Rappers: the lesser known gems of the entrepreneurial world
To me real music, no matter what genre, has to be a true expression of who you are and what you represent based on your own experiences. Now aside from the references to crime which can be a common topic for rappers, it’s my job to persuade you in this article, that you can learn a thing or two about money from them.
If the word ‘hustle’ was made famous by anything, it would be rap music, otherwise known as hip hop. To hustle or to be a hustler is someone who is practicing the art of turning nothing into something. This art is practiced all over the world but is more common in places of poverty, where resources and opportunities are finite.
Rappers, at least historically, have grown up in some of the most impoverished places in the United States. Artists like Nas and the members of Mobb Deep are from the projects (government housing estates) of Queens bridge, notorious for gun crime and extreme poverty. It is therefore safe to say, even if you don’t listen to their music, they know what it’s like to hustle.
I believe that when you are in these sorts of environments where you have to hustle everyday to survive, it brings you to many a realization- creating a new perspective in how you view money as a whole. I think that no quote better encapsulates this pointthan Wu-Tang-Clan, who said “cash rules everything around me”. It’s revelations such as these that make you a more well rounded entrepreneur.
You won’t be hard pressed to find lyrics on rappers entrepreneurial endeavors and as a matter of fact, you can find many rap songs dedicated solely to hustling/entrepreneurship. A great example is by Masta Ace with his song ‘da grind’ which includes this powerful set of lyrics “I be the manager, road manager and call handler, booking agent, choreographer and tour planner. I be the v.p. of marketing and promotions, producer and arranger, with a range of emotions. And after it all, I still gotta perform at 3 o’clock in the morn, when half the fans are gone.”A great illustration of the sacrifices that you have to madein order to be successful.
P diddy is perhaps most known for being a rapper, however if you were to look at his life and the moves he has made outside of music as an entrepreneur, you would be shocked. Aside from creating his own record label which was an eventual success, he’s gone on to invest in vodka, clothing brands, water and television. He is estimated to be worth around $850 million, not bad considering he once used to juggle low paying jobs like doing the paper round and working at a gas station. P diddy’slife is a great example of entrepreneurial talent and had it not been for this next man, he would've most likely been the first billionaire to come from the rap/hip hop industry.
It was announced towards the latter portion of last year (2019), that the rapper Jay Z, according to Forbes, was now a billionaire. Jay Z has had many lucrative investments and businesses over the years including Roc-A-Fella records, Uber and Armand de Brignac champagne ($850 a bottle).
Having said that, like most rappers he also came from humble beginnings, there was a recurring theme of his experiences/dealings with money as early as his first album called Reasonable doubt. To pick just one song of that album entitled ‘Can I Live’ you’ll find lines such as ‘manifest it in tangible goods, platinum rolex’d it, we don’t lease we buy the whole car, as you should’. What this means is invest in goods you can touch and can truly own respectively. There is an old saying in the investment world that goes like this ‘if you can’t hold it, you don’t own it’.
Today, 24 years after his debut album, he still includes valuable takeaways from his music on entrepreneurship. One of his most recent songs, ' The Life Of O.J.’ has perhaps given more of an insight into his life as an entrepreneur than even seen before with lines like “Y'all out here still takin' advances, huh? Me and my n****s takin' real chances, uh”, “you wanna know what’s more important than throwing money away at the strip club? credit” and “I bought some artwork for one million, two years later, that s*** worth two million, a few years later, that s**** worth eight million. I can’t wait to give this s**** to my children”. The first lyric draws a line between him, who is comfortable enough to take risks and those who need security in the form of early payment to get by. The second lyric I quoted is short and simple, rational long term decisions out trumps short term pleasures. Lastly, Jay reveals the profitability of investing in art, which has become a more popular investment choice in recent years.
This article has analyzed just a small portion of what you can take away, as an entrepreneur, from rap songs and the lives of rappers who have had a track record of being successful. Rap isn’t for everyone, but I recommend next time you feel demotivated or uninspired to analyze the lives or lyrics of rappers and you never know, you may learn a thing or two.
Biography- Dan Waterman is an entrepreneur from England who has a passion for personal finance and through his blog, the-money-equation.com, teaches others how they can make money online click here for more .