Hip hop celebrates 50 years this month…
and there’s a lot about business you can learn from some of the lyrics we’ve been blessed with during that time.
In this post we’re taking a bit of a break from the usual to celebrate some of our favourite and most inspirational hip hop lyrics, and consider what we can learn from them about business.
These lyrics span West Coast to East Coast, and cover most (not quite all) of the fifty years hop hop has been with us.
Let’s get in to it…
Cash rules everything around meC.R.E.A.M – Wu Tang Clan
Lets start with a fundamental truth. As any business owner is likely well aware of, cash flow is key particularly when you’re planning to grow. It’s usually readily available when you don’t need it and in tight supply when you do so plan accordingly
Well, from my understanding people get betterFear Not of Man – Mos Def
When they start to understand that they are valuable
Mos is a legend in the delivery of conscious hip hop, exemplified by these lines. People are more important even than the cash if you want to succeed, and so make sure they know how important they are to you.
Stay far from timidSky’s the limit – Biggie
Only make moves when your heart’s in it
And live the phrase “sky’s the limit”
Can’t talk about hip hop without mentioning the Notorious B.I.G. Business is for the bold – remember why you started in the first place, and go B.I.G.
I got a million ways to get it, choose oneOn to the next one – Jay Z
Bring it back, now double your money and make it stack
I’m on to the next one
Sticking in NY, mister board room rap himself Jay-Z reminds us that there literally are a million ways to succeed in business. Success is about forward momentum, “cause it’s all about progression, Loiterers should be arrested“
Keep integrity at every costBridging the gap – Nas
I like this one so much its one of our company’s foundational values. Plus there’s no way Nas wasn’t going to make it on to this list.
This line speaks for itself
I learned workin’ with the negatives could make for better picturesHYFR – Drake ft Lil’ Wayne
Let’s face it, business isn’t a one way street of success – but it’s the failures that can actually move you on more than the successes if you pay them the right attention and use them as a tool to learn from
If it don’t make dollars it don’t make senseAyo – Tyga
Perhaps in the world of social enterprise not so relevant, but for most business owners out there, continuation & profitability of the business is paramount and so you NEED to double down on the activities that are making you money and drop those that don’t
Advice that Tyga’s ex and richest young person in the world Kiley Jenner has obviously taken to heart…
Thinking of a masterplan …Paid in Full – Eric B & Rakim
Cause ain’t nothing’ but sweat inside my hand
Old school wisdom & one of the first hip hop tracks I owned. Love how this is about strategy, hard work and the hard times that often come while you’re waiting to make it, conveyed so perfectly in just 12 words
Life without knowledge is death in disguiseK.O.S – Black Star
We’ve already featured some Mos Def advice, now time for this gem from his Black Star bandmate Talib Kweli
The most successful and most interesting people I know are the knowledge-hungry ones – and I don’t mean people who just read the business success books. Read & consume knowledge widely, about everything, because you never know where inspiration will come from (Like hip hop lyrics for example…)
Man I’m working so hardBack to business – Dr Dre
When the check hit the bank, s**t, I ain’t even notice
There’s a real lack of West Coast representation here so far so time for some words from Beats founder & business mogul Mr Andre Young.
This line from unreleased vault track Back to Business typifies Dre’s attitude to hard work and is a blueprint to live by
I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, manDiamonds from Sierra Leone – Kanye West ft Jay-Z
I’ll sign off with a reminder that (and I suspect this still rings true if you’re CEO of a multi-national corporation) you ARE your business & your business will be defined by who you are and what you do
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the post, been challenged, found a tune or two you haven’t heard of before…
Here’s to the next 50 years!