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'I'm Broke and Proud': The time is right for recession rap

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I was flipping through the basic cable channels late one recent night when I stumbled across a song called “I’m Broke and Proud” on a public-access station. Check it out below; it’s a real gem (with some NSFW language). I’d honestly never heard of these rappers before in my life — the song is by an NYC dude named Rugged N Raw, featuring New Jersey’s Hasan Salaam — but their hilariously honest lyrics about the not-so-good life caught me instantly. “There’s not a lot I can make possible,” spits Rugged N Raw, “only cheap ideas in the arsenal/I’ll take a chick to the museum/Looks nice, and the admission fee’s optional!” Now that’s some real talk. And the video might be even better, with RNR throwing coupons at the camera instead of cash, while hisfriends struggle to push their car up a hill. If nothing else, this definitively proves that it’s still funny to see rap’s conspicuous-consumption conventions upended, à la the Roots’ classic “What They Do.”

Pretty great stuff, no? With skills like this, here’s hoping Rugged N Raw doesn’t have to stay too broke too much longer. After all, it’s been three months since Young Jeezy served fair warning that “It’s the recession/Everybody broke.” Isn’t it high time the rest of the music world took notice of what’s happening to the economy?

More on pop culture and the economy:
EW suggested recession-oriented plotlines for Gossip Girl, Entourage, and more
PopWatch asked how the economy had affected your entertainment spending
EW gave Young Jeezy’s The Recession a B+ review
Smallville and other shows are already hurting because of the recession
“How will the recession affect Hollywood?” EW wondered…in 1991