The freelance journey can often be a struggle. Research from Cambridge University (2014) found that rap songs have a positive effect on mental wellbeing, providing a sense of empowerment and self-knowledge that other music cannot compete.
As a major theme of hip hop is fighting out of a struggle towards glorious success, rappers prove insightful and helpful with the ups and downs of freelancing – even if their ‘rugged’ way of putting things makes most hip hop jams unsafe for listening in a real-life office.
So if you need to come out fighting, a rap hit is a freelancer’s little helper. Enjoy these quotes and tracks, and get some hip hop bounce in your step.
Rappers on Motivation
1. You need to git up, git out and git something… How will you make it if you never even try?
Outkast / Git Up, Git Out
2. Stop dreaming? People who say that are blaspheming. They’re doing nine to five and moaning, and they don’t want you succeeding when they’ve blown it. And your idols — who are they? They too dreamt about their day. Positive steps will see your goals, whether it’s dollars or control, feel the gold.
Mike Skinner a.k.a The Streets / Stay Positive
3. Success is my only m&therf$&king option.
Eminem / Lose Yourself
4. This is 10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrate power of will, 5% pleasure and 50% pain and 100% reason to remember the name.
Fort Minor / Remember the Name
5. And if at first, you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again, try again
Aaliyah / Try Again
6. I used to focus on being the dopest rapper in the game, and then once that became what I was, I wanted something different, and I wanted to become the best businessman in the game. I wanted to learn how to master the business like I mastered the rap.
Snoop Dogg: rapper, entrepreneur and so money supermarket
7. Stop walking through life as if you were blind; you should reach for your goal cause I’m reaching for mine.
MC Shan / The Bridge
8. Everybody self-actualise and realise, do what you got to do. If you can see it, you can be it. If your mind can go there, then why can't you?
Urban Thermo Dynamics /Manifest Destiny
On getting paid
9. Play the game for my people; stay in charge of your dreams. Keep your vision focused, get wise, and largen your C.R.E.A.M.
AZ / New Life
10. Cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M get the money, dollar dollar bills ya’ll.
Method Man / C.R.E.A.M by Wu Tang Clan
11. Rebel, renegade, must stay paid.
KRS-One /I’m Still #1
12. Apply yourself to supply your wealth, only limitations you’ll ever have are those you place upon yourself.
GLC in Poe Man's Dreams by Kendrick Lamar
13. Make a business for yourself, boy, set some goals. Make a fat diamond out of dusty coals.
Big Boi, Outkast / B.O.B
On keeping your cool
14. No idea’s original. There’s nothing new under the sun. It’s never what you do but how it’s done. What you base your happiness around? Material, women, and large paper? That means you inferior, not major.
Nas / No Idea’s Original
15. If I woke up tomorrow and didn’t have a dollar, as long as I have my heart, I can get it all over.
Wale / Self Made
16. Time is money; every moment is costly, so I ration emotion, ‘cause existence exhausts me.
Atmosphere / They’re all gonna laugh at you
17. I got mouths to feed. Unnecessary beef is more cows to breed.
GZA /4th Chamber
18. Life is a gamble, we scramble for money, I might crack a smile, but ain’t a damn thing funny.
Prodigy / Eye for an Eye (Your Beef Is Mines) by Mobb Deep
19. Raise your right palm: We do solemnly swear… to stack more dough more calmly this year.
MF Doom / Get ‘Er Done
20. The mind is a terrible thing to waste. I show love cause it’s a terrible thing to hate.
Guru /Peace of Mine
21. I never allowed my fear to limit me.
22. Don’t make decisions based on the fear.
23. Working hard may help you maintain, to learn to overcome the heartaches and pain.
Inspectah Deck / C.R.E.A.M. by Wu-Tang Clan
24. Don’t cry, dry your eyes, never let up, Forgive but don’t forget, girl, keep your head up.
25. Nevermind what haters say, ignore them ‘til they fade away.
T.I. / Live Your Life
26. At the end of the day, just do what you feel, make your art and people are gonna like it or they won’t. And that’s really what it is.
Action Bronson, gourmet New York chef turned pro rapper
On work rate
27. Once you find your lane, you can’t cruise; When you define the game, you can’t lose.
Ka / Nothing Is
28. F&ck the world, don’t ask me for sh1t, Everything you get you gotta work hard for it.
Notorious B.I.G. & Method Man / “The What”
29. Till the roof comes off. Till the lights go out. Till my legs give out. Can’t shut my mouth. Till the smoke clears out. Am I high? Perhaps. Gonna rip this sh1t till my bone collapse.
Nate Dogg on Eminem’s Till I Collapse Watch the Video
30. Never looking back or too far in front of me. The present is a gift, I just wanna be.
Common / Be Intro
31. I come strong, I make knowledge born, I flip the script and rock on From P.M. past to f@cking dawn.
Ol’ Dirty B@stard / Damage
32. The only difference between a winner and a loser is a winner plays until he wins.
Big KRIT / Boobie Miles
33. Keep my planets in orbit. Never forfeit or quit, Move forward…
RZA / Tragedy
34. I’ve never really viewed myself as particularly talented, where I excel is ridiculous, sickening work ethic. While the other guy is sleeping, I’m working. While the other guy is eating, I’m working.
On coping with stress
35. The world is kinda cold and the rhythm is my blanket.
Q-Tip / Verses from the Abstract
36. Picked up the yoga, put down the soda. My healthy mind…that’s what’s gon’ help me over. I never lose, I only win or learn; It’s all about your state of mind.
Dizzy Wright / State of Mind
37. Everybody looking at you crazy, What you gon’ do? Lift up your head and keep moving, or let the paranoia haunt you?
Kendrick Lamar / I
38. The world is full of bullshitters, Liars, and triers and quitters, Coulda-beens, wannabe’s, thought-I-was, isn’t-I-is's… And everybody in your business.
Aceyalone / Keep It True
39. Pay attention to whom your energy increases and decreases around. That’s the universe giving you a hint of who you should embrace and who you should keep away from.
On being true to yourself
40. Some people say I'm conscious, some say I'm a gangsta rapper - it's just me doing me. I'm stomping in my own lane. I'm doing what I do.
41. I don't mind being called a weirdo. There are a lot of people in hip-hop who are probably never going to get what I do. But, by just being myself, I end up touching a lot more people who might never have paid much attention to a female rapper.
42. A rapper is about being completely true to yourself. Being an actor is about changing who you are.
43. If you're really a rapper, you can't stop rapping.
44. What is meant to be, will be.
Lauren Hill / Everything is Everything
On maintaining swagger
45. If you are what you say you are, a superstar, then have no fear, the camera’s here.
Lupe Fiasco / Superstar
46. Sky is the limit and know that you can have what you want, be what you want.
47. My word of advice to you is just relax. Just do what you got to do.
Dead Prez / Hip Hop
48. I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man.
Kanye West / Diamonds from Sierra Leone
49. Got this game in my hand, be cool.
Dizzee Rascal / Jus a Rascal
50. I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hell, I am a hustler baby, I’ll sell water to a well.
Jay Z / You Don't Know
If all else fails
Shake it, like a Polaroid picture!
Andre 3000 / Hey Ya by Outkast
These songs all carry the Parental Advisory explicit lyrics badge, which makes them largely unsafe for work. Enjoy alone, with likeminded souls or pumped loud with the windows down at traffic lights.
For further info on the Cambridge University’s hip hop psych research, see their department of psychiatry website here.
Enjoy! Keep it real.