Financial Wisdom From Jay-Z's Two Best Albums

Money has a prominent role in the culture and content of rap.

Lyrics focus on it and alburm sales create it.

Rap lyrics about money have shown everything from tautological focus (‘mind on my money and my money on my mind’), to boderline platitudunal insight (‘mo money, mo problems’) to theologically tinged advice (’10 Crack Commandments’) to a critique of money as a dominant theme via endless repition of a single sum (‘A Milli’).

But Jay-Z is the master of the lyrical MBA.

Don't limit your geographical reach, but only expand once you've built internal loyalty

'last seen out of state where I drop my slang
I'm deep in the south kicking up top game
bouncing on the highway switching 4 lanes
screaming through the sun roof money ain't a thang
your worst fear confirmed,
me and my fam roll tight like the firm
getting down for life, that's right, you better learn'

Can't Knock The Hustle

Be aware of the 'legality' or your business and act accordingly

'I'm takin wages down in Vegas just in case Tyson
have a major night off, that's clean money, the tax write-off'

Politics As Usual

Do Not Shy Away From Risk

'Long as the villian win
I spend Japan yen, attend major events
Catch me in the joints, convinced my iguanas is bitin
J-A-Y hyphen, controllin, manipulatin
I got a good life man, pounds and pence
Nuff dollars make sense, while you ride the bench
Catch me swinging for the fence
Dead Presidents, ya know'

Dead Presidents II

In business, it's one dollar (or one share) one vote

Focus on what can really make you money and ignore the rest

Wealth breeds an odd combination of arrogance and insecurity

'But these mils make me hot y'all feel me
Enough to stop the illin right?
But at the same time these dimes keep me feelin tight
I'm so confused'

Feelin It

You won't make it big as a median wage earner

'Nine to five is how to survive, I ain't trying to survive
I'm trying to live it to the limit and love it a lot'


You need to have drive and be willing to risk everything

'Yeah, hah, yeah Roc-A-Fella
We invite you to, somethin epic y'all know?
Well we hustle out of a sense of, hopelessness
Sort of a desperation
Through that desperation, we 'come addicted
Sorta like the fiends we accustomed to servin
But we feel we have nothin to lose
so we offer you, well, we offer our lives, right
What do you bring to the table?'

Can I Live

Multiple income steams are a good thing

'High post like Hakeem, got a lot of things to drop
Brooklyn to Queens, I gotta keep my steam'

Bring It On

Consistency is key

Know what you are worth and demand it

Business fundamentals are a constant, but some lines of work are more dangerous than others

'They say that we are prone to violence, but it's home sweet home
Where personalities crash and chrome meets chrome
They quote prices up and down like it's Wall Street homes
But this is worse than the Dow Jones your brains are now blown'

U Don't Know

Use a cash cow to fund new ventures

Some relationships must be above business

'Let no amount of money ruin this thing of ours'

Never Change

But some relationships will inevitably change when success comes

'We was so happy poor but when we got rich
That's when our signals got crossed, and we got flipped'

Song Cry

Have an unquenchable work ethic

'I'm far from being God
But I work goddamn hard
I wake up the birds who in the nerves is sleep
I'm catching my second wind the second the first one end
I am focused man'

Breathe Easy

And once you've made it big, you'll need a tax shelter

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