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Is Hip-Hop the Answer to Millennial Financial Woes?


Young professionals are hitting the workforce in a new era of economic instability. The American dream of the baby boomer days may seem far off as most of us are laden with debt and other financial woes fresh out of college.

A 2013 survey reported that “fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses…50% of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27% had no savings at all.” So what does it mean to be a young adult in a world where jobs are hot commodities, education costs leave a mark, and saving up is now saving up and paying off? I can say this much: Everything I know about money I learned from Country Grammar and when Nelly says Ride Wit Me, I say how fast. Let’s turn to our contemporary wordsmiths for some financial expertise:

1. “But once you get grown and out on your own, Bills upon bills upon bills is what you have, Before you get your check then you already spent half.”

– Common, Rich Man vs. Poor Man


Be prepared to encounter unexpected expenses upon leaving home. Today’s youth are entering the workforce with hundreds of dollars in debt. Those monthly payments will slap you in the face faster than Common can say “We gonna work it out.” It’s important to learn quickly how to manage your incoming paycheck in the face of all your bills; sit down and make a list of everything you are going to see monthly or yearly, and balance that with major expenses in the foreseeable future.

2. “I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hell, I am a hustler baby, I’ll sell water to a well.”

–Jay-Z, You don’t know

Via: Vanity Fair

I’ll wager Shawn Carter always had swag, but he wasn’t always Jay-Z. A man who grew up in the Marcy Projects is now a rapper, producer, investor and entrepreneur. His advice? Hustle where you can. Have an idea for a piece of writing? Pitch it. Always been good at giving financial advice? Sell it. Make money off what you are good at; your expertise is worth it.

3. “Dope money, coke money, Hublot, my watch better. My pen’s better, you don’t write, trendsetter, you clone-like. Pay homage or K’s vomit, ungrateful n***as, I don’t like.”

– Kanye West, I Don’t Like


Kanye West may not have cheated, but he definitely makes savings his bitch. And you know what he doesn’t like? Money made illegally, be it plagiarism or otherwise. Citations live outside the classroom, so watch your own back. Make sure you are always giving credit where it’s due, to other employees or online research you have done.

4. “I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man!”

– Jay-Z, Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)


When it comes to money savvy, the king himself speaks the truth. He has built a brand around himself, now making money on his own name. We all can’t be the hundred million dollar man, but you can begin to build your own brand. You’ll not only legitimize yourself in the face of new business, but can also save a lot by incorporating yourself as a freelancer and tax payer.

5. “Park the car then we start rhyming, ya bish. The only thing we had to free our mind. Then freeze that verse when we see dollar signs.”

–Kendrick Lamar, Money Trees


Our favorite good kid, mA.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar is a true self-made story. We’ve got a lot to learn from a 25 year-old kid who was just named MTV’s “Hottest MC in the Game.” You may have to keep your day job a little longer than Lamar, but don’t stop doing what you love. Be it rapping or knitting, if you hone your skill you will be able to sell it in the future.

Millenials in the city. We’ve got a hundred stashed in the event that our friend hosts a birthday party at Toy NYC, but we can’t start a savings account for the life of us. We are coming of age alongside the worst financial situation America has seen since the great depression. Maybe its because “mo’ money mo’ problems,” but I think Notorious B.I.G. would advise that the tasting menu should be foregone for a little just in case fund. Join the movement: begin to make conscious changes to your spending and move toward a mindful future. Hustlin’ ’til we die.

What hip-hop lyrics speak most to your financial situation?

Contributed by Moven Community Manager Maureen O’Brien.

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