Harvard Law Graduate Chooses Hip Hop over Six-Figure Job Offers

Conscious rapper, A.D. the VOICE has committed his life to Hip Hop culture and its potential for social transformation. He has done so in spite of the six-figure offers he received from three different law firms upon graduating from the most elite academic institutions in the world — Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and Harvard Law.

With the December 4 release of his debut album, Painfully Free, an independent recording from the Los Angeles-based label, STATiK Entertainment, a new narrative in Hip Hop emerges — one rooted in black intellectual excellence and the human struggle for peace and truth. Free is less about any one particular sound, and more about a universal sound that speaks to the human condition. “I believe the natural state of man is painfully free, and to get there we must be prepared to face up to the truth,” A.D. says. “They say the truth hurts. But it can also set you free. And I would rather be painfully free than remain in painless captivity.”

Free is also about A.D.’s belief that Hip Hop culture has greater potential for bringing about social change than our flawed legal system. “Pursuing my passion toward music and hip hop culture was a non-traditional method for pursuing social justice. I tried the sensible path toward making change but it was clear after my first year at Harvard Law, that our system of laws might not be capable of facilitating the sort of change I had in mind. However, through music I found a method to illustrate my vehicle for social change — the power of an education.”

“Hip Hop culture, like the Church during the Civil Rights Movement, has the potential to function as an informal educational system, and a political space for radical social change. It speaks for the outcasts of society — the single mother, incarcerated father, and abandoned child — those the elite use as a scapegoat when the American dream fails for poor and lower middle class people.”

A.D.’s commitment to positive social change is not only demonstrated through his words and music but also through his actions. He has worked with youth focused programs including “A Better Chance” and “The Oliver Program” to help students from underprivileged backgrounds receive an education at the best high school programs in the country. He has also worked with kids in public schools and boys and girls clubs to teach them about their 4th Amendment Rights in an effort to mitigate the pitfalls of the “School to Prison Pipeline” that so many minority youths fall victim to.

A.D. was recently presented with The Heineken Independent Achiever Award for music excellence at a special event featuring a performance by one of his inspirations, Grammy award winner Common. The award recognizes individuals who demonstrate the hustle, integrity and drive necessary to “make it,” while making an impact and inspiring others. A.D. is one of eight artists across the country handpicked by a committee of industry leaders.

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