Discover the sound of Lawyer and Rapper R.B.D
We are always excited to talk to young people who are pursuing their dreams and Lawyer and rapper and creative Entrepreneur R.B.D definitely inspires us. We caught up with him to talk about his music, his creative process, and what his fans should expect from him.
Q: How do you balance your law practice with your music career?
A: I wouldn’t really call it a music career for now. But it is kinda simple for me. Weekdays are dedicated to my professional life, and on weekends and holidays, I have fun — just like everybody else.
Q: What inspired you to pursue both Law and Music?
A: For law, I was inspired by my uncle at a very early age — I was barely ten years old. Regarding music, I’ve always been a music lover. Back in junior high, I used to write rap with my friend Akwasi. But it was never really anything serious until people heard me rap in Senior High and thought I was good. So I figured I would take it a bit more seriously all the way through high school until I started pursuing an LLB degree at the university. That’s when I realized combining both law and music was gonna be hard for me at the time. So I laid off the music for five years. Right after I became a lawyer, I still didn’t feel quite accomplished. So I got back to doing what I felt was missing in my life.
Q: How does your legal background influence your music?
A: It seldom does. As I said, I used to rap and make music even before studying law. So in my songs, I try my best to be relatable and not sound so polished. I suppose it does influence my music occasionally though. You’d probably notice it from the vocabulary I use in my lyrics
Q: What steps have you taken to grow your music career while maintaining your legal profession?
A: I’m specializing in my favorite course back in law school — Intellectual Property law. I feel like it’s the perfect avenue to help me blend my two sides seamlessly. That area of practice helps me understand the business side of music really well.
Q: How do you handle legal issues related to your music, such as copyright and contracts?
A: I literally just handle them myself. As I mentioned, I’m a lawyer who’s specializing in that area of practice.
Q: Can you share your experience performing while also practicing law?
A: It’s been a pretty fulfilling experience for me. I mean, I get to practice both of the art forms I really love advocating for others and making music. I can’t complain.
Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue both law and music?
A: Do it. You can wear multiple hats in life. Don’t limit your talent or ability or purpose to only one thing because someone else said so. Do it, but plan properly toward it. If you’re still in law school, my advice is to make the music take the backseat for a while — unless you don’t really wanna be a lawyer and you’re just there for your parents. In that case, what the hell are you still doing there?
Q: Can you walk us through your creative process when writing and recording music?
A: It usually starts with the beat. It’s what puts me in the mood. Because of this, I respect beatmakers a lot. The beat is what lets me know the subject matter to write on, whether politics, love, heartbreak, hardcore freestyle, or whatever. After I’m sure of what I’m gonna write, I imagine how any of my rap idols would have ridden the beat. Then I start penning down lyrics. And the rest is history.
Q: Who are some of your biggest musical influences and why?
A: Hopsin, Crooked I, Eminem, Royce da 5’9, Kojo Cue, Sarkodie, E.L., Lil Shaker, Big Sean. I grew up on these artists. I learned a lot from them. From rhyming flowing, punching, and storytelling, to even singing. And each one had a unique technical skill or style that I admired.
Q: What do you consider to be your biggest musical achievements so far?
A: So I’ve met one of my idols in person, and developed a cordial relationship with him. I send him my songs and ask for his input and he guides and mentors me how best he can. And it was all because he heard one song from my EP titled “Guess Who?”, and he thought it was dope.
Q: Can you share with us the story behind one of your most popular songs?
A: Hmmm… I think I’ll talk about Glass Nkoaa. It’s the fourth song on my Guess Who EP. It’s a song about hardship in Ghana. I wrote this song at a time when I was still in law school doing a non-paying internship and struggling to pay my rent. MPtainment sent me the beat for that song. At first, I didn’t even know what to do with it. And then one day I was sitting in a car staring blankly at a bunch of hawkers who were desperately trying to get me to buy their goods…and then I wondered to myself, what if all these people had a chance to leave this godforsaken country and work somewhere that they’ll actually get good money for their struggles? I felt bad for them. I felt bad for myself and every other struggling Ghanaian. But I realized the situation was so hopeless, it was almost funny. So I started penning down Glass Nkoaa in the car, while the hawkers continued to tap distractingly on the window.
Q: How do you approach collaborating with other artists or producers?
A: I just send them a mail or a direct message. If I’m already friends with them, I simply call them. Then I pitch my song idea to them and observe their reaction or response. I don’t like pressuring people to do something with me. If I begin to sense it’s not their vibe or they are not with the idea, I just let it go. If the energy is right, we get right to it.
Q: What are some challenges you have faced as a musician and how have you overcome them?
A: The business side of music was something I really struggled to understand. This is another reason why I even put music on hold back in 2016. I started getting it after I dedicated time to law school and subsequently became a lawyer. Focusing on IP law has largely helped me to overcome this challenge.
Q: How has your music evolved over the course of your career?
A: I suppose my writing has changed a lot. My cadence has changed. The way I sing has also changed. There’s a lot of maturity in how I write now. I used to cuss every 1.2 microseconds just because I thought it sounded cool. Don’t get me wrong, I still cuss…but now it’s only when I actually want to.
Q: Can you share any upcoming projects or plans for your musical career?
A: Before I share the upcoming project. Y’all should go listen to my debut EP “Guess Who?“ and the sequel to that EP which is titled “Still Guessing?”. This year, I have a joint EP coming with KiddBerch, a longtime friend and a battle rapper from Lyrical Wars. The first single off the project is titled “Smoke”, and it’s coming out in March.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring musicians, and what do you wish you knew when you were starting out?
A: I wish someone had told me earlier that I could always do both and that there was no need for me to try so hard to combine school with music. So I always blame myself for having poor grades in my first year in law school. Thing is, you just have to know yourself and know what your priorities are. If you’re in school and you feel like you want the degree, you probably should relax on the music for a while. But if music is your only priority, then by all means, give them hell.
Stream R.B.D latest album Still Guessing? here