Living within your means isn’t usually part of the bling-Bentley-and-Cristal lifestyle glamorized by rappers. But Houston rapper Slim Thug’s new personal finance book is loaded with tips on how to be smarter with your money. For instance, it’s unwise to go overboard at strip clubs by throwing around big bills and popping hundreds of bottles of alcohol. The overall message, in the rapper’s words: “Don’t drive a Bentley on a Benz income.”
“This goes back to one of the most basic rules; don’t live beyond your means,” he writes. “Don’t buy a big house when you don’t make big money. I always say if you can’t buy it THREE times over, you can’t afford it. Don’t drive a Bentley on a Benz income.”
The rapper’s fascination with frugality and the recession can be traced back at least to 2009, when he made an appearance on the Daily Show discussing how he and the rap community were being affected by the economic collapse. Slim Thug explained that thanks to the recession, his tour buses had been transformed into mere vans, and the budget allowed for fewer “video hos” to gyrate during video shoots. In jest, Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac helped the rapper figure out how to downsize his posse. The rapper also expressed sadness that he frequently disappointed strippers because he could no longer “make it rain” (throw large bills in the air) at exotic dance clubs.
In a recent interview with a Houston radio station, in which the rapper proudly proclaims himself to be the “black Suze Orman,” Slim Thug says that he’s only willing to “make it drizzle” at strip clubs nowadays. Talking to MTV, he expanded on the idea:
“We always at the bottom as black people. And it’s because of ‘what’s cool.’ Making it rain? That’s stupid. We always got something stupid moneywise that people think is cool. Pop a hundred bottles? For what? How many bottles it take to get drunk? I know where I came from and I know I can go back. But I ain’t going back.”
In addition to standard personal finance advice (“Eliminate unnecessary bills”), Slim Thug’s book also gives a glimpse of how the rapper hustled his way to success. While traveling around his native Texas, he writes, he and his posse would go into every record store and ask that his music be sold on consignment. “Hey man,” he’d say, “when you sell these, just call us for more and we will get you some more.”
Normally on tours, record companies reimburse artists for travel expenses. But Slim Thug figured out a way to turn the arrangement into a money maker. He negotiated to get a flat sum upfront for expenses, and then booked travel and meals strategically so that he would wind up pocketing some of the cash.
The rapper also genuinely seems obsessed with personal finance guru Suze Orman. “I wanna be the black Suze Orman,” he writes in the book’s intro, just above the dedication (“To my Muthaf***** self – Psyche!). “I want to teach my people how to be more financially aware.” He goes on explaining his reasons for writing the book, employing some language that Orman is unlikely to use:
Our culture drives us in the wrong direction. Muthaf***** think blowing money is cool, when the s*** is dumb. I want to stop mismanaging and start stacking. I’m going to be the black man – Suze Orman.
Oh, and I just wanted a book