I’m sure some people would insist that a person would be crazy to quit his position as a lawyer to pursue a career in the rap field. Or maybe that person is just following his dreams. Mekka Don is a author, a lawyer, a former college football player for the Ohio St Buckeyes, and just a man of many talents. Recently, he had one of the (if not THE) most prestigious DJ in the industry to release his mixtape “Law & Order”. Mekka desires to bring positivity back to the game while still delivering the goods. “Law & Order” brings a mix of underground hip hop and radio friendly jams and a wide mix of subjects on a diverse debut effort.
Mekka Don, most prominently known for his online reality series, The “Legal” Hustler, is set to release his first mixtape, “Law and Order”, with DJ Mick Boogie on Monday, March 31st.
Emeka Onyejekwe, aka Mekka Don is a 26 year old lawyer in New York City who graduated from NYU School of Law in 2006, and upon graduation worked as an associate at a top law firm; then left his job to pursue a career in Hip Hop.
While some may think the decision to leave his day job was foolish, Mekka considers it the answer to a higher calling. “Music is my calling. God spoke to me and I listened,” he said of the decision. In some ways, the decision to rap can almost be seen as an extension of his legal career. Mekka Don says he wants to use his talents to inspire and change the world. “Hip Hop needs a change. It needs to be revitalized with new and positive energy. It is such a powerful tool and mechanism to move politics, and if done the right way, it can be used to change millions of peoples’ lives for the better.”
Mekka Don is receiving a wide variety of criticism – mostly revolving around his decision to leave his law firm in order to pursue a career in Hip Hop. His critics range from lawyers to bloggers. Many have questioned the decision calling it a “search for fame/stardom”, “stupid”, “immature”, “a bad business decision”, etc. There are several online threads and blogs that criticize Mekka, but the interesting thing is that almost none of the critics have heard his music. Not all commentary has been negative however. Mekka also has a large following of supporters who believe he is a breath of fresh air – what hip hop needs. “I have thick skin and I can handle criticism. I have been criticized all my life. All I ask is that you take the time to listen to my music before you criticize. I know that I have a following of fans who really understand what I’m trying to do and that’s why I won’t stop.”
When asked about his participation in Mekka Don’s mixtape, “Law and Order”, Mick Boogie said, “I was skeptical at first and with the status of the music industry I thought he was crazy for leaving his prestigious job, but he’s proven a lot to me and I’m extremely excited to introduce his music and movement to the world.”
The League Crew’s Terry Urban adds “He was definitely raised on 2pac. I think he’s got a lot of talent. He knows how to stay on the fence between hip hop and radio rap. Good morals and a smart guy. He’s going to be dope.”
Rapper Snoop Dogg took the time to watch an episode of The “Legal” Hustler and stated, “The Law is Rapping Now. That’s what’s up! Tell him to do his thing!”
Prominent entertainment attorney L. Londell McMillan adds, “Mekka is one of the most talented brothers I know. He is the future.”
We had a chance to talk with Mekka, who is a down to earth dude and an enjoyment to deal with…..
Mekka Don: My name is Emeka Onyejekwe aka Mekka Don. I was born and raised in Columbus, OH to two Nigerian parents, and I am the youngest of four children. Growing up, I was a big athlete and loved music of all types. I played football at Ohio State and went to law school at NYU. I worked as an attorney at Weil, Gotshal, and Manges, and now have a law firm with my sister, Sylvia.
W: Alright, so the obvious first question is why would you give up a perfectly safe, lucrative, and respectable career in practicing law for the fickle arena of hip hop?
MD: Personally I didn’t feel that I was doing anything meaningful each day I went to work. I felt and still feel that my purpose on this earth is to spread positivity and serve as a role model to the youth – particularly minority youth. Through music, I can spread messages to a wide audience and serve as a positive image in popular culture. When viewed under that lens, it can be almost be seen as a political move. I often say, “I’m not a rapper, I’m a politician.”
W: What were some of your first/early influences in the rap game? Who inspires you in the current state of hip hop?
MD: Some of my early influences were Busta Rhymes, Redman, De La Soul, Michael Jackson and Tupac. Some of my influences today are JayZ, Kanye, Common, TI, and Andre 3000.
W: Has the change been more difficult or easier than you originally planned?
MD: So far it is about what I expected it to be. There was a lot of resistence initially from all sides, but slowly but surely people are coming around – especially after they hear the music. I have faced major criticism early, which I feel is good for me, because I feel it prepares me well for what will inevitably come.
W: Your hustle is commendable, in a short amount of time since beginning your journey, you’ve released a mixtape with a well known DJ, had a series on youtube dealing with your day to day dealings and you’ve been making your name known around the internet, how is coming and what future plans do you have to get your name out there?
MD: Thank you. I think the most important thing for me to do now is keep releasing music and performing. At a certain point, all people care about is whether the music is consistently hot or not. I believe many things will take care
of themselves if I keep putting out hot music. Also, I am working on an album that I plan on releasing within the next year. Please check out my feature in XXL’s July issue coming up.
W: You hooked up with Mick Boogie for your “first”(?) mixtape, he is pretty well known in the game, how did you hook up with Mick on that?
MD: My manager (Viswant Korrapati) and Mick Boogie have had a good relationship for a little while. Mick has heard my music and as a result we were able to sell him on the idea. Being that we both rep Ohio, both sides felt it was an overall good look. Things worked out because the mixtape is buzzing now.
W: In your reality series, in the first episode, you mention about bringing a much needed positive vibe back to the game, while still keeping it “hip”. How do you plan on portraying the positive influence while still keeping is something the masses want to hear? How do you look at the current state of hip hop?
MD: My experiences in life are vast – from the corporate world to the streets and everything in between. As a result, I can talk about a lot of things that different people can relate to. Just because I’m a lawyer doesn’t mean I don’t like to kick it, pop bottles, and have fun. I am very down to earth, humble, and am basically just like everyone else.
As far as hip hop goes, I feel most artists today lack originality. Many artists and labels are taking a cookie cutter approach to hip hop, which isn’t how things used to be. Most new artists aren’t even known – people just know their single. Part of the reason why we put out my reality show, The “Legal” Hustler (please check it at www.youtube.com/mekkadonmusic), is to give people an inside on who I am and what I’m about – I believe that’s how artists become BIG. People have to be ale to relate to them and know what they represent.
W: What kind of plans for your future? Any producers or guest artists you want to work with?
MD: I would like to work with Kanye, Andre 3000 and JayZ. I feel that they get it and that will respect what I’m doing. Plus they also know how to make hit records and build fan bases. Right now I am working with The Kickdrums, Sixth Sense, The Layzboys, TG, and 5000 Fingers – and they are ALL hot.
W: Little off topic, but one of my other contributors for the site is from Columbus and a HUGE Buckeyes fan, how do you like their chances next season?
MD: I LOVE their chances. It’s been a rough past couple of years, but that adversity is what builds champions. We have 18 starters returning and a lot to prove. People do seem to forget that we won a championship in 2002 – only 6 years ago. I played football at Ohio State and I’m a Buckeye for life – Go Bucks!
W: How is college football and the hip hop game similar, if at all? Different?
MD: I think that the competition in both is steep. You have to bring your “A” game at all times, or you can get upset by the underdog. Also, it is lonely at the top and EVERYONE is gunning for that number one spot. I believe adversity helps you become stronger in the long run. Go Bucks! haha
W: Alright, any parting last words?
MD: I want to say thanks to those who have supported me to date (and those who haven’t). Also I want to encourage people to download my mixtape with Mick Boogie, “Law and Order” for free and check out my new single, “What You Talkin’ Bout” – both can be downloaded from my blog at www.mekkadon.blogspot.com.
W: Thanks, and best of luck to you in the future!
MD: Thank you very much for the love. 2008 is my year so save the date!
MEKKA DON “WHAT YOU TALKIN BOUT?” PROD. BY 6TH SENSE