There is a lot to learn about money from hip-hop. One wouldn’t necessarily think that rappers could provide sound money advice to us, what between making it rain and freezing up their necks with all that ice.
But let’s face it, most of us have at one point or another in our former (or present) years belted out the lyrics to Notorious B.I.G’s ‘Mo Money Mo Problems’ at a party and/or dingy club, without paying attention to the fiscal wisdom inherent in Big Poppa’s lyrics.
But as is evident from their lyrical bragging about Bugattis, private jets and Picassos, which are of course true, these guys know how to make and save some dough/bread/lettuce/cheddar.
I’m not sure why so many hip-hop synonyms for money are food, but take your pick.
So let’s take some leaves out of the books of hip-hop’s most qualified financial advisers, and if you want some proof of their financial credibility, just check any Forbes Cash Kings list.
1. “Cash Rules Everything Around Me.”
C.R.E.A.M. – Wu-Tang
In our consumer driven society, money really does run the world, and without enough of it you’ll have a hard time getting by. Wu-Tang are so down with the NASDAQ they started their own financial advisory company.
2. “I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hell, I am a hustler baby, I’ll sell water to a well.”
U Don’t Know – Jay Z
Hov knows one way to make sure you’re earning your paper is by being top of your game. Be better than anyone else, make employers or customers believe that you provide skills or a service they didn’t even know they needed before.
3. “Dues gettin’ credited, now I debit my bank account”
A Penny For My Thoughts – Common
Common Sense delivers some common sense: don’t spend what you don’t have. Credit cards and loans are not your money. It may look like it when the numbers are on a screen, but this is money to be paid back, and then some, so use your debit account as much as you can.
4. “Floss a little; invest up in a mutual fund.”
Dangerous – Busta Rhymes
Translation: when you have some extra cash, treat yourself a little, but put the majority of the money in a mutual fund. Very sound words from Busa Bus.
Put this advice into practice: how to be rich.
5. “Never loan somebody what you need right back.”
All Me – Drake
Loaning money to people is never a great idea, no matter how close the person is to you, it can – and often does – go bad. Unless you’re utterly ballin’ out, chances are you will need those funds back and recovering them may prove difficult.
6. “Phone bill about two G’s flat. No need to worry, my accountant handles that.”
Juicy – Notorious B.I.G.
While most of us hopefully don’t have $2k phone bills, having an accountant or financial adviser is a good thing as you get older and are most likely earning more. They point you in the right direction for accounts, super, and investments. And they’ll probably make you more money on your tax return.
7. “Let’s toast to paid mortgages, lasting marriages.”
Art Imitates Life – Talib Kweli
One of the most valuable things you will ever own is a home. Pay off your mortgage as quickly as you can so you can really call the house yours. Having a lasting marriage is good too.
8. “So I dig into my pocket, all my money spent. So I dig deeper, but still coming up with lint.”
Paid In Full – Eric B. & Rakim
Be careful with your money and don’t go wildin’ out with your savings, because surprise surprise, you’ll end up with very empty pockets.
9. “Don’t drive a Bentley on a Benz income.”
How To Survive In A Recession – Slim Thug
Ok so not exactly a song, but Slim Thug wrote a book about surviving the economic downturn. Slim Thug. Wrote a book. About finance. I am still wrapping my head around this, but the piece of advice above is actually brilliant. Too many people live beyond their means either because they want more and are trying to impress people, or they just have expensive taste. Whatever the case, be realistic and spend realistically. Side note, he has said in interviews that he no longer “makes it rain” at strip clubs but “makes it drizzle.”
Who the hell would buy a financial advice book by a guy called Slim Thug?
10. “Take no chances, stop freelancin’”
YOLO (verse) – Kendrick Lamar
“Invest in your future, don’t dilute your finances
401K, make sure it’s low risk
Then get some real estate (how much?)
4.2%, Thirty year mortgage
That’s important, that’s a great deal
And if you can’t afford it, don’t forge it on your last bill
Renting is for suckers right now, a dependable savings
And you’ll retire with money in your account Beast.”
Sorry it’s long, but this entire verse is amazing. It was written for a Saturday Night Live/Lonely Island song, but that doesn’t diminish any of its wisdom.
I don’t even need to explain this, it’s straight up hard core personal finance advice. K Dot is a great example of fiscal responsibility; he recently bought a modest house costing $524,000 despite earning over $9 million net last year.
There you have it, all the financial direction the rap gods have bestowed upon me, and now you. If you follow their advice you’re sure to end up like Biggie sipping Champagne when you’re thirsty because it’s all about the Benjamins baby. Dollar Dollar bill y’all.