Scott Brown
April 24, 2006 AT 06:21 PM EDT

Manage your money and prepare for the graying of the game, say rappers L.L. Cool J and Nas, who spoke this weekend at a Russell Simmons-sponsored event called the Hip Hop Summit on Financial Empowerment. “Ten percent to the church, ten percent to your house” was the distribution recommended by L.L.

Wow. That’s pretty flippin’ responsible. My gin-and-juice outlays alone outstrip those estimates. How do we feel about this, debt-ridden America? I mean, really: financially fastidious rappers? Sustainable wealth that isn’t one jewel-encrusted Hummer away from destitution? I thought the whole point of the conspicuous excess thing was to force hip-hop artists into debt, so they’d have no choice but to return with humiliating reality shows in the twilight of their careers? If they start saving and investing, well, whither the grim, shared irony? What will this do to shares of Cristal — to say nothing of the platinum bathtubs you’re supposed to keep it in? (It really does spoil if you don’t.)

L.L. must come to realize that, in today’s jumpy market, his comments carry Greenspan-ish weight. This could spawn either a recession — or perhaps a new breed of hip-hop artist. Get ready for Li’l Thrifty, with a new album, The Portfolio, produced (to cost) by the Notorious 401K. Now touring with Deductible.

addCredit(“LL Cool J: Monica Morgan/WireImage.com”)

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