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Lessons Law Students Can Learn from Rap

Cassette player

I guess when Drake is wearing a ridiculous white tracksuit in his latest high budget video clip and Jay Z is being ostracised for visiting Cuba with Beyonce, comparing your legal education with the lives of rap stars seems pretty far-fetched (or fanciful).

But despite the lavish and oft ridiculous lives of these high rolling poets, there are lessons that we can take from rappers and apply in our everyday study…

Freestyle Study Technique

In high school my obsession with the Beastie Boys meant I would memorise modern history test answers to the backing beat of Intergalactic.

Nowadays there is scientific proof backing up the fact that freestyle rapping builds creativity and significantly increases neural activity. Finding your ‘flow’ and rattling off facts in a freestyle rap could be the most effective study technique for fans of a hip hop beat. The kind of brain activity analysed when rappers freestyled was akin to the “in the zone” feeling of adrenaline exerted by athletes and promoted utter concentration and the release of an inner critic. This could be a handy way to memorise provisions of the Constitution…

The Tupac Principle

Quick history lesson: Tupac was an influential rap star hailing from the East Coast who was adamant about spreading messages of love and social justice. He was fatally shot in 1996 at the age of 25.

Rap politics aside, Tupac’s music holds messages that are still true today. Most relevant to lawyers in the making is the notion that “I’m a reflection of my community.” Tupac surmised that we are a product of the sum of the total of our experiences and we represent everything we think, feel, believe, wish and dream in every waking hour of the day. In other words, in the practice and study of law you are constantly representing a community and the values you hold dear. Your legal journey should using your skills to better your community and yourself.

Ego is Good

Okay, so I’m not talking about Kanye West level ego where you think it’s not a faux pas to wear leather parachute pants… rather the idea that it’s important to sell yourself. You rarely see rappers bringing themselves down and as a result of this self-belief and self ‘pitching’ rappers such as Kanye were ultimately able to realise their ambitions.

Stand proud, have faith in your capabilities, express opinions and wear cool shoes where necessary. Never let someone tell you that you’re not capable of something, and don’t let your GPA define you. It’s okay to have a humble brag every now and again… who knows where it might take you?

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