist 20 years ago I didn’t view being multi-talented as an advantage, instead I viewed DJ’ing and producing as two separate interests which would inevitably force me to make a “fork in the road” decision one day.
At the time I believed that a lot of my lack of success could be attributed to the fact that I was wearing too many hats at once. Back then my logic was simple: the time I invested mastering one talent was time stolen away from working on another. In addition to my logic, back then it wasn’t common to see other hip hop artists do everything at once and voluntarily take on the role of promoter, graphic designer and/or booking agent in addition to what they were already great at.
DJ Q-Bert had a reputation for pushing the limitations of DJ culture by inventing new scratches while producer Madlib specialized in diggin’ in the crates for one-of-a-kind loops. Even the exceptions to the rule, like the multi-talented DJ Premier, seemed to rely more on using his reputation as a beat maker who could chop up any sample rather than showing the world the image of himself as a live turntablist.
Today being a specialist at one thing is not only overrated but becoming obsolete. Being multi-talented is now recognized as a skill in itself and has become the new norm for creatives. Although being a “jack of all trades” can be a weakness (especially if you are merely average at doing 37 different things) being exceptionally good at 5 different things can be an tremendous advantage.
If you are a “jack of all trades and master of none” then let go of the idea of one day arriving as a “specialist”, instead lean into being multi-talented and continue “mastering” doing a handful of creative disciplines exceptionally well.