Sweat The Technique – Book Review

I’ve been a hip hop fan since I stood in line in Jersey at age 8 way back in 1979 to buy the first wide-release record.

I’m also a big fan of studying experts, visionaries and trendsetters in all fields, not just those directly in my professional category.

Rakim has a legitimate claim to the title of “The Greatest Lyricist of All Time” on the cover of his new autobiography, Sweat The Technique. Unlike most hip hop autobiographies it is light on the “street” and “underbelly” side of the business and deep on the personal and professional development side of the business. This book is a look inside the emotional and mental process of a true expert at his craft and there are many lessons transferable to any and all other professional and creative endeavors.

As you can see in my handwritten book notes below (I take visual notes in the form of mind maps) there are four main areas Rakim goes deep on: Writing/Creative Process, Inspiration, Finding Your Path, and Consciousness as a development and execution resource.  My notes on each section are as follows:

Writing / The Creative Process

  • Work without distraction -Rakim prefers dead silence, a space that is dedicated to doing the work (Steven Pressfield also talk about this)
  • Focus on your purpose
  • Develop pre-writing mindset cues and rituals
  • Inspiration serves a dual purpose
    • You can learn from literally everything around you that can be observed
    • Awareness of self and your unique offer as an artist
  • Three Steps to the broader process
    • Focus on your intentions
    • Make something original
    • Out0do what you have already done
  • If its not original, it’s not memorable.”
  • The “Hip Hop Way of Thinking” is about confidence and ego (positive)
  • Have fun.”


  • EVERYTHING is inspiration
  • Create a master plan – get organized about it
  • Set limitations to keep you focused
  • Find a moral center
  • Cultivate a constant unquenchable thirst for the next spark of creativity.”

Find Your Path

  • Find your purpose – this grows out of your identity
  • Your work should always connect to your purpose (Essentialism/Greg McKeown)
  • Originality
    • Makes people listen to what you have to say
    • Means you don’t have to reinvent yourself
  • Put yourself in a position so that YOU are the only competition
    • Find your lane
    • Stay in it
    • Stay focused
  • You have to motivate yourself.


  • Respect your audience
  • Implement your vision
  • Remember your purpose
  • Performing helps build the art (this could translate into other areas a public speaking, writing, giving interviews, teaching, mentoring, etc.)
  • Three steps
    • Experiment
    • Share
    • Get feedback
  • It’s not where you are from it’s where you’re at.”

As always, follow my Legacy Mentor feed on Instagram for daily quotes, book and product reviews, and knowledge bombs. www.instagram.com/legacymentorofficial

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