Having just discussed Janet Jackson (or her breasts), we’re going to remain on the subject of music. This installment in our continuing series of open threads on career alternatives for attorneys — i.e., “things you can do with a law degree other than Biglaw (or contract attorney work)” — is inspired by lawyer turned rapper Mekka Don.
There are many attorneys out there with musical side projects. When do you decide to take the leap and dive into your music career full-time? According to Mekka Don, the answer is “after one year at Weil.” He wrote to us in March:
My name is Emeka Onyejekwe (aka Mekka Don) and in the spring I left my job at a top ten law firm in order to help save Hip Hop. I graduated from NYU in 2006 and worked at the firm for a little less than a year. Many people (probably including you, lol) think I’m crazy, but I believe it was a calling from God. I’ve begun to memorialize what I am doing through a reality show.
He may be too late. According to Nas, hip hop is dead! But good luck with that.
ABA Journal’s July issue has a profile piece on the “legal hustler.” Taking the struggling artist career route sounds challenging. To make ends meet, Onyejekwe is “modeling, event planning and sports marketing along with running a small legal practice with his sister.”
Does a legal background help much in this career? Once you make it big, those contracts classes may come in handy. It also looks to be useful in the comments on the ABA piece. Someone questioned Mekka Don’s use of “Law & Order” for the title of his mixtape, and he responds by citing the “fair use” doctrine.
More on Mekka Don, after the jump.
A day in the life of a rapper sounds a bit better than 12 hours of doc review. Here’s the description in his e-mail to us:
A typical day in the life of Mekka Don can involve a Phat Farm photo shoot in the morning, then hitting the movie set in the afternoon where he is playing a lead role in an independent film. Of course, the day wouldn’t be complete without laying some tracks in the music studio then popping into one of Mekka Don’s parties at night. Add in negotiating a contract or litigating a case for a legal client and Mekka Don earns his additional moniker – “the Legal Hustler”.
In the ABA Journal piece, Mekka Don says he doesn’t regret law school, and that he loves the law, but that he hasn’t been getting a whole lot of support from the legal community.
Q: What sort of reaction are you getting from the legal community?
To my face they say it’s cool, but behind my back there are a lot of negative responses. Some black lawyers think this is the worst possible thing I could have done in the black community. But almost every piece of criticism is from someone who’s never heard my music.
So one downside to pursuit of your music dreams is fellow lawyers making fun of you… until you make it big! Then they’ll all be lining up to represent you.
Street Legal [ABA Journal]