Now he from the BX, but he really soft,
And he from BK, but his guns don’t go off.
He from cop-killer Queens, but he still getting robbed,
And he from money-makin, but he ain’t on his job.
Now he from LA, but he’s scared to bang,
And he from Texas, but he will do the damn thing.
He’d stay in VA, but he is scared of the streets,
And he’s from Chi, but he’s sweet as a peach.
Keith Murray, “They Tell Me,” from EPMD’s We Mean Business, 2008
Was crazy poor, now I’m tryna get mad rich;
With a good girl…you couldn’t tell, cause she’s a bad bitch.
Ka, “Chamber,” Grief Pedigree, 2012
Save the temptation, money, keep the limos;
Cause that’s not hip-hop, that’s a fashion show.
– PMD, “Shadē Business,” Shadē Business, 1994
I’m not the one to kiss ass for the top position,
I take mine off the top like a politician.
Where I’m from, doin dirt is a part of livin…
I got mouths to feed, I gots to get it.
– Dead Prez, “Hell Yeah (Pimp the System),” RBG: Revolutionary But Gangsta, 2004
God, money, war…
If heaven free, what we kill for money for?
They say, “When it rains it pours,” but it rain on the poor;
So you ain’t really rich if what’s rich ain’t in your core.
– King Los, “God Money War,” God, Money, War, 2015
You need to quit bangin under false pretense,
Cause if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense
– DJ Quik, “Dollaz + Sense,” Safe + Sound, 1995
You know, I used to be a player…flygirl-layer and a heartbreaker,
Lovemaker, backbreaker, but then I made a mistake.
Yes, I fell in love with this ill chick,
Sweatin’ me for money, my name and the dilsnick.
My homeboys told me drop her cause it would be to my benefit;
She used to say I’d better quit hanging with those derelicts.
Guru, “Ex Girl to the Next Girl,” from Gang Starr’s Daily Operation, 1992. More from Guru…
I never want a jheri curl up under my hat,
The woman in my bed has got to be strictly black,
I never want money if my lyrics are wack,
So I must…rock…the mic.
KRS-One, “Mortal Thought,” Return of the Boom Bap, 1993. More from The Blastmaster…
Money is the key to end all your woes,
Your ups, your downs, your highs, and your lows.
Won’t you tell me last time love bought your clothes?
Run, “It’s Like That,” from Run-DMC’s self-titled debut, 1984
Got the new Hummer in the summer when,
I was a newcomer then,
Drugs and Mac-10s, hugs from fake friends.
Make ends: they hate you,
Be broke: girls won’t date you.
Notorious B.I.G., “Long Kiss Goodnight,” Life After Death, 1997. More from Biggie…
Always knew that I would clock G’s,
But welcome to McDonald’s: May I take your order, please?
Gotta serve ya food that might give you cancer,
Cuz my son doesn’t take no for an answer.
Now I pay taxes that you never give me back;
What about diapers, bottles, and Similac?
Do I have to sell me a whole lotta crack
For decent shelter and clothes on my back?
Ice Cube, “A Bird in the Hand,” Death Certificate, 1991. More from Cube…
Why they hate us? Why they want to rape us for our culture?
They greet, defeat us, bleed us, then they leave us for the vultures.
They break the brilliant off with millions, tryna to break their focus;
More tan the man, the more alone and hopeless.
Vince Staples, “C.N.B.,” Summertime ‘06, 2015
They say the richest 400 Americans make more
Than the other 180 million combined,
And if that sounds fair, then you’re out of your mind.
So fuck a Republican, I’m out on my grind,
Cause being poor, being black, and Latino’s a crime.
That’s why we use the underworld to survive,
And I hate to admit I connive, but I’m alive cause I strive.
Make a dollar out a nickel and dime
I’m a hustler, I’m a hustler…
I could sell pussy to prostitutes, you a customer.
Ras Kass, “Stone Cold Hustler,” from Semi Hendrix’s Breakfast at Banksy’s, 2015. More from Ras Kass…
And when I smiled, ‘Bing!’ I almost blinded her.
She said, ‘Great Scot, are you a thief?
Seems like you have a mouth full of gold teeth!’
Hahahaha, had to find that funny,
So I said, ‘No child, I work hard for the money.
And calling me a thief? Please…don’t even try it,
Sit down, eat your slice of pizza, and be quiet.’
Slick Rick, “Mona Lisa,” The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, 1988
I rub your face off the Earth and curse your family children,
Like Amityville; I drill the nerves in your cavity filling.
Insanity’s building a pavilion in my civilian
The cannon be the anarchy that humanity’s dealin’.
A villain without remorse who’s willing to out your boss
Forever…and take all the cheddar like child support.
Big Pun, “Twinz (Deep Cover ‘98),” Capital Punishment, 1998. More from Pun…
You know how it go when you got no dough:
Niggas goin out to party and you got no clothes.
And when you do get clothes, then you can’t go out
That’s the bullshit I’m talkin’ about.
Sean Price, “Mess You Made,” Jesus Price Supastar, 2007. More from Sean Price
Ain’t no tellin’ what I’d do for a dollar…
I’m not your father, but guess what I’mma do to ya mama.
Sean P, “Murder,” from DJ JS-1’s No Sellout, 2009. R.I.P!
30 rack on a neck of a artist (Say what?)
About another 20K on his arm (Say what?)
This nigga flashin’ 50 grand,
Walk around here, lookin like food for the wolves.
Listen! Illuminati rap: we don’t ride to that,
Everybody poppin’ molly…look at how they act.
(Y’all sweatin’) The whole place emotional,
Wake up to find out some dude’s Frank Ocean’ed you.
Lil’ Fame, “187,” from M.O.P.’s Street Certified, 2014.
You got a lot of money; OK, sure…
You can’t buy class, you’re a bum with a manicure.
MF Grimm, “The Bear,” from MF Grimm and Drasar Monumental’s Good Morning Vietnam 2: The Golden Triangle, 2013. More jewels from MF Grimm…
It was Saturday night and I was feelin kinda funny,
Gold around my neck, pockets full of money.
Schoolly D, “Saturday Night,” from Saturday Night! – The Album, 1986
They’d rather see me fail than succeed,
That’s why I’m alone on my own with no team.
Don’t need no green, though I got some to spend;
In the end…all I really need is a friend.
Bishop Nehru, “So Alone,” from Bishop Nehru + MF DOOM’s NehurvianDOOM, 2014
I had a church girl, quiet girl…one girl was rich.
The most memorable girl was a Gangsta Bitch.
We went out a lot, sometimes we dressed the same,
Lickin’ shots in the park and had pet names:
I called her ‘Dollars’ cause that’s what she liked to spend;
She called me ‘Diamond’ cause my dick was her best friend.
Apache, “Gangsta Bitch,” Apache Ain’t Shit, 1993
We still wading in the water…
Cocaine, blunts, marinating in the water.
Lean and took a puff, and then she gave it to my father,
Used to take the bullets out so I could play with the revolver.
Satan serenading ever since I was a toddler,
Tell ‘em talk is cheap…niggas living for the dollar.
Vince Staples, “Kingdom,” from Common’s Nobody’s Smiling, 2014
I’d rather make one righteous dollar on my level
Than make a million dollars spittin’ rhymes for the devil.
KRS-One, “True School,” from DJ Jean Maron’s True School, 2014
I clock G’s while you clock Z’s.
And I don’t smoke crack…I smoke MC’s.
PMD, “Rampage,” from EPMD’s Business As Usual, 1990
If you don’t got endz, you won’t be gettin’ no skinz,
And if you don’t got money, you won’t scoop a honey.
If you don’t got cash, you won’t be gettin’ no ass,
And if you don’t got loot, you won’t be knockin’ no boots.
Big L, “No Endz, No Skinz,” Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous, 1995. More Big L quotes.
You download it for free, we get charged back for it.
I know you’re saying, “They won’t know, they won’t miss it,
Besides, I ain’t a thief, they won’t pay me a visit.”
So, if I come to your job, take your corn on the cob,
And take a couple kernels off it, that would be alright with you?
Andre 3000, “What a Job,” from Devin the Dude’s Waitin to Inhale, 2007
You lose money chasing women;
Never lose women chasing money.
Nas, “Ghetto Rich (Remix),” Rich Boy’s self-titled album, 2007
MCs get a little bit of love and think they hot,
Talkin bout how much money they got…all y’all records sound the same.
I’m sick of that fake thug, R&B-rap scenario, all day on the radio,
Same scenes in the video, monotonous material.
…Y’all don’t hear me though:
These record labels slang our tapes like dope.
You can be next in line and signed, and still be writing rhymes and broke.
stic.man, “Hip-Hop,” from Dead Prez’s Let’s Get Free, 2000
Girls stick like Crazy Glue, they think they’re gettin’ dough;
But I treat hoes like drugs: I just say ‘No.’
Showbiz, “Diggin’ In The Crates,” from Showbiz & A.G.’s Soul Clap EP, 1991
I got a girl and she treat me fine,
But the homies all think that I’m losin’ my mind.
I’m trippin’ and I know it cause I’m all nerved up,
Cause everytime I go to sleep, I see this big ol’ butt.
See, I ain’t never gave no chick 4 stars,
But she treat me so good that she be drivin my car.
And every day it get better, I can’t lie,
Went to the house and she made me some hot potato pie.
All my friends be sayin, “She ain’t nothin but a scrub!”
But she make me feel high like I’m hooked on drugs.
So I give her what she need, and what’s done is done,
But I’m a special kind of fool but ayo, it don’t bother me none.
I can’t help myself, I know that I’m trippin’,
But she got it goin’ on like Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Pimp C, “Use Me Up,” from UGK’s Too Hard to Swallow, 1992
What you base your happiness around?
Material, women, and large paper?
That means you inferior, not major.
Nas, “No Idea’s Original,” The Lost Tapes, 2002
Guns and the sneakers made Jada.
The bitches and the reefer came later
With the money and the haters.
Jadakiss, “Jada’s Got a Gun,” Kiss the Game Goodbye, 2001
Payback’s a bitch, that’s why I never borrow;
And if push comes to shove, I’d do a stickup tomorrow.
Daddy-O, “Inner City Boundaries,” from Freestyle Fellowship’s Innercity Griots, 1993
Raise your right palm: We do solemnly swear
To stack more dough more calmly this year.
MF Doom, “Get ‘Er Done,” from Jake One’s White Van Music, 2008
I go to Queens for queens to get the crew from Brooklyn,
Make money in Manhattan and never been tooken.
Go Uptown and the Bronx to boogie down,
Get strong on the Island, recoup, and lay around.
Rakim, “Juice (Know the Ledge),” from Eric B. & Rakim’s Don’t Sweat the Technique, 1992
I don’t know what’s better: getting laid or getting paid.
I just know when I’m getting one, the other’s getting away.
Kanye West, “This Way,” from Dilated Peoples’ Neighborhood Watch, 2004
Why give you the cure when the disease makes money?
Talib Kweli, “The Traveller,” from J.Period’s Rage Is Back mixtape, 2013
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a funny bastard…
But when it come to money, son, I’m not the one to laugh with.
Big Pun, “Firewater,” Endangered Species, 2001
My sense of self and my mental health
Is much more powerful than any hint of wealth.
Guru, “Peace of Mine,” from Gang Starr’s The Ownerz, 2003
I wanna live like Arnold, Willis and Mr. Drummond…
And keep my paper sturdy, big birds and tight herbs.
Pimp C., “Ridin’ Dirty,” from UGK’s Ridin’ Dirty, 1996. Rest in Peace Conraid Bain, better known as Mr. Drummond from the beloved TV sitcom Diff’rent Strokes. He died today at the age of 89.