Cap'n Arbyte's


Local interest

Other sites


Hip Hop Personal Finance

I recently surprised a friend of mine by mentioning I listened to hip hop music. Sure I do! What's not to like? Songs full of rhymes about women and money, glamorizing the have-it-all lifestyle. To make a sweeping generalization, it's music that's proud of enjoying life. Food for the soul. A reminder that success is something to desire, not something to feel guilty for or envious of.

There's an up-and-coming artist going by the stage name Billy Shakes who has followed the money angle of hip hop music to an … interesting place. His real name is Terence Bradford, and he lives an astonishing dual life: Sales manager for Citi Mortgage by day, and personal finance rapper by night.

Your coke illegal every day of the year
My Coke I buy legit, twenty dollars a share
You a gangster? Then go and get your paper
I'm a paper gangster gettin' stock quotes on my pager
Stocks and drugs both the same in my eyes
More buyers than the sellers cause the market to rise
I know you out there really click-clackin' your guns
Fuck with me, I'll have you stick-stackin' mutual funds
Street game'll get you hit nine times like Fifty
I'm banking bucks by the millions nine times fifty
Thousands on a whip don't make you a star
I'm buyin' options in the company that's makin' them cars, nigga

That's a sample from his song "Stocks and Bonds". You can download three tracks from his website, but as far as I can tell he hasn't published a CD yet. These might be demo tracks rather than a finished product. My favorite of the three is "Dollar Cost Average". The other, "Never Can Say Goodbye", doesn't do much for me.

I'll admit, I can't listen to this stuff without breaking out laughing. I know he's trying to do a good thing by using music to educate people about personal finance, but I'm not sure whether it succeeds on either level. But I do plan to buy the CD when it comes out so I can make a full evaluation. Besides, the novelty alone is reason enough to own it. :)

Tiny Island