How This Famous Rapper Hustled to Become a Successful Investor | Chamillionaire on Impact Theory | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "How This Famous Rapper Hustled to Become a Successful Investor | Chamillionaire on Impact Theory".


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Intro (00:00)

I've seen some things that I wouldn't wish on any kid to see. So I'm like, it just doesn't seem that scary to me. And if you fail, so what? You know, you start over, you do it again. But most people that fear failure is the thing that I think prevents them from really being successful. And then also, it's like a lot of other things that are just difficult to do. You know, when you tell people the answer to success, it's a lot of hard stuff. You gotta work hard, right? Nobody wants to hear that. Everybody wants a shortcut, you know? Some people understand that. They appreciate the progress, you know? If you tell people right now, "Hey, if you want to lose this many pounds, this is what you got to do." There's no short solution. But every time there's still people out there selling whatever herbal life treatment or whatever, they try to get you to quick, short route. Because people believe that, you know what I'm going to do with the easy way. And if there is no easy way. - Hey everybody. Today's episode is brought to you by our very own Impact Theory University. Enjoy the episode. Hey everybody, welcome to Impact Theory. Today's guest is a Grammy Award winning artist known as much for his business savvy as for his musical talent. Through his music, he's traveled the globe, sold millions of albums and won countless awards. He's raised the covers of some of the most popular magazines on the planet and been featured by virtually every major music outlet that exists. But that's about as far from where he started as you can imagine. He grew up in the inner city of Houston, Texas. But after his next door neighbor was shot to death during a home invasion, he realized that somehow he had to get out and get out he did. Through insanely hard work, developed talent and a deep understanding of marketing. He took himself from selling his mixtapes on the streets to becoming a multi-platinum best-selling artist signed to one of the largest labels in the world. His smash hit, "Writing Dirty" not only made him an international celebrity, it broke ringtone records and raked in a Grammy, a BET Award, an MTV Award and more. But even all of that success did not slow him down. And since then, he's found tremendous success as a serial entrepreneur and tech investor. He's launched multiple companies, including a tour bus company, a high-end custom auto body shop and an app company, as well as investing in several mega success enterprises such as Lyft, Maker Studios and several others, cementing himself as a legitimate angel investor with a jaw-dropping string of wins. So please help me in welcoming the CEO of Camillitary Entertainment, the mixtape Messiah himself, Camillionaire. Oh, man, what's up, man?

Cham'S Journey And Key Success Principles

How Cham Worked Smart (02:50)

You're the best at Camillionaire. Dude, it's funny. The key is to bring people on who've done amazing stuff and you have done incredibly surprising things. You're definitely not somebody who has followed a typical path really at any point in your life. And what do you attribute that to? How'd you not succumb to just what everybody was telling you to do? Man, that's a good question. I think it was really just watching and observing. I felt like I was a very perceptive person and I used to see people in my early years have success and people fail. Some people took her out where they started selling drugs and then I see the result of that. And I was one of the people that was trying to avoid those pitfalls. Like even earlier when I started doing music, I saw so many people that got bad deals or talked about the music industry like they wouldn't make money. So me watching that so much, I was trying to reverse engineer what I saw. And I was sit back and I was kind of quiet. I feel like I'm an introvert that knows how to act like an extrovert. But I was super quiet and I used to just watch and I feel like observing helped me a lot. Yeah, I actually get that a lot. So I'm equally, maybe ambroverted is the right way for me to say it. But I consider myself a pretty deep introvert who definitely likes to listen before I speak. And I would say that's been a big part of my success as well is sort of drink it in and then pick a path and go that way.

Being - Smart Is Bad - and Playing Dumb. (04:18)

How do you deal with when people are telling you, you said something once in an interview that really hit me and you said, you know, I'm now in a space where the people that I grew up with look at me like being smart is bad. And I've had to learn to play dumb. So how do you simultaneously navigate it? So you're not oblivious to how people are feeling but not lose who you are. Yeah, super tough. You got to balance it because early, I used to be the guy that would always be in everybody's ear, telling them everything I thought they should do. But I realized that you kind of got to hide the medicine inside of Kennedy, you know, because people will often like, you know, rebel from that. You know, they don't want to be around that. It's like oil and water, you know, it feels like you're looking at them and judging them. And, you know, you think you're better than them, all these different things. So even though it was rooted in one of the seed people actually succeed, it actually came off wrong to people. But it was just in my nature. I guess it's from my parents, they used to do it, you know? And I felt like I was helping people. But then over time, I started to learn the better approach, the way to like lead people to the water but not force them to drink it, you know? And I felt like that was way more effective. But when you start to grow and you start to, you know, seed things, sometimes, you know, you lose people. I have friends that never left the north side of Houston. Like, they've never seen the other side of the city. And, you know, somebody could laugh at that. To me, that's like, man, you don't have ambition to want to see that side. Some of them are like, nah, I'm stuck in my ways. And they feel like they're doing it for real reasons. They keeping it real and it's staying so loyal to this thing that raised them. But it's like, you could still be loyal to your side of town by knowing what the other side is about. Matter of fact, you might know how to help your side even better by understanding what's happening on the other side, you know? But saying this to somebody sometimes can come off wrong. You have to find out how to communicate. So I've always had that struggle with how to communicate things that I think are valuable to people. And over time, I feel like rapping kind of taught me that. You know, it taught me how to articulate my thoughts. Because you're seeing a lot of things and you're going to music to explain it to our audience of people. And you have so many different types of people that you're talking to. You know, you got some people that come from the background that you come from. You got some people that have no idea what you're talking about and everything's foreign to them. But how do you articulate these things to people and get everybody to care about it? I think people can focus on your passion. They can tell when you're authentic. All these things you start to hone in on and get really, really good at. And then people will start to listen, you know? I used to go to this church on the north side. And there was a guy one time that was a pastor and he used to have braids. And he used to come in and he used to talk to us just like he was one of us. And everybody used to listen to him. And the other guys would come and they'd have the button-ups and nobody listened to them. And I saw that over and over. And I was just like, he's a pastor just like he's a pastor. But everybody listens to him because he felt like he was just one of us. He used to play basketball with us. He used to do all these things. And I always had these things rusting in my head because you almost feel like you're not, you don't belong a lot of times in all these different places. As an African-American kid in the city, you're in certain areas and people are looking at you like you don't belong. You go to church and they're looking at you like, what are you doing here because you show up with a hoodie? I remember one time they were having an open gym. And I wanted to help all these kids in the city come and have a place to play basketball. So I spent a lot of time putting up the basketball goals, doing a lot of stuff. And then I went home to watch stuff. So I could come back and play basketball. And then I come back and they wouldn't let me in. And they're like, excuse me, sir, this is only for the members of the church. And I'm like, I just spent the whole day putting up-- and I was so mad. I was like, arguing with this guy that wouldn't stop me. And then that guy with the braids came in. I was like, no, no. And it's just that little understanding of welcoming. I saw sometimes when I would see example of that, I would try to be that. And try to be like, you know what? I'm going to be more of not trying to judge people and trying to help them be the best that they can be. And it started transitioning to music. And then it transitioned to entrepreneurship. And then it just became something that now is just like my daily life. Do that story about people living their entire life in one half of the city, let alone actually even getting outside of the city.

Lacking Fear. (08:20)

That kind of freaks me out. It is akin to the very thing that drives me to do impact theory, which is I really believe that person just has a false belief, a limiting belief, something like you said. He so prizes loyalty to the city or to the neighborhood or whatever that he thinks it's a betrayal to go outside. But if you could just like flip that switch, he could have an entirely different life. Like you said, even just going over there to explore to find ways to make his own side of town better would be, I think, a pretty objectively better life for him and for the people around him. If you had to say, what are the beliefs or just worldview that you have that's allowed you to be so successful?

Biggest Belief that Prevents From Succeeding (09:04)

I think the number one thing that keeps people from being successful is their lack of their fear. It's thinking stupid of fear of what? It's a whole bunch of different forms. Sometimes it's about the people around you and how they'll perceive you. Because maybe you grew up in a household where things weren't accepted or maybe your parents didn't accomplish things and then they put that insecurity on you. I used to have a little bit of that. I used to write my raps in super sloppy writing on purpose. Because my dad used to come. He used to look and he's like, what is this? He used to ball it up and throw it away. So I started writing sloppy on purpose to make it look like it was schoolwork. These are the things that I feel like sometimes it prevents people from being who they want to be. Because all it takes is somebody wanting to take a step. And there are certain things that a lot of people in this world are sitting there thinking in their minds. And they're just not going to do. I used to always try to pull a lot of people and be like, you can do this. You can do this. But the people that hear that motivation over and over again, sometimes they take that step. Some people just have it in them. Early it just starts. And they just get in the muscle memory of just doing things. There's so many things in our lives that we are scared about, but we're still here. We made it past all these things. I just, I guess during my life, I saw so many things that seemed scary and was able to make them through. That it's just like now, the things that seem so scary to people is just not as scary to me. When I think about venture capitalists and tech and entrepreneurship and all these people from MIT and Stanford, it was a little intimidated before I got into it.

Fear of Failure (10:38)

But I was like, if you've seen where I came from, what I've been through, I've seen some things that I wouldn't wish on any kid to see. So I'm like, it just doesn't seem that scary to me. And if you fail, so what? You start over, you do it again. But most people that fear of failure is the thing that I think prevents them from really, really being successful. And then also, it's like a lot of other things that are just difficult to do. When you tell people the answer to success, it's a lot of hard stuff. You got to work hard, right? Nobody wants to hear that. Everybody wants a shortcut. Some people understand that. They appreciate the progress. If you tell people right now, hey, if you want to lose this many pounds, this is what you got to do. There's no short solution. But every time, there's still people out there selling whatever herbal life treatment or whatever to try to get you the quick, short route, because people believe that, you know what? I'm going to do it the easy way. And if there is no easy way. So when I tell people that, it's very blunt. It's very straight to it. You have to want to do it. But the best way I try to explain it is like, I think somebody was telling me the story one time. I thought it was really great. They're like, when you're chiseling on a rock, you could chisel for a long time. And you could chisel 100 times, 200 times, 300 times, and it won't break. And then when you get to 5,000 times, it finally breaks. But all the work that you did is what made it break. It's not like you just, the last one just broke it. You know what I mean? It takes that, but sometimes people don't want to start that journey. They don't want to get on the mission of becoming the best that they can be. But I think people like me come from places where we're motivated by things that we're not trying to go back to. Sometimes it's a very dark place. It's all kind of things that you're just trying to put in the back of your head, compartmentalize, and just move on. But that thing will kind of push people like me to kind of be successful. And I think that's why I see so many friends and people that I know that made it out. Entrepreneurial, I think about all the successful people you know, LeBron James. Like, you go back to their stories, you'll see single parent and so many things that you wouldn't wish on other people, but we're propelling them to try to succeed. And I feel like everybody needs a little bit of that push. You know? Kind of like a kid falls and bumps his knee. And there's one parent that will kind of cuddle the kid and the other ones like, you know what, just let them live life a little bit. You know, I think everybody needs a little bit of that and needs to bump their knee a little bit and understand that it's not that bad, you know? - Yeah, I've heard you say that sometimes it's good to have your back against the wall. I have a theory about the inner cities. So I've worked in the inner cities a lot. And one thing I've noticed is that the inner city breaks almost everyone that it touches. But there are a few people that manage to be so transformed by it, whether it's out of, I never wanna go back, whether it's, it just hardened them and they had to be smart to survive, whatever it is.

Turning point (13:18)

There's a certain set of lessons that some people learn that then propel them so hard so far, so fast, out of the inner cities that they go on to accomplish just truly extraordinary things. Needless to say, put your name among those people. So walk us through, like, what were some of the key moments that you experienced as a kid and how did you end up interpreting it in a way that pushed you forward, even if it was just, I have to get the hell away from this? - Yeah, I feel like there are a lot of moments where it's just like light bulb click.

Hustling (13:58)

But I feel like one thing that I had that a lot of people don't have is, even though I had a lot of experience seeing the stuff that happens in our communities, I also had access to the other side, you know? I got to see what was possible, you know? My father and my mother, they divorced, and when they divorced, my father was living in a separate place, and my mother, and my mother was the one that was living in a hut, you know? My dad was living in a, I guess, middle class, kind of, we're still poor, but he was still living in the middle-cast community, and I would go back and forth, you know, and I had a friend up the street who had everything, he had, you know, almost like the Legos with the big house, and the train going through the Christmas tree, and all that stuff, and I used to look like, "Man, I remember one time I went, "and I was eating at their house, and I sat down, "and then, you know, after eating, I was gonna get up, "and then his mother's like, "Wait, where you going? "Time for dessert." And I was just like, "What? "Dessert? "Like, I never ate dessert with my parents, ever." You know, so I was just like, "What? "Y'all you dessert? "Like, cookies and brownies came out?" I was just looking like, "Man, this is crazy, "I want this, you know?" So going back, and then now seeing your mother eating, you know, cereal for dinner, you're like, "Nah, we not doing this."

The big move (15:13)

But then, other moments happen where, you know, the moment that you referenced earlier where a neighbor got killed, I was actually doing some promoting, passing flyers out of the club or something, and you know, we used to get paid like $100 or something to do that. I was coming home, and you know, we used to live in this efficiency condominium on the third floor, and I see the door open, somebody sticks his head out, he's got a hoodie on, and he closes the door, and I already know what that means, so I like tucking my chain, take off my watch from my watch in, and I walked through the door real quick, and there's three guys with hoodie on, and then I see them, and I'm like, "I know how my hair like, what's up?" And none of them say what's up back to me, so that's when I knew I was like, "All right." You know, and I ran all the way up the stairs real quick, and ran into the apartment, but I'm like the king of running silently, like I'm the king of that, like, so I did it really fast, I got in there, I closed the door, and I'm looking at the people, I see, and I'm just sitting there, my heart's breathing, and then in the morning, boom, boom, boom, boom, police officers are not going to door, and they open it up, open it up, halfway sleep, and they're like, "Did you hear the gunshots?" And I was just like, "What, what gunshots?"

Shutting the Door (16:22)

And I looked next door, and they got taped all over, and on the walls, blood, and you're looking like, "What, what, was that supposed to be me?" You know, what happened, and at that moment, my relationship with the police kind of just was different, too, because I'm thinking like, I saw something, and they didn't even care really what I saw. They were really just going through the motions and asking me just 'cause they were supposed to ask, they didn't really care, you know? And now, after they leave, we're still there. Whoever came and did this is like, still knows, and I was just like, you know what, this is, you know, and my mother, she's like one of these people, she's like the nicest person in the world. Like, one time I gave my mother money, and she went and gave it out to kids in the street, she's like that, you know, she doesn't need it, she doesn't want it, she tries to take her money and go to Africa and build wells, all kinds of stuff like that. So, she looks at humanity in a positive way and always sees the bright side of it, you know? So, I was just like, "Nah, we gotta get out of here," you know, and it was just something that just lit, you know? The thing I find so interesting about people that change their circumstance, you know, whatever form that comes in is, inevitably there's a period of head down where no one believes you're gonna be able to make it, but that person, they keep putting in the work, what did that look like?

What It Takes (17:23)

Like, what does it actually take to become, I mean, dude, for a while, you were like the most famous rapper on the planet. So, what does it take to go from absolute obscurity to, you know, super stardom? Is it, you have to get good at the actual flow, so that's gonna be part of it, the writing side of it? Promoting, I mean, talk to me about pressing the records, like, what actually is that path? What is the sort of nutshell version of getting good at something? - I feel like we spend way more time in our own minds than we do talking to other people.

Urgency (18:08)

Like, you really spend a lot of time trying to figure it out. There's all these thoughts that come to you, whether it's like, you know, things around you, people talking to you, people close to you, things you see, TV, whatever, and you're bringing in all these different things, trying to figure out your path in life, you know? So, I think it starts with having some like real understanding of what your strengths are, you know? Like, how do you audit that? I feel like it's about being honest, you know? A lot of people just aren't honest with themselves. You're telling yourself this thing, but you, like, there's so many people that say, oh, I'm gonna be an entrepreneur, I'm gonna do this, and if you really dive down into it, they don't really believe it, you know? And that's okay, you can unlock that, but you have to figure out how to unlock it. There's a conscience that's sitting right here telling you this thing, and you try to brush it off. You have to be very honest with yourself. And then if you're not, that doesn't mean you can't succeed, it means that now you're very honest, and knowing you're not as good, then you can work on getting good, but if you think you're already good at it, you don't work on it. So, I spent a lot of time just reflecting on like, man, what am I good at? Like, I used to think, like, I'm going to the NBA, you know? I was unrealistic about it, you know? You start to see people that are way bigger, way faster, and you're not telling yourself the truth, you're just like, no, I'm going to the NBA, like, so-- - When did you tell yourself the truth about that? - I think I never told myself the truth until something else started just knocking on my door. You know, it was like, I used to be at a school, and people would be on the table, and they would just start rapping, and I would just watch them. I was too scared to, like, jump in, but I knew, when I watched them, I was just like, man, I could do it 10 times better than this guy, you know? And they used to freestyle, so it'd be like, not even writing stuff down, just off the head, making some rhyme, and I knew I was good at that, 'cause at home, in my own head, I used to do that all the time. - Take me back, you're seeing this stuff, but a lot of people saw it, not a lot of people did something with it. So how did you learn it well enough to act upon it? - When you say learn it, what do you mean, like learn it? - So I'm imagining the kid watching the show right now. He sees your name on the YouTube link, he clicks it. He probably wants to have a similar kind of success. What vein I don't know, maybe he wants to be the greatest teacher of all time, maybe he wants to be an investor, maybe he wants to be a rapper. And so what I wanna see how much you can sort of recapture from that period is how you win about absorbing this information and then trying it. So learning about distribution is not easy, dude. I had to learn about distribution from a food perspective. It's just not easy. It's complicated, it's full of people that can say yes and no, and you have to figure out how to work with them, and how to make friends here and know who to say no to, and who to say yes to, and who's the right distributor. And when you're driving to Cleveland, who are you taking the mixtape to? Who do you sell it to? And if you sell it to this guy, can you also sell it to that guy? How do you set the price? Like there's so much to figure out, how'd you begin shipping away at that problem?

Love What You Do (20:53)

- I think you go back to the beginning and you start with doing what you're passionate about, right? Because there are a lot of people that are going through life right now trying to figure it out. Like man, I don't know what I wanna be, I don't know, like I was at that moment. And then, so you're just like, I'm gonna take fucking action. - Yeah, I'm gonna figure out what I like first. - You gotta impress your own discs. - Yeah. - So how'd you figure that one out? - Okay, first I figured out that I really like rap. Remember I played basketball too, that was what I did every day religiously. And then when rap started becoming a thing that I actually really liked, then I was just like, oh, this is my passion that I'm actually better at actually. So I went down that path, right? And then now because my curiosity and my passion for it, I'm gonna be engulfed in everything. It's not work, it's like second nature, you know? So I don't know everything. - You are reading, you're asking questions? - No, I'm diving into it, I'm doing it. I'm everything that the books teach you, I think a lot of times it has you sitting back reading so much that you're not actually doing. And to me, doing is the best teacher. So basically, I don't know everything about selling mixed tapes at the time, but I see other people selling mixed tapes and they're right next to me. I can talk to them all the time, so I'm asking them questions. My curiosity, but this thing I'm passionate about, kind of got real world experience from people that have done it. So then I'm watching them do it, and then I go right behind them and do the thing that they just did, and it actually works, right? So they just pressed up some CDs, and they took them and drove them all the way to Cleveland, Ohio, most people don't want to do that. Remember, you're going there, not even knowing if you're going to sell a lot of them, right? You get there and you sell them for what, $7 a piece, right? If you get there and only sell 100 CDs, you make $700, but you got to pay for the cash. You got to pay for all these things or friends about what you, they want money to. It's not that much. So we're knowing that in advance and saw the person go, and they came back and they made 700. So I'm thinking like, man, I want to drive, I'm going to do it, but I don't want to make 700. How can I not make 700? So we came up with a plan and it was like, all right, when we get there, we're going to get a hotel. Wait, we can't get a hotel because that's going to take from our 700. Now when we get the hotel, we're going to take the phone books. It's back in the days they had the phone books, and you'd open the, it had like the store section, and you would open it out and every store in the city's there, and we would just call them and be like, "Hey, we're in town, we've got this mixtape." And then be like, "Well, who are you? You're not really that." You know, no, and then we get all our friends to call the store and ask for our mixtape. So then now they're like, "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, I want that mixtape." People have been calling and asking for that. So then we go to the store and we sell 100 CDs, and now that's 700 more dollars, that's $1,400 now. So it's like doing stuff like that, we're growth hacking things. We were finding a way to get people to appreciate what we have, but when you can show it, which we architected it sometimes, then it started becoming, because we had good music, something that they started distributing to people, and then people started hearing it, and it's just started growing and growing and growing. And we did all kinds of things, but all of this came from me watching people. There are other people that did it. People always ask me, "Who will I look up to?" "Rho models, I consumed from everybody." Like, true chameleon. Like, taking from everybody. No, I can't point to one specific person. It was just like, "All right, that part is good, this part's bad." And then I would try, and then I would fail a lot of times. But trial and error is gonna be your best teacher. Like, I can't think of any book, I can't think of anything that taught me it. And now when people ask me, it's like, "I could tell you a lot, but whatever." And you gotta just do it. You gotta do it, and when you get in it, you're gonna see that didn't work, and you gotta quickly move to what works. Start-up companies work like this. That's what I love. They're in the business of like trying things. They'll throw 10 darts at a table. I mean, at a dart board, and two of them will stick, and the rest of them will fail. But when they find it to their stick, then they start to lean in on those. And I think life is like that. I feel like the one thing about rap that it taught me is it taught me having your finger on the pole. So what's next?

Transition Into Investing And Branding Insights

Having You Finger on the Pulse (24:44)

There was this thing where when I was early, everybody used to talk about a rapper. A little kid comes up to you and they're like, "Wow, he's a rapper." And they're excited about it. Then you kinda grow a little bit, and you get to a phase where it's like, "He's a rapper." And then you go to a phase where it's like, "He's a rapper." You know what I mean? And it's like, "Man, when I started getting to the third phase, it was like, people didn't look at a rapper good." And I started to not like that. When I was young and I hadn't accomplished stuff, I hadn't grown, I hadn't made it and traveled, then people always used to look at me like, "I was a superhero." And then you get to a place where it's kinda like, "I don't know, maybe." Then you get to a place where it's like, "He's a rapper, that's all he does." He's just a basketball player, he's shut up and dribble. And then you wanna prove people that you're greater than that, you can do more. So now, when I'm explaining that to people that are still back in that first phase, a lot of times they don't get it because they haven't seen that whole trajectory. And I struggle with that a lot now, trying to balance it.

Breaking into Investing, Being Seen as a Cow (25:41)

When you say trying to balance it, what do you mean? Are you still trying to keep a foot in each world? Now it seems like you're pretty hard in the investor phase. Yeah, but I care though, that's the reason why. I care about what. Every time I'm over here in this world, I'm thinking about that little kid over there. I'm them, you know? I'm not doing this to forget this whole thing and to go over here, that's not what it's about. It's hard for me to remove myself from that. There's a other day I was with a venture capitalist and we're walking down the street in Santa Monica. Here comes running up the street. He's got like undershirt, like a Hanes, a white undershirt and he's got tattoos, dreads. And I'm looking at him like, oh my goodness, he's about to ask me, like his demo. And he's like, he's breathing. He's like, yo man, amen, congrats for buying Disney. And I'm like, what? So I invested in Maker Studios, he was just got acquired by Disney. He's confused about it, but it was just like, so I was just like, wow, and the VC turned to me and he was just like, laugh. And he was like, man, you see that? And any other time, man, this kid would have came up to you and had your demo. And now the fact that they're thinking about tech, like, you got responsibilities like that's awesome. And he was right there in a moment. And I was just like, man, I started thinking about that. So I really want people to think about your arc. I want them to think about how hard it would be for the average person to go from. So in one area, you're a celebrity for rapping, but that would work against you as you try to step into being a VC. It's not like people are gonna stand up and clap and be like, yay, the rapper's here. They're gonna look you. Like, what are you doing at a tech conference? So you have to overcome more than the average person, but you do that. And one of the most interesting parts of your journey for me is when what you were just talking about, you begin to realize, okay, I see things that they don't and I can advise them. And coming in as an advisor first to get your feet in the door and there's that exchange of information, you're starting to meet new people and you say the information and relationships are the two magic things.

Chamillionaires Double Meaning Logo? [not an actual superhero] (27:19)

One thing I'm always trying to tell young people, I mean, fuck, I try to tell people of any age this, the key is most people try to get whatever job they can get that gives them the most money. Whereas what they should be thinking about is what job gives me the most experience and the most relationships. Because money only spends once, but knowledge monetizes forever. - Correct. - So the fact that people are always trying to get like that short-term dollar at the expense of the long-term leverage that you get from knowing something and knowing someone is crazy to me. - I'm living proof of that. Right now, everything that we're talking about is how it was, I was designed to be that way. Think about it. When people see my name, chameleon air, they instantly think of money. My first song before the ride and dirty, before ride and dirty was a song called I love it my money, me and Paul's big single, right? And everybody used to think I was in love with my money, but I wasn't really in love with my money. It was really fighting for something bigger, you know? And one thing, I don't really talk about this much, but I used to go on the road and do all these interviews with radio stations and they used to ask me what my name means, what does chameleon mean? And I used to not want to explain all this deep stuff because I feel like, you know, I gotta go into this deep meaning and run these people that are not gonna care. So I used to be like, oh, it means rich in style. I would always say something like that. But what it really means is, I used to be chameleon, that was my name, right? And I used to draw comic books, like I said. I used to draw all these comic books and I used to look at all these superheroes and it was like Batman and Superman and everybody had a big logo and they would come and save the damsel in distress and there was nothing that represented me. So I drew like black superhero and the lizard logo that I have was the logo for the superhero and his name was chameleon. But then me and Paul, I used to be in a group and he was really good at relationships. I used to see that guy, he used to have the gold teeth and he used to smile all the time and everybody used to love Paul and he would come to the city and I was just like, man, I'm not built like that, I don't have that. I was just like anti-social. So, but one thing I had was I had the information, you know? So me and him together, forced because he had the relationships, I had the information and at parts, you know, this time we started growing apart and then I used to be nervous about him like, the minute he's gone, like, I lose the relationships, you know? So I started working to try to make myself better with the relationships but I understood the value of like having information relationships 'cause success came from that, you know? So I, on a freestyle, I mean, we're at a store in time and somebody said, "Hey, Paul, what's up?" And he would always turn around to fans and like, high five of them and act like he knew him, even though he didn't know him and I'd be like, "Man, this dude's good at relationships. They don't even know you, they used to be awkward to me. People used to, my real name's Hakeem." So they'd be like, "Hakeem." And they would just say that I would turn and it would be somebody I don't know and I'm looking at them and they're walking up to me with their friends and I'm just like, man, what is this? You're not even trying to build a relationship, you're just faking and I used to hate that. So on a freestyle, I was like, my real name is Hakeem, but don't call me that you're here, I'm changing my name from chameleon to the chameleon-air. And that's when I changed my name to chameleon-air, right? So nobody really knew why, but it was chameleon, it was my name, I just added A-I-R-E. That's about information and relationships. People see the money part, it was never about that. I knew that I'm gonna be successful as long as I get that. And when I tell people like, "Get the heck out of here, "they had to have a reason for being, I used to think about that," I used to be like, man, what is this about? And I created this superhero and I put that logo on the bus, everywhere I was going, that lizard logo, it's on my album cover, everywhere. I was like, I'm creating a superhero. And that was the whole thought, but it was just like, his special power is knowing how to blend in and get in anywhere and knowing how to consume all the information in the room and use it, knowing how to build the relationships and get into another room, that's what I've been doing this whole time and that's the whole meaning of it. So I feel like this story you're talking about, about how we have to give that to younger people, absolutely, absolutely.

Moving forward (31:20)

When I say it, it just sounds crazy. Information and relationships, oh, my how am I gonna get relationships? When I'm sitting in court side of the games, everybody there, they have way more information, away more relationships. That's why they're there. Of course, a lot of people have had all kind of advantages and stuff like that, but that's the thing that separates us. If you can find a way to get all of that, then you can be just as equal or even greater and I'm trying to give that to people, but sometimes it's a long path, you know. - Now, on that one, certainly leading by example, is pretty extraordinary. I know you've started several companies. What's your plan there? What kind of enterprise do you wanna create to show people just how possible it is? - It goes back to that thing, it's just doing. Like, I don't know if I'm gonna be successful, but I'll always believe that the risk is worth it. There's some people that go through the motions and they go and figure out what career they're gonna have. They go to college, they go get the job that they want career and they go through those motions, nine to five. I just feel like we only have so much breadth on this earth and so much time and I'm trying to use as much of it as possible in the most efficient way as possible. And I feel like entrepreneurship is the way to do that. You get straight to the failure quickly. - Talk to me about that efficiency. How do you get efficient? How do you, what's the criteria by which you will engage with something? - I started analyzing it. I started being like, there are a lot of people that are textures and they text all the time. I don't text like that. And people will complain all the time and be like, man, Cam, if you text him, he takes you back like two hours later or a day later or whatever. And it's because I treat email, people treat text. And the reason why is because when people email me, they get straight to it. They gotta tell me everything in the email. It's like, oh, yes or no, right? But when it's text, it's like, yo, what's up, bro? What's up? Back and forth. And you're just doing that. It's like, it's so immediate, it can pull you away from something you're doing, right? And it's like, so I started analyzing and stuff like, you know what? What's gonna make me be more efficient because what I'm after is so important to me. It's not about you, it's not about making you feel bad, it's just about what I feel is best for me. And I started changing my life. I started eating better, I just try to make myself better. When I wake up in the morning, I'm trying to be as efficient as possible. And I'm trying to, if I can accomplish in a week with somebody can accomplish in a month, I feel good. - So how do you do that with your-- - I write stuff down. - Write stuff down. - Write stuff down. I make a list of things I wanna do. And I check it off and I feel bad at the end of the day if I don't have stuff done, you know? And I feel like I surround myself with people that are all focused on that. And because now I've got that kind of circle where we're all trying to get it, then it's like, stuff doesn't really make it in. I'm not saying I don't do the extra critical of stuff, I do do that stuff. But some of the little small things, like picking up my phone and scrolling Twitter, in the morning, I just, I don't, I avoid stuff like that. I still do it, but I find the right time like after the day and then the day. - I think that's super impressive. And you have a really, really smart and interesting way of looking at the world. And there's one thing that you talk about that I think really sums up a key insight that you have that I think has driven you through the different phases of your career. Tell people why you like the letter C. - Man, man. So yeah, I had to do this presentation where I was like just talking about how C is, you know, it's just a powerful letter because, you know, the C itself, right? It starts right here and it curves and then it stops before it makes a complete circle and complete and circle both start with C, right?

The power of C (34:42)

But it's a reminder that there's always a little bit more to go, right? So I just looked at it. And again, this goes back to my comic book days where I should just draw letters and try to figure out what was what. And I just look at the C and the C just curved and then just stop and I was like, man, it's something special about that, little bit of space right there, right? I deliberately was like, I'm gonna name myself something with a C, right? And then I started thinking about all the things that I like, you know, from confidence to, you know, culture to, you know, creativity to all the words that start with C, you know, I was just like, man, this word C is like a powerful word and I'm gonna, you know, make everything I do. A lot of things attach to this word.

Kombo (35:32)

So combos is one of the name of my social video after I launched and I feel like, you know, the C, it reminds me of like what's, what we gotta do, you know? - I love that. Where can people find out more about you, find you online about combos or any of your other products? - You can download combos. It's a social video app for connecting people through face-to-face conversations. It's available for iOS and Android. And, you know, this is my venture into being an entrepreneur and tech, you know, we got a lot of great influencers, but community of people that are positive and focus on communicating, which is another where it starts to see, right? I mean, in a productive way, you know, like, think about social media and how toxic it is and how much abuse and trolling and we're trying to like, not eradicate it 'cause that's gonna be impossible, but just reduce it and reduce the power of people that use social media for negativity, you know? I'm not saying everybody has to agree, but we're at a time where now people disagree more than ever about all kinds of things, right? And I feel like there's gotta be some kind of way to have a discourse with people in a way that's productive, you know? So we're trying to create a platform that encourages that type of stuff. It's not like, you know, I open my Twitter feed and some kids like, "F you, Kobe Bryant lover." And then everybody's retweeting that person and giving that person power. This is a little bit opposite, you know? You gotta put your face on it, you gotta show yourself and anonymity kind of goes away. So that kind of stops people from doing some of the things that they do on social, you know? And it's like, so far, I mean, I'm loving this journey and, you know, talking to developers and figuring out their needs and, you know, this is really just about communicating and understanding, you know, because I feel like, if you wanna have success at scale, you're never gonna do it by yourself. On the path to whatever you wanna do, there's people. It could be employees, it could be cameraman, it could be whoever, you gotta find a way to communicate with people and incentivize them to one, do something that they're passionate about and hopefully it aligns with you. And then to stay on the journey with you. And a lot of these things that I did in music industry when I was doing with fans is the same thing as applicable to tech. Now I'm talking to product managers, designers and I have to tell them, like, "Hey, this is what I'm trying to do if that aligns with you, let's talk." And if not, then you probably should go this way and I'll go this way, you know? And we have to find people that have a common interest and then focus on building something great, you know? Maybe we'll win, maybe we won't, you know? But I'm crazy enough to think that I can. And regardless, I believe something like this needs to exist. We're going into a world where I don't believe that anonymity and all these private places of being somebody that's toxic and a bot that's taking a conversation somewhere. I think there's some smart people that are gonna figure out how to solve all this stuff, you know? And I feel like I'd rather be on that journey. And if I can be in the founder's seat trying to drive something like that, that's wonderful because if I'm able to be successful, then a lot of people of diverse backgrounds end up having success in their lives and then it impacts the community, a lineage of people that never had capital before, never had ownership before, right? It means something different, but then also on the investing side bringing people in and giving them that same opportunity I feel like at the end of the day, this is about creating seeds that grow into a tree, you know?

Defining Success And The Future Of Technology

The future of technology (38:12)

And if I can start planting a bunch of those seeds now, right now it's 50 investments, but I'm gonna plant so many seeds that eventually grow into the tree, those trees will feed a lot of people. And that's impact at scale. And that's why I like your, you know, everything we're doing here because I know that's what the focus of, you know, everything you do is about. And, you know, I normally, generally stray away from interviews because it's like, you know, same questions about, you know, I don't know, stuff that they believe people wanna know, but it's like gossip stuff. And I'm just like, "Nah, man, I'm here on this moment to where like, if I'm not here, I gotta think about everything I'm saying, what I want people to take this information with them, you know? And I'm like, yeah, that's all I spend my time on, you know? And to really, 'cause I think you just basically answered it, but to ask it in one very pointed way, what's the impact that you wanna have on the world? - I tell people that, you know, for a while, I was like, thinking about what my, what my why is, like, why am I doing everything?

What does your personal definition of success look like? (39:19)

Why am I here? Why am I doing all this? But, I say this, like, I focus on me, me, right? And what that means is like, first figuring out what I care about and what I think my value to the world is, which I think everybody should be on the journey to figure out, and then doing that to the best of their abilities. But to me, me, M and E, stands for motivation and education. Those are the two things that I do. Everything that I do right now is about that. This interview is all that. Everything I say yes to, motivation and education. If it's outside of that, I don't do it. And I'm trying to drop as much of that as possible on this planet, because when you're gone, that's all people have left, right? And they use those things. That ride and dirty, that can not be it? I think there's more. I think there's a lot that I can just give out everything that you've learned, your experience, things you've been through, and you drop that off for people, you know, for your family, for their family's family, for, you know, other people that might have been inspired by you, and then people later who don't even know your existing, but somehow stumbled upon it at some point. Nipsey also had that, you know, where he passed, and there's a lot of people that didn't appreciate them while he was here, and then they realized the impact of what he was doing while he was here, you know? And I feel like I see moments like that, and it kind of lets me know, like, yeah, you know, I'm on the right path. Like I see there are a lot of people that are after this, you know, and you don't understand why, you know, there's a lot of, you know, wolf and sheep's clothing sometimes, where the person is like, you can't really be out here trying to motivate people. You're not really trying to help people, a lot of people out there, but I always say, I challenge you to find the wolf. Go back and look at all the things I did and see where the wolf was. Like, he didn't came out yet, you know?

What do you want your legacy to be when all is said and done? (41:03)

So my whole, what I wanna be remembered for is really just that, you know? That's all I'm trying to do here. You know, it's not about money or trying to be a billionaire. I one time did this article and they changed the title. Like, "Kamillionaire wants to be a kabillionaire "and try to be catchy." And I was just like, man, I was so upset. I didn't even wanna share the article. They're like, what? Like, there's a lot of great gems in there. I was like, man, but the headline is like, I wanna be a billionaire. Like, I don't wanna put that energy in the air. It's not about money. I wanna make it very clear, the money will come if you focus on passion, you focus on information and relationship, and I'm gonna stand on the top of the mountain and sing that all day. And hopefully, it helps a real impact on people's lives. And I'm gonna feel good about that. I'm not gonna feel good if I go to the grave as being the only person with the information and the money and I just have all this money. I'm gonna feel good if I'm able to impact a lot of people and that don't have access to this information and a good life, a quality of life, and they have one. That's awesome. That makes me feel real good. - I love that. It's wicked, man. Well, guys, you've seen him. He's been around for a very long time. He's somebody that actually knows how to transition to move from one thing to another, follow the passion, learn, get educated, relationships and information. Can't say any better than that. And speaking of relationships and information, if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe. And until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care.

Impact Theory University (42:23)

Millionaire, my man. Fucking a dude. That was wonderful. What's up, impactivists? As you guys know, my mission in life is to provide the no BS instruction manual for success. And to that end, we've launched our brand new learning platform, Impact Theory University. Our goal with ITU is to provide you with curriculum that will help you take your career, business, or personal development to the next level. So regardless of your end goal, ITU is designed to provide you with the universal principles and tactics of success that will propel you forward. So whether you want to build a Fortune 500 company, advance quickly up the ranks at your company, become a more effective parent or partner, or simply get unstuck. There are core principles that apply, and that's where Impact Theory University comes in. But to be clear, ITU is not another podcast or conversation with an influencer. You can get all of that for free right here on our YouTube page. Instead, it is structured education delivered in a compelling format and paired with social support and accountability. We offer two tracks, business and mindset, regardless of which track you choose, you'll gain access to a library of all of our prerecorded classes, as well as two hours of live teaching per month, where you'll have the opportunity to engage with me, ask questions and meet others in the community. Every class also comes with an actionable worksheet designed to help you take the immediate action that is required to make any new skill stick. And last, but certainly not least, as a student enrolled in ITU, you'll get access to an exclusive online community of other like-minded individuals who will help you study the content, work through all of your goals, and keep you accountable at all times. ITU pricing starts as low as $47 a month for the mindset track and $97 a month for the business track. There's also a 50% discount if you buy the whole year upfront and additional discounts if you sign up for both mindset and business. When you bundle all of the discounts together, the cost drops to roughly 80 cents a day. I think ITU truly is the best content we have ever made. But if you sign up and don't agree that it's worth say 10 times what you paid, just take advantage of our no questions ask 30 day money bag guarantee, I don't want any of us to get paid unless we're delivering disproportionate value. So trust of the refund process will be absolutely hassle free. And if this sounds like something that would help you move forward in your life, but you can afford it, we do have a scholarship program that you can apply for that provides free access to those in need. All right, everybody. I want to take advantage of this and make a dramatically forward in your life. Sign up today. The link is in the description or you can go directly to I look forward to seeing you on the inside my friends and until then be legendary. Take care.

Recap And Conclusion

Rapid Fire Recap (45:12)

- And I had to be perfect. We're supposed to embrace all our imperfections. And I think if we find and can imagine the bright side and anything that will become a reality, but you can't think anything's going to be given to you other than opportunity. You

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