If you ever watched Season 2 of the Lifetime reality TV series The Rap Game, you could tell that Nia Kay was going places.
When the season ended, she was among the top three contestants. This marked the start of her professional music journey in hip-hop.
Long after the competition was over, she has been prolific, and this is evident in some of her music videos like "Ignored," which has garnered millions of views on YouTube.
But what kind of experiences at the music competition were beneficial in propelling Nia Kay's music career?
Viewership Across the Country
Lifetime is a popular cable channel in the United States that boasts millions of viewers daily. That being the case, Nia's appearance on a popular show on this network played a role in building her popularity.
With many people binge-watching the show or waiting for a new episode to premiere, she was able to build a following on social media — she has over 1.5 million followers on Instagram.
In addition to creating a fan base, her journey in the competition also generated media interest, and she was covered in online entertainment publications and music magazines like Sheen Magazine.
Mentorship From Top Music Professionals
Working with top-notch music professionals as a young musician trying to get her feet wet in the entertainment industry helped her improve her craft. For instance, at the end of every episode, Jermaine Dupri would rate the performance of each contestant and share areas where each of them should improve.
Throughout his 30 years as a music professional, Jermaine has discovered many young music stars on the rise, including Kriss Kross, Da Brat, and Bow Wow.
With the guidance that Dupri was offering, Nia was able to improve different aspects of her artistry, including her stage presence and rhyming ability.
Jermaine also regularly featured guest music stars, like Mariah Carey, Snoop Dog, and Timberland, who would help spot the strengths and weaknesses of the contestants and provide advice for improvement. In Nia's case, the personalized advice she received helped improve her abilities.
The Importance of Networking
During the competition, the young rappers and their managers would work to help them improve their rapping skills before the last performance, which would determine a winner. Just before their last act, Nia and other contestants were tasked to pass fliers and convince people to attend their show. By doing so, Dupri was helping them to learn what it meant to market and sell themselves as artists.
Collaboration is common in the hip-hop music scene, and through The Rap Game, Nia learned valuable teamwork skills. During the competition, Jermaine would test Nia and other competitor's ability to work with each other by splitting them into two groups. Each group would then write and perform a song at the Hot 107 birthday party with about 10,000 people present.
During the rehearsals, the contestants received feedback from the duo group Migos on their performance and areas to improve before the main event.
Achieving Success Through Mentorship
One way upcoming musicians can showcase their talents is by participating in a music competition. While many of these competitions help musicians sharpen their lyrical skills, few are televised. For those that get viewership, like The Rap Game, the participants quickly gain fame. The hard work and resilience Nia Kay showed during the competition were crucial in helping her succeed long after.