3 Important Lessons I Learned from a Successful Rapper.

Yesterday I stumbled on a rare sighting: an interview with rapper Joyner Lucas, the artist behind the iconic I am Not Racist song. The first question of the interview was, “Why do you not do interviews?” Lucas said he stop doing interviews when he realized people didn’t really care what he had to say and were just interviewing him for clout. I was crushed. Based on his storytelling style— touching on controversial topics like racism, devilish thoughts, snitching — I knew this interview was worth listening to. I took so much from this interview that I thought I’d share my three takeaways here for those who aren’t familiar with his work or who generally would not run into his music. He has a very familiar rags to riches story that many rappers have, nonetheless, he’s wise beyond his fame and fortune.

3 Takeaways from Joyner Lucas

Be Accountable.

Radio personality and best selling author, Charlamagne Tha God asks Lucas if he feels as if he is not getting the recognition that he deserves as a talented rapper? What Lucas said next surprised me. For Lucas, if he is “underrated” then it’s his own doing. He should be working harder, smarter, trying different things, etc. He takes full responsibility for his outcomes, whereby allowing himself the opportunity to improve and keep working towards the outcomes he desires.This is a classic example of the crossroads between taking a victim mentality vs. a victor mentally. The victim blames their circumstances, their relationships, and everything except them for their situation. While a victor (a victorious person) skips the excuses and uses their energy to find solutions to improve their situation. From his response, you can tell Lucas has a victor mindset. He understands that the only way to grow is to take responsibility for your outcomes.

BE HUMBLE.

In a subsequent series of questions, Lucas is asked how he ended his infamous “beef” with fellow rapper Logic. Lucas tells the story of how he came to realized the beef stemmed from his own jealousy and sense of entitlement towards Logic. He felt he should have been where Logic was in his career and resented the fact that he wasn’t. Once he realized his misdoings, he called up Logic and offered a sincere apology. Logic was so taken aback by Lucas’ sincerity and genuine change of heart that they have since become good friends. What Lucas displayed is a deep sense of humility and ability to evolve as a person. Humility is so essential to growth because it allows us to learn from our mistakes and move past them. Alternatively, if you are the type of person who can never admit you were wrong and always claims to be right, then in your mind, there is no need to grow and evolve because you know it all. This type of person stunts their own growth with their refusal to amend their wrongs.

BE observant.

Throughout the interview, Lucas said several things that resonated with me, however this is one I’ve been preaching for a while now. He told a story of how he visited Mark Wahlberg and Will Smith while he was in LA and was dumbfounded by the sheer size and magnificence of their homes. According to Lucas, Wahlberg told him that his work ethic and drive would get him a similar house one day. For Lucas, Wahlberg, a fellow Boston native, and Will Smith (the inspiration to his song Will), are his mentors and role models. He observes the footprints of those who come from similar beginning and sees the path in front of him. Whether you’re fortunate enough to befriend the likes of Will Smith, or you simply admire them from afar, it is critically important to have role models and mentors. These are the people who will show you the way and reinforce the belief that if they can do it, you can too.

Often times we are quick to judge a book by it’s cover, but if you listen carefully, you might find inspiration and lessons learned in the places you least expect. I’ll end with a great line from Lucas’ song Zim Zimma where he says “I know a couple of rappers that don’t know the business and all they do is rap.” It’s not enough to be great at the thing you do, you have to work on yourself as well, and study those who came before you. You have to know the business practices of success — accountability, humility, and observance are great places to start.


Cat Marte is a Career and Success Coach who helps success driven people break through their self-limiting mindsets and get to the next level in their careers and businesses. Book your free introductory call today to learn more.

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