Ideas & Debate

3 Lessons we can learn from Forbes rap billionaire

Jay Z with wife Beyonce
Jay Z with wife Beyonce at a past event. The rapper offers three valuable lessons for the investing world in one of his songs. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Hip Hop turns 47 this year and there’s a good reason to celebrate. For the first time in music history, the genre topped Rock-n-Roll as the most popular, according to Nielsen Music 2018 report.

Top 10 of the most-streamed songs last year all belonged to this category. That said, Hip-hop is a hard act to follow.

Usual themes on misogyny, materialism and toxic masculinity are a stumbling block to many. Besides, countless rappers offer no meaningful lessons on money management or investment.

This is why, slightly over two years ago, when one of its shining stars, Shawn Jay Z Carter, dropped the unusual album – 4:44, it was sort of an oddity.

For the full 36 minutes of the album, he wrestles with Hip-hop’s own dark side (as well as his own) and also shares a few legit money lessons. I was impressed.


To our benefit today, we get to pick some money lessons specifically from the track the song of O.J.

On reckless spending and playing the long game, Jay raps: “I bought every V12 engine, wish I could take it back to the beginning, I could have bought a place in Dumbo before it was Dumbo for like two million that same building today is worth twenty-five million, guess how I am feeling? Dumbo.”

Takeaway: Invest like the farmer. Plant and patiently wait for the rains to make your valuable crops grow. Getting caught up in lifestyle purchases trying to impress is a fools’ game.

Wise money buys appreciating assets while the fool buys stuff. In the end, the latter ends up in the poor house while the wise guy gets to retire on the hill mansion.

On inheritance and succession, Jay adds: “I bought some artwork for one million, two years later, that price is worth two million, Five years later, that piece is worth eight million, I can’t wait to give this piece to my children, You may think it’s bougie, I’m like, it’s fine, But I’m trying to give you a million dollars’ worth of game for nine ninety-nine.”

Takeaway: Growing generational wealth is something admirable. A good man/woman leaves an inheritance to his/her children’s children. Your YOLO (You only live once) attitude is an impediment to this.

On having good credit and living within your means, Jay says; “You want to know what’s more important than throwing away money at a strip club? Credit. Financial freedom is my only hope. Forget living rich and dying broke”

Takeaway: Develop good money habits. Pay your debts. Get good credit. Remember not to buy a car on a bicycle salary.

Truly, the lessons packed in this song (and the rest of the album) are worth paying attention to. Brother Jay does well unpacking his world in a real way.

The poor kid from the Brooklyn ghetto has done well for himself too. The newly minted Forbes billionaire is one of only a handful of entertainers to gain this status and the first hip-hop artist to do so.

He may have 99 problems but money is not one of them.