As a young adult, I loved to listen to one of my favorite hip-hop artist, Jay-Z! He is a lyrical genius who can make people dance, sing, think, and learn at the same time. I also admire his business savviness and how he has evolved from being a rapper to a full-fledged “business man” worth millions of dollars. He knows how to “flip that money more than 3 ways” as Beyoncé says in the song titled “Soldier” by Destiny’s Child. Many people wrote opinion pieces about his new album titled 4:44. Throughout this album, he discusses infidelity, financial freedom, vulnerability, and his legacy. Although there were no dance tunes for me, I was inspired by this album. In fact, I had to listen to the album multiple times before I could genuinely express my thoughts. His lyrics were thought-provoking and he said a lot that resonated with me.
While some people view rap music as degrading and misogynistic, I view it as an art used to express one’s views of the way he or she views society through his or her own cultural lens. Yes, there is foul language in some music that many won’t agree with, but an artist will have to tell his or her story in his or her own words. I also understand the difference between reality and entertainment. Therefore, when my children listened to certain artists, I was able to explain these differences to them. I don’t like all rap music but I have my favorites, and Jay-Z just happens to be one of many.
“Raise Your Hands If you Love Hip-Hop”-Junior Mafia
Disclaimer: I am a 41- year-old woman who loves hip-hop music, especially 90’s hip-hop music. However, I had never listened to it to learn life lessons. Little did I know, I was learning some life lessons from the lyrics when I actually sat down and listened to these songs. It was the culture that I fell in love with during the 90’s era. While my parents may not have condoned some of what I listened to, I always found a way to hear the latest tunes and share my thoughts with my friends.
After listening to Jay-Z’s latest album 4:44, I was introduced to Shawn Carter. Mr. Carter dropped a lot of jewels in this album that he had been dropping all along. The manner in which he expressed himself really struck a nerve! He is really “adulting!” Not only did he preach about financial freedom, he really showed his vulnerabilities. When he talked about his marriage and his role as a father, he was relatable to his audience. I do not condone infidelity under any circumstances; however, sometimes you have to have courageous conversations with your audience. In this blog post, I want to break down some quotes that really resonated with me as I listened to this album.
“We’re all screwed because we never had the tools.”-Jay-Z
My family never sat down and talked about finances. They lived paycheck to paycheck every month, but we always had what we needed. It wasn’t appropriate to talk about your gross yearly income or how much you paid for your house and car. Later in life, I found out that this was a cultural difference in comparison to other ethnicities. No one talked about investments, 401K’s, deferred compensation, 529 plans, or retirement accounts. We just lived! If we don’t talk about finances as a family, where else are we going to learn? You don’t need a degree to give your children the basic information about a savings and a checking account. If your parents weren’t taught those lessons as children, chances are you may not learn them either. Give your children the tools they need to navigate the world. I want my children to pass the information on to their children and break this generational curse of not focusing on wealth building.
“You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit.”-Jay-Z
If you choose to spend money at the strip club, it’s your business and I’m not knocking you! I choose to increase my savings accounts and investments at this point in my life. I wish I had that mindset earlier in life because I would be a millionaire by now. If you don’t know where to start, I would encourage you to read some books on financial literacy. Listen to some podcast episodes on managing personal finances. Knowledge is power. You could be “making it rain” in your bank account by saving and investing. Save that money and make an appointment with a financial planner who can help you set a budget and build credit. Stay away from pay-day loans! We will talk about that later.
“Generational wealth, that’s the key. My parents ain’t have shit so that shit started with me.”-Jay-Z
It’s never too late to change your mindset and set some goals. If not for you, do it for your children. I think people think that wealth is unattainable. Unfortunate circumstances and lack of opportunity may prevent some people from building wealth. But, if you’re able to work, save and make rational decisions. Wealth is attainable. If you have the resources to help someone, whether it’s giving them your time or money, then do it.
“Financial freedom my only hope, “F” livin’ rich and dyin’ broke.”-Jay-Z
Financial freedom never crossed my mind until I realized that I was a slave to debt. And for what reason? If I die broke, what legacy will I leave behind for my children and my grandchildren? What will set them up for a bright future? What will they leave behind for their children? I don’t want to leave them saddled with debt. I want to leave something behind that they can use to earn more money! Jay-Z stated, “My stake in Roc Nation should go to you, leave a piece for your siblings to give to their children too.”
“Take those moneys and spread ‘cross families, my sisters, Hattie and Lou, the nephews, cousins, and TT.”-Jay- Z
Being able to provide for your extended family is a blessing. Not everyone has the resources but you can give your time. I have an aunt who is very talented in many areas and she is always able to provide services to others. In turn, if she needs something, those who she has helped are always available to help her. She invented the phrase “pay it forward.” She never accepts cash for services.
“The rest to B for whatever ever she wants to do. She might start an institute, she might put poor kids through school.”-Jay-Z
Giving back to the community is even more powerful. Again, if you don’t have the money, “barter services.” Donate your time. He talks about providing education to those who don’t have the resources. Become a tutor! Donate some books. Teach financial literacy.
Although Jay-Z’s lyrics in previous albums made reference to financial freedom, 4:44 really delve deep into my soul. It inspired me to continue this journey that will inevitably lead to financial freedom. It also inspires me to keep providing information to you, the readers! Readers, have you listened to the album? If so, what did you think? Are you on the path to financial freedom?