Eat or die

I’ve been thinking about money a lot lately, probably because I have none. I know it’s bad form to talk about how broke you are until you’ve made your paper [1], but sometimes I like hearing from rappers when they’re going through it—as opposed to looking at it in the rearview.[2] Misery loves company and all. So I figured maybe the same principle would apply here. I’m sure the c-boys will let me know either way. [3] 

Plus, I read Jimmy Izrael’s interview with author (and Okayplayer cofounder) Angela Nissel a few weeks back and I picked up her book The Broke Diaries from the library. [4] Nissel reveals all the gory details of day-to-day poverty and manages to transform them into comedy. Without romanticizing being poor. (Only a bunch of people who have never been strapped a day in their lives would think there’s anything remotely cool about it. Indie rock hipsters: there’s nothing sexy about being broke, you dummies. Which is why everyone in hip-hop that’s broke fronts like they’re not.) [5]

I also noticed that the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network is kicking off a financial empowerment tour called Get Your Money Right tomorrow in Atlanta. [6] Apparently a whole slew of artists and entrepreneurs—including Russell Simmons, Jermaine Dupri, Ludacris, Paul Wall, Young Jeezy and DJ Drama—as well as some financial experts from Chrysler (the event sponsor), are going to drop knowledge on money management. There’s going to be info on banking, home ownership, repairing bad credit and understanding credit scores, entrepreneurship and vehicle financing.

I’m not going to knock the forum, cause I think money management is really important. [7] Most people that grew up broke aren’t taught how to spend their money wisely (i.e. you can’t teach your kids what you don’t know yourself). But it’s also important to recognize that the issue is much bigger than a simple set of skills. For one, smart money management often involves delayed gratification—and if you’ve been super broke for an extended period of time, delaying your gratification is the last thing on your mind when you get your pay check. There’s also the debt factor. Since poor people often don’t have the same family safety net that middle class people have, they tend to incur debt when they get in a pinch. Or they incur debt to go to school to try to get ahead. Either way, debt is really, really hard to get out from under.

There’s also another big issue at play here. HHSAN can teach people how to manage their money, but can they teach folks how to make more? After all, you can be a wiz at money management and still be crazy broke if you make low wages.

There are systemic factors to consider. A lot of poverty comes down to lack of opportunity. (Jobs passed through networks of contacts that are hard to break into, jobs requiring education that is too expensive to obtain, jobs given to interns who can afford to work for free for months at a time, etc.)

And then there’s an even more illusive issue to overcome, and that’s psychological. I’ve heard lots of successful people talk about that hurdle in interviews. If you grew up broke, you see yourself as broke. You have to be able to envision yourself as wealthy before you can become wealthy. It sounds pretty simple, but sometimes it’s a hard mental leap to make.

Someone should write a book on all this for the hip-hop generation. I’d read it.

____________________________________________________________________

[1] Crybaby rule. Also, people hate talking about class issues. It makes poor people feel embarrassed and rich people feel guilty.

[2] If you grew up with holes in your Zapatos, you’d celebrate the minute you was having dough, and what not.

[3] C-boys = comment section boys. (A nicer term for fruit flies.)

[4] I told you I was broke. (Sorry Transi, this is Kweli week up in here.)

[5] With one and a half pairs of pants you ain’t cool, and what not.

[6] I noticed there’s a Toronto date. I might have to go.

[7] I’ve spent years reading financial empowerment books, trying to teach myself. Holler if you want some recommended reading.

  • Belize

    do i gotta say 1st

  • Belize

    >Someone should write a book on all this for the hip-hop generation. I’d read it.

    ^One of our generation’s biggest faults is “lack of motivation” i.e. stop being lazy and write the F’n book (its ur idea)..WTF? enjoy the fruits of ur labour or sum shit like that…

  • http://xxlmag.com fresh

    I can’t wait to hear what Jeezy has to say about money management. Didn’t he give his babymama like 20 bucks a month or some shit? Ha. It’s not right but its okay. . .

  • TARA

    Belize: LOL. Maybe I should. Except wouldn’t people want to read a financial empowerment book from someone who is actually financially empowered???

    Fresh: Hilarious!

  • Mikey Ess AKA SukedowN

    Cool read.

    The article was kind of a roller coaster: It is 3 minutes of temporarily forgeting that I’m broke, followed by the realiziation that prior to reading this I actually wasn’t even thinking about being broke, and now I am back to square one: constantly thinking about, and being, broke.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?cat=29 noz

    i think broke diaries was the first “blog” i ever read.

  • e

    Nice post. What books would you recomend as good reads? Usually I find most of them to be corny.

  • TARA

    E: They’re all corny, I’m sorry to report. But the one I found the most helpful was “How to get out of debt, stay out of debt and live prosperously” by Jerrold Mundis. It has a lot of super practical $ tips.

  • e

    Thanks Tara

  • http://www.myspace.com/16kingz thebestout!!

    I’M RICH BIIIAAATCH!!
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    …………..SYKE………………..

    BROKE AS MUFUCKA’ WIT’ A HOLE IN HIS POCKET AND BITCH BEHIND’EM!

  • TARA

    Oh, and I thought “Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the rich teach their kids about money that the poor and middle class do not” by Robert T. Kiyosaki was decent too.

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    It’s alright Tara. As Transi has pointed out several times (never with accurate spelling), I’m a marshalls’n'value menu kid myself.

    That “broke” mentality is the biggest hurdle of all. Some of my better-off (all caucasian, by the by) friends don’t really get how one can work full time and barely have enough money for a trip to Hooters (countdown to someone making fun of me for that begins…now) the weekend one gets paid.

    It’s tough trying to explain all that, and it’s even tougher getting yourself up for a nite out with the guys when your “balling on a budget” fund is $40.

    In any event, good post, and it’s nice to see you’re making more attempts to holla back at us C-Boys. (altho’ I’m sure it’s difficult with all the requests for the Tara Henley Maxim pics you get in the comment section)

    UNO!

  • Incilin

    Sounds like you should write that book. I’ll read it.

  • Belize

    Gotta start somewere baby
    plus
    Ill cop it if it comes out…so thats 1 down and 999,999 more to go…now “get up, get out and do sumthing…”

  • the young chuck taylor

    Tara i believe you should be the one to write the book threw xxl so you can explain to the people what its like to be broke as shit….its only right i mean it sounds good dont it?
    thanks for the blog either way girl.
    thats why tupac(r.i.p) is so missed he actual talked about real life things…but u didnt have to learn that from me.

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    From the “Grups” post you did.. “Needless to say, Brokes—whose poverty-chic Grups are imitating in the first place—don’t find their ‘youthful’ state of being the height of fucking cool. They aren’t hyped on the fact that they don’t have grown-up lifestyles. And they sure as hell aren’t snowboarding in the middle of the week.”

    Amen, and good use of profanity. Sheeit, I work during the mu’fuckin’ middle of the week.

    (I just put this here cuz I didn’t think you’d check the comments on 5 month old post)

  • DJ Lucky Luke

    Damn, Tara. You might just have to sell back your new Mercedes in this case and get out of you house on the hills and live with us regular folk grindin the 9-5. And for Christ’s sake, quit the B.C. bud habit–it’s digging your own hole for you. Peace.

  • e

    This is the only blog in a Hip Hop webstite where you can get book recomemdations. Thanks again Tara

  • TARA

    Luke: I ride the bus and I don’t live in BC or smoke weed. But nice to hear from you.

  • Danja29

    My own financial state is what has me annoyed-as-fuck when I hear people who have money cryin’ on some hard-knock-life shit. I wish my money problems involved me not bein’ able to buy a $200 pair of shoes and pay a car note at the same time. Booo muhfukkin’ hooo.

  • QUESTION

    Jeezy gunna tell all the youth that before they can manage money they have to get money. How can we get it? they will ask….That nigga slung crack but I bet he dont send them down that route even though he raps about that,he gunna say “go to school and get a education and a good job” but niggas is lookin for fast money

  • THAT_BOY_NOAH

    THATS WHY IM LEARNING THIS WELDING TRADE…CUZZ FUCK..I NEED BIG PAPER.

  • H-man

    whoop them tricks, dont let them tricks whoop U…get money the fast way, the ski mask way, make money, take money money…I could B worth 50 mill and Id still run around lookin like the brokest, filthyist mofo U ever seen…..I call it filthy rich…lololololol….I wanna look az broke az possible at all times…its called the chamillionaire style

  • oi[ppipi

    nobody cares!

  • tHe tRaNsIeNt

    ^^ dis nigga swagger jackin’ me

    y’all need ta read sum books on investin’ in da stock market..fo real

  • Meka Soul

    >I also noticed that the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network is kicking off a financial empowerment tour called Get Your Money Right tomorrow in Atlanta. [6] Apparently a whole slew of artists and entrepreneurs… are going to drop knowledge on money management..>

    the last thing i need is a bunch of money-having fucks reminding me why i’ll never be them because i don’t have their “drive.”

    that shit seems just a little too self-righteous for my taste, like the “knowledge droppers” have to fill their monthly “give back to the broke bastards by making like you care for them when all you want is their dwindling funds to appease your peyote habit” quota, not unlike rappers throwing turkeys to broke jigs on thanksgiving.

    worthless fucks.

    [my '96 camry sprung yet another leak and my home-installed 10" woofers is having mood swings. i'm a little on edge right now]

    uh.. no carlos mencia or some shit.

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    Damm, Meka.. I’m pushing a ’96 Grand Am (balllllllinnn’), but it’s in good shape. So, in that aspect, I’ve got one on you.

    Good rant, tho’.

  • thoreauly77

    well tara, if i am not mistaken you are living in new york now, so being broke is just an issue you will have to deal with for a while until that book deal and your inevitable rise to superstardom a la mary catherine gallagher.

    *superstar!*

  • thoreauly77

    and yo fellas i’m pushing an unwashed 97 maxima, which i like to call “the ultimate” and well as my AMC rambler 660 classic, which i like to call my daily driver. guess who gets to drive the car with the nice stereo?

  • jettdatdude

    As the saying goes: “Either you slanging crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot”…or selling grills apparently

    paul wall’s advice at the summit:
    find something shiny and expensive and sell it to a bunch of poor black folks and hire a gang of chinese immigrants to work for pennies per hour…it’s the AMERICAN WAY, BABY! what it dew!
    (crowd gives standing ovation)

  • DJ Lucky Luke

    Y’know I’m just ragging on you. I got real respect for anyone who in the time of need just buckles down and works. Shit, when all my homeys were still living off their parents’ checks, I humbly worked at a local pizza restaurant. Yeah, they laughed at me, and yeah, all my shoes had red sauce splat all over them. Just remember, there’s no shame in the job you do, there’s shame in not doing anything. If waitressing is what you’re doing, fuck it, be a better waitress/hostess than anyone else–keep moving up. On the real, though, hope all goes well with you–keep your mind open–keep bringing the blogs.

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    Um…Mrs. Thoreau?

    Sheeit, before the 96 Grand Am, I was bumping a 1985 brown/orange (with rust highlights) Chevy Blazer that fuckin’ squeaked like Ricky Ross & Oprah going at it on an old mattress. The cd player worked, but the face was cracked. BALLLLLINNNN’!!

    Sheeit, negroes, my 96 Grizzle IS my mu’fuckin’ Maybach.

  • thoreauly77

    correctomundo rey.

  • H-man

    Next time ya C that bum under the bridge beggin 4 change, dont let your eyez decieve U, Hez prolly got 100K, stuffed all up in hiz dirty jacket…Itz the ultimate hustle…or try the do or die money style…make’em an offer they cant refuze…if they wont give than we will take….or become Jewish, because they share all their money amongst themselves….99% of stock market owend by them, and them old skool Orthodox ones, well thatz a whole nother etherd out story Ill save 4 another day….and that concludes my seminar 4 2day…lololol…hey Tara HOLLA, information iz power…

  • H-man

    81′ BMW Gold 733i, krown in da window, limited edition wit da wood grain, leather, imported from Germany…them kroutz know how 2 build a car!!! Pair of 15′s in da trunk…only switch lanez couple timez a year… ladiez get no play in my baby…lololol

  • TARA

    You dudes are really cracking me up today.

    Thoreauly77: Not in new york yet. I’m still working on that one. And LOL to the Mary Catherine Gallagher joke.

  • http://www.allhiphop.com Rey

    Careful, Thoreau, that’s Meka’s girl!

  • $eazy_money$

    Think and Grow Rich: The Andrew Carnegie formula for money making by Napoleon Hill a must, not just read but study and follow.

  • http://rodneydugue.blogspot.com RD

    Quality Post. I think we all need a financial management in our lives. The best teachers: Jews. lol.

    By the way, thanks for reading my post. Put me on your link list and I shall do same. Keep on blogging.

    RD

  • http://rodneydugue.blogspot.com RD

    *all need some financial management*

  • http://www.jimiizrael.com the iz

    thanx for the nod.

    Two “i”‘s. One “m”. All lowercased. ;)

  • Mikey Ess AKA SukedowN

    You couldn’y fit two 15s in an ’81 7 Series BMW.

  • http://www.jimiizrael.com the iz

    oh yeah. Keep grindin’. If it gets too hot, holla. I might got something on that.

  • Belize

    Im pushin a 01 impala..got u rey (sorry mek)

  • wow

    go to school and get a solid education, you weed carriers.

  • http://www.myspace.com/donnygoines Donny Goines

    I will make a song up about being broke. This blog really inspired me.

  • maddhatter

    Taras a pothead

  • SUPERMAN

    TARA YOU ARE A REAL BITCH FOR NOT PUTTING UP MY POST YOU KNOW THAT. SO IF YOURE READIN THIS I HOPE YOU FUCK YOURSELF UP THE ASS, NOT WITH A DILDO NO. THAT WOULD JUST MAKE YOU HAPPY. YOU CAN USE A PAIR OF SCISSORS AND PLIERS, AND DONT FORGET A FIRECRACKER TO LIGHT YOUR ASS UP YOU BITCH! FUCK YOU AND SUCK A DICK!

  • H-man

    stay in skool kiddys

  • face

    work your ass off

    spend less than you make

    save and invest

  • alleyeCNtower

    ^^^ it’s really that simple, but it’s truly easier said than done.

    good post, Tara. The hip hop generation LOVES to pretend things are better than they actually are. And no culture in the world may be more proud of extravagantly-unvaluable financial investments than hip hoppers.

    As long as you LOOK like you’re ballin, you’re down. WTF, this shit is crazy

    I’ma peep that first book when I can… ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ is hella tight, I read it.

    And these seminar guys often really do give the info, but not the keys to open the doors of opportunity.

    It’s all fucked up like Diddy said, but nobody is telling anyone how to get MORE money, LEGALLY. And the fact that major labels ain’t doing shit to facilitate the growth of rap and the rap economy, still…

    sadly, it’s a fucking free-for-all based on survival of the fittest.

    they don’t teach money management in high school for a good reason: so we don’t threaten the corporation stranglehold on their capitalist monopoly. Get a job, work 40 years, retire with small pension, and die.

    FUCK THAT. ANTE UP, MOTHERFUCKERS :)

  • Miss J.

    Send some recommended reading my way please. I stay broke for days….months….years.

  • from damitten (where the water is lovely)

    Nice, Tara very nicely said.

    Blogs like these remind me why I love you so?

    Can I kiss your booty?

  • http://www.myspace.com/donnygoines Donny Goines

    FUCK DA SOURCE MAGAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FUCK DA SOURCE MAGAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FUCK DA SOURCE MAGAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FUCK DA SOURCE MAGAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FUCK DA SOURCE MAGAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FUCK DA SOURCE MAGAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FUCK DA SOURCE MAGAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FUCK DA SOURCE MAGAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FUCK DA SOURCE MAGAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FUCK DA SOURCE MAGAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FUCK DA SOURCE MAGAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FUCK DA SOURCE MAGAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FUCK DA SOURCE MAGAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    FUCK DA SOURCE MAGAZINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    http://www.myspace.com/donnygoines

    Listen to song and read blog for explanation. 1

  • TARA

    MISS J: I’m going to email you a list.

  • thoreauly77

    come back to us tara….

  • malena

    I like the KRS-ONE alluding

  • SilverBack Gorilla

    Damn Tara, I was kinda shocked on this one! I thought u had money to burn?!… This was a good post, u made alotta notable points. (ain’t really feelin’ the fruit-fly bit though, u might need to give a few “c-boys” a little more status than that)

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