Entertainment is one of those job fields that doesn’t necessarily have a standardized set of requirements. One does not need to be particularly skilled at it in order to be successful. It’s kind of like prostitution. As long as the
paying customer leaves satisfied, then the mission has been accomplished, no matter how it was accomplished. All entertainers – regardless of their subdivision – have one thing in common, though; their services are based solely on the attention garnered. Without said acknowledgment, any activity is fruitless.
Acknowledgment doesn’t just magically happen. Anything that has ever attracted your attention did so with a catch, or a gimmick. The gimmick pulled you in, & that’s all it’s designed to do. Once your focus has shifted in that direction, it’s up to the gimmicker to deliver a product, solid or otherwise.
In relation to rap music, a gimmick can be a tool or a curse. The difference between the 2 is the difference between relying on something, versus utilizing it, if that makes any sense. For example, über-rapper DOOM wears a Dr. Doom mask, all the time. To the average rap fan, this could be seen as a ploy to get you to give him a listen. Even if it’s only to find out why he wears it. But fans of his music know that his skill has nothing to do with his outward appearance (#shoutout to his employees). DOOM would surely be just as talented as he is without the mask (because he wasn’t wearing a mask with KMD), but only a blind man wouldn’t be curious about what appears to be a
crazy guy rapping with a hot ass helmet on Hip Hop super hero. DOOM is the perfect example of utilizing the “gimmick.”
The downside of the gimmick’s trajectory finds it being a crutch, & far too often is that crutch not strong enough to support an entire career. For the sake of attention spans I won’t roll out names, but you smell my cologne. On a more general scale, however, there seems to be a lack of “gimmicks” these days, which renders the artist afloat in a sea of surrounding mediocrity. & it’s not that the artist is specifically mediocre, but with nothing to separate one’s feathers from the rest of the flock, you’re just another bird, so to speak.
The ‘Net literally leveled the rap game playing field, & now it may be more important than ever to have a “gimmick.” The more bells, whistles, & shiny things you have attached to you, the quicker you’ll stand out. As long as you have the strength & endurance (read: talent) to keep standing out, then the gimmick is more of a talking point, & eventually becomes a memory to the fan & artist alike.