Abba "Money Money Money"
Waiting patiently in line yesterday afternoon behind a half dozen other dreamers at a downtown Manhattan 7/11 to buy a $2 Powerball lottery ticket for my (very slim) chance to win last night's jackpot drawing of a record $588 million, I fully understood that my chances of winning were almost zero. In fact with the odds of winning at an estimated 175 million to one, I stood a much better chance of been invited by Lil Wayne to make a rap cameo on his next (and final) album than my randomly drawn numbers coming up in last night's Powerball lottery drawing. But even armed with all of this knowledge, like millions of others across America - with that refrain "you got to be in it to win it" echoing in my head, I happily forked over money for a lottery ticket.
Yes even though I fully knew I didn't stand a snowball's chance of being a winner (two people were: one in Arizona and another in Missouri) for those few hours between when I bought my ticket and when the winning numbers were announced I had an opportunity to mentally bathe in fantasies of what I might do with my nearly six hundred million dollars (or $385 million after tax as I reminded myself). For a few escapist moments I imagined what and who I might spend all my easily earned money on and started thinking about all the songs along those lines like the Barenaked Ladies' "If I had $1000000" in which they sang "I’d buy you a house" and "I'd buy you an exotic pet like a llama or an emu" or "a monkey."
Barenaked Ladies "If I Had A Million Dollars (live)"
"If I were a wealthy man. I wouldn't have to work hard." go the lyrics to Fidder On The Roof's "If I Were A Rich Man." While Abba in their hit single "Money Money Money" sang, "I wouldn't have to work at all, I'd fool around and have a ball," and Pink Floyd famously sang about, "New car caviar, four star daydream. Think I'll buy me a football team" in "Money" off Dark Side Of The Moon. Meanwhile on the song "Large Amounts" off his 2004 Def Jam album The Red Light District the savvy business minded Ludacris mused about not simply giving people fish but teaching them how to fish for themselves as he rapped, "My goal's to set my friends up to make some paper like me. Put them in position and make their wishes come true so they can have multiple accounts, gain interest overnight. Given a million dollars, what you gonna do? Wrap your life for your kids, or would you spend it overnight? Now see me I do both I got unlimited funds. My daughters life was set before her stankin' butt turned one."
Lil Scrappy "Money In The Bank"
Of course Ludicris is an anomaly in hip-hop since most rappers, while spending a lot of time on rapping about spending money, generally speaking, rarely rap about wisely investing money or setting aside funds for the inevitable income taxes at the end of the year. More (stereo)typically rappers are talking about "raining" twenties on dancers in strip clubs or buying the biggest car. A good example is Atlanta rapper Lil' Scrappy in his "Money In The Bank" with Young Buck rap video above from his 2006 album Bred 2 Die Born 2 Live in which, by the looks of the video none of his money is actually in the bank making interest.
But regardless of whether the money being rapped or sung about is imaginary or just wishful thinking, it all comes from that same place my head was at yesterday and that is fantasizing about what you would do with the money is (for a brief passing moment at least) the next best thing to actually having the money. Meanwhile, whether you have a lot of money or little to no money at all, as Wu-Tang Clan so eloquently pointed out cash rules everything around you, dolla' dolla' bill y'all.
Wu-Tang Clan "C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)