Business Advice From Hip Hop Lyrics – 11 Timeless Examples

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 me

C.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 better
When they start to understand that they are valuable

Fear Not of Man – Mos Def

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 timid
Only make moves when your heart’s in it
And live the phrase “sky’s the limit”

Sky’s the limit – Biggie

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 one
Bring it back, now double your money and make it stack
I’m on to the next one

On to the next one – Jay Z

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 cost

Bridging 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 pictures

HYFR – 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 sense

Ayo – 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 …
Cause ain’t nothing’ but sweat inside my hand

Paid in Full – Eric B & Rakim

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 disguise

K.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 hard
When the check hit the bank, s**t, I ain’t even notice

Back to business – Dr Dre

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, man

Diamonds 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!

Click here to listen to the playlist