21 September 2009
The rap music that empowers entrepreneurship
The scapegoat for many social commentators, rap music unfortunately faces much political unpopularity. Even many avid listeners and fans, like John McWhorter, see the art form as a net harm to society. Few mainstream intellectuals would be caught dead defending its value except as the inevitable byproducts of a free society.
As we've written elsewhere, we are avid defenders of this brilliant genre at the Prometheus Institute.
Personally, I see the greatest social benefit from hip-hop being its inspiring entrepreneurial ambition. Anyone stuck in the grind or trying to make it can identify with rappers in their struggles. Hip-hop can be a source of emotional fuel or a cleansing outlet.
Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, like millions of athletes around the world, listens to rap before he smashes his competition. Millions of more people you've never met listen to rap to gain confidence before business meetings or school tests. As the University of Miami football team will tell you, swagger just enhances performance.
Moreover, hip-hop offers lyrical inspiration as well. These messages help stoke the fires of entrepreneurial ambition, and to demonstrate what I'm talking about, here is my evolving list of the most Entrepreneurially Inspirational Hip-Hop Lines of All Time.
You can dream a little dream
Or you can live it
'Cause dreamers always chase but never get it
- Aesop Rock, "No Regrets"
I never asked for nothin I don't demand of myself
Honesty, loyalty, friends and then wealth
Death before dishonor and I tell you what else
I tighten my belt before I beg for help
- Jay-Z, "Justify my Thug"
No joke, 'cause growin up dirty, hungry and broke
Don't mean I gotta be dirty, hungry and broke
Dude I made a way out a no way, and y'all can too
'Cause it's a whole lotta legal shit that y'all can do
- DJ Quik, "Change Da Game"
You see, if you ever wanted to ever be anything
There'd always be somebody that shoot down any dream
There'll always be haters, that's the way it is
Hater niggaz marry hater bitches and have hater kids
But they're gonna have to take my life 'fore they take my drive
'cause when I was barely living, that's what kept me alive
Just the thought that maybe it could be better than what we at at this time
Make it out of this grind, 'fore I'm out of my mind
- Kanye West, "Bring Me Down"
It's a cold world and I can never go numb
Look fear in the eyes, say I'm never gon' run
Sooner than later, I know the cheddar gon' come
For now I write the world letters to better the young
- Common, "Forever Begins"
Anything you want, anything you need
You gotta get it, go get it
Ain't comin' to you, you gotta put in your dues
Show the world that you can do it
Don't let nobody hold you back
So you betta get your hustle on
- Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, "Get Up and Get It"
Live in the moment, sit on the throne and just take a look from the top
It’s a whole other perspective to see the good that you got
Now, if it’s an omen, quit with the moaning! Don’t let it push you to flop
That’s like being spooked at the doc since you was a baby, still shook from the shot
Don’t imagine a tragic end to the book, when there’s not
You gotta try to rewrite in spite of how crooked the plot.
- Tonedeff, "Optimist"
Straight up with the force to keep fighting
Samson, Atlas, Colossus, Titan
In the dark night the torch steady lightens
I'm strong, cast iron heart of the lion
A mighty foundation to a tower of power
With the energy needed to turn the seed into a flower
- Dilated Peoples (Rakaa Iriscience), "No Surrender, No Retreat"