Matt Ambrogi

Make a Lot of Things

Rick Rubin is a fascinating character. The other day, I watched a clip from an interview he did with Andre 3000 of Outkast. They were talking about making music. I was stuck by something he said.

Andre: “I haven’t been making much music man. My focus is not there. My confidence is not there. I’d like to, but it’s just not coming.

Rick: “I think you start making a lot of things with no thinking. What it’s supposed to be or whose it for or what anyone else is gonna think. But just get in the habit of making a lot.”

“That’s what I gotta get back to.”

“Yea, just make a lot. And then, at some point in that process, you’ll be like, ‘hmmm, I really like this.’ And you didn’t know. Through that whole process, you don’t know when that’s gonna happen.”


“It’s not a decision you make and it’s not an intellectual idea where, I have a vision and I’m gonna make this thing. It doesn’t happen like that... it rarely happens like that. It happens more just having fun, making things. No stakes.”

Here's one of the most influential hip-hop artists of all time saying he's having trouble making good music. Rick essentially says, don't worry about it. Don't even think about it. Just get in the habit of making a lot of things, with no thought as to who they're for or what they should be. That's when the good things will come.

Rick has worked with the most prolific artists of our time. Including ones, such as Kanye, that seem to map out a clear vision and execute upon it. Yet he is saying, it rarely happens like that. It's rarely the product of a clear vision first. Instead, it comes when you start playing.

I quit my job to focus on programming. Although I'm only a few weeks into Recurse Center, I've already started to feel some of that pressure to make good things. I'm going to try my best to heed this advice and, instead, focusing on making a lot of things.

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