The Rap Guide to Business

by Baba Brinkman

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1.
03:28
Textbook Is there any place in business for an honest person? This is De La Soul, the entrepreneur’s version Rap music has a problem, it’s all so controversial But I got products and services customers wanna purchase So I can’t stop the hustle, shout outs to Russell Simmons – either rap is a business, or it’s not successful You gots to buckle down, Warren Buffet style That’s how you get your people out the struggle I’ve been trainin’ myself, I’m shameless as hell With self-promotion, ‘cause I’ve got some shit I’m aimin’ to sell I make rap music that’s as entertaining as hell But it’s packed full of facts and information as well That’s why my stock is rising – it’s not surprising It’s the information age, storage costs are diving But when it comes to analyzing data, the market’s thriving This is a rap guide to what’s on the horizon Step to the stage with your best foot Hit the competition with a left hook I don’t compete with Jay-Z ‘cause I’m less hood I compete with a textbook Step to the stage with your best foot Hit the competition with a left hook I’m no threat to 50 Cent ‘cause I’m less hood I compete with a textbook The idea came to me when I was takin’ a crap I could make a career out of informational rap Instead of boastin’ and braggin’ I could base it in fact That was ten years ago, now check the place where I’m at I’m the chief executive of Rap Guide Incorporated Global dominance in the field of educational rap Plus platinum plaques, and estimated Future revenues of… well, seventy or eighty Million, at first it was stops and starts But now it’s all Rap Guide music that tops the charts Conscious rap – that’s hip-hop with smarts So I wanna try to explain how I got this far With the plaque on the desk – it’s about managing risk And adaptin’ to fresh circumstances, and yes Sometimes havin’ to stretch the facts a lil bit You gotta fake it ‘til you make it on the path to success Step to the stage with your best foot Hit the competition with a left hook I don’t compete with Ludacris ‘cause I’m less hood I compete with a textbook Step to the stage with your best foot Hit the competition with a left hook I’m no threat to Eminem ‘cause I’m less hood I compete with a textbook It’s like one of those “CEO Survey” type initiatives “We need some insight for young executives Please, teach us how to drink blood and stay competitive!” Those reports are like a fuckin’ sedative I’m here to synthesize information into basic packets ‘Cause young peoples’ minds today... way distracted Business leaders need to take evasive action Before their contracting niche in the marketplace collapses ‘Cause in the rat race only change is constant And the main commodity is information content You gotta separate the signal from the noise and the blatant nonsense And modern workers want a playful office So get some X-Boxes – it’s simple economics If you give people what they want, it leads to profits Business has to stay creative, and keep evolving The Rap Guide can teach you how – believe the promise Step to the stage with your best foot Hit the competition with a left hook I don’t compete with Asher Roth ‘cause I’m less hood I compete with a textbook Step to the stage with your best foot Hit the competition with a left hook I’m no threat to Justin Bieber ‘cause I’m less hood I compete with a textbook
2.
Walk Like An Amoeba How the hell did I go from a nerdy white Suburban guy with a couple words that rhyme To a millionaire, platinum certified? I can tell you in a word: I diversified That’s the only way to keep entrepreneurs alive Stick your fingers in twenty-five or thirty pies And then when the returns arrive, you fertilize The best ones and just let the worst ones die I’m talkin’ about business initiatives Not individuals, there are some critical differences Who’s gonna sponsor insolvent businesses? The government? Only if they’re sellin’ derivatives But for the rest of us, tryin’ to create benefits For customers, instead of just bein’ acquisitive Diversification is the best preventative Against over-exposure, so risk is limited Walk like an amoeba Throw off lots of little feelers And see which ones’ll feed ya baby Walk like an amoeba Throw off lots of little feelers And see which ones’ll feed ya Go get it, go get it, go get it Go get it, you want it? Go get it Okay everybody, ready for a case study? Rap Guide Incorporated, we make money By collaborating with… pretty much anybody So our business relationships stay slutty We’ve got the Rap Guide to Evolution, Business Chemistry, Geology, Law, Statistics Cosmology… Quantum Physics We pretty much got a locked on the academics But that’s just the entrance; we have Rap Guides To all of your favorite hobbies and pastimes From flying kites to fly fishing – we franchise We even have a Rap Guide to writing Rap Guides That’s how our business model gets sold We only centralize quality control Synthesizing all knowledge into flows That’s our motto, plus our modest goal Walk like an amoeba Throw off lots of little feelers And see which ones’ll feed ya baby Walk like an amoeba Throw off lots of little feelers And see which ones’ll feed ya Go get it, go get it, go get it Go get it, you want it? Go get it So what does it mean to walk like an amoeba? Don’t you need a vision to be a business leader? And don’t those amoebas move with little feelers ‘Cause they ain’t got no eyes they can see with? That’s right, but your eyes will deceive ya No one saw the credit crisis comin’ either When it comes to gains, people are safe creatures But when it comes to losses, risk-seekers Humans are not Econs, that’s wrong Classical economists have been hittin’ the bong Cognitive biases are mad strong Otherwise, you wouldn’t have black swans Economics is the modern astrology With crystal balls to predict the economy And expert advice is like hittin’ the lottery You gotta be like an amoeba if you wanna lead Walk like an amoeba Throw off lots of little feelers And see which ones’ll feed ya baby Walk like an amoeba
3.
Nuts and Bolts Number crunching, staring at a spreadsheet Data entry, coffee break, that’ll tempt me Diuretic, hit the bathroom, bladder empty Then it’s back to my back-shattering seat All work, no play, got bent vertebrae From sittin’ strapped in one place for thirty days Like a penguin – “quack” – not like a bird of prey We’ll be right back, after this commercial break Entrepreneur’s fate, gotta pay the bills Haven’t smoked weed in years, life is way too real Another admin day, what a waste of skills But I can’t sit still, I’m afraid to chill Pushin’ this cart up hill, I’m Blade Running Can’t stay in one place, it’ll get away from me I might coast for ten minutes, maybe twenty But gravity brings me back, gotta make money These are the fruits of my labours produced In the slavin’ away I do day by day These are the moves that I make and the rules That I play by, when I ply my trade The only videos I make are instructional Peace to Shad K, I’m mad functional That’s the nature of industry, nuts and bolts Bullshit committees and tax deductibles I’m like “fuck your rules” whose rules anyway? You gotta be a masochist to get an MBA You gotta be in love with boredom, and pain Ain’t no original ideas in a pencil case What a waste of talent, fuck a bank balance I mean, it’s great, but why chase it if it ain’t a challenge? Find the space to engage your native passions In every imaginable way – you gotta make it happen And when it ends in crushing disappointment Use that to advance by making different choices Or else by listening to different voices Failure is all but assured, you gotta pick your poison These are the fruits of my labours produced In the slavin’ away I do day by day These are the moves that I make and the rules That I play by, when I ply my trade This isn’t pessimistic, it’s just descriptive There’s lots of ways to let the debt collectors getchya And not so many paths to a successful business There’s no certain formula to get the riches The visionary perspective isn’t very effective When it comes to calculating the yearly interest On all the various debts you’re carrying from initiatives That failed to achieve their revolutionary objectives This is serious business, you gotta dot your i’s You gotta cross your t’s and watch your bottom line Keep your money on your mind, and stay on your grind You gotta crawl sometimes before your star can rise Just try to fail constructively, trust me Some days you’re gonna hate your company The vision doesn’t take you to a place of luxury It just sustains you while you face the daily drudgery These are the fruits of my labours produced In the slavin’ away I do day by day These are the moves that I make and the rules That I play by, when I ply my trade
4.
Human Capital I been on my grind, building up my company Rap guide on the rise, somethin’ to see Just like every business, it started with a vision But winnin’ the competition wasn’t just a solo mission No, I had schemes and revenue streams But to achieve great things you need a dream team So, I recruited England’s sickest producer Mr. Simmonds with the illest skills on a computer We made some rap guides, reduced the nonsense In the content, it was just proof of concept Pretty soon we had a long back-catalogue With the orders comin’ in, just a mad backlog Time to get some fresh blood, tap the talent pool A bunch of young rappin’ brainiacs with attitude A business has to feel like a family group It’s only worth as much as its human capital Human capital, it’s tough to quantify But without it your business will not survive Human capital, it’s tough to quantify You gotta offer people more than just a nine to five How did I get to be the master of this industry? Mr. Infomatic? Happiness delivery You gotta spread love, the top is a lonely place Peace to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Forget the old way, where the realm of business Was synonymous with the realm of narrow self-interest We need to reach consensus, breach defenses And seek the best of each employees’ unique perspective That’s a corporate policy that’s worth acknowledging It’s something we’ve been polishing since before the Holocene Humans are social primates with tribal roots We thrive in groups to survive and reproduce Which means gossip and reputation maintain The invisible fabric of status in the blame game And the praise game, two sides of the same thing Just ask Bernie Madoff if he wants a name change It’s human capital, it’s tough to quantify But without it your business will not survive Human capital, it’s tough to quantify You gotta offer people more than just a nine to five Whatever industry you’re in, whatever occupation You need to learn about the science of cooperation Don’t let the insights of evolution evade you Especially human behavior, including consumer behavior Reciprocal exchanges are the most typical arrangements But individual differences change things The division of labor needs to be delegated Internally, within firms, not in the yellow pages Interns get promoted when they begin to earn And then recruit their own interns, in turn While the free market chooses between firms Usually, some banks get bankruptcy insurance That’s crazy, that’s when the state needs to regulate hard That is, unless you want grenades in K-Mart Fair play starts with the question: who’s interested? Citizens, families, employees, businesses That’s human capital, it’s tough to quantify But without it your business will not survive Human capital, it’s tough to quantify You gotta offer people more than just a nine to five
5.
03:30
Switch Lanes To some people rap is just a lot of manure Others say the planet’s sick and hip-hop is the cure Some people say commercial rap isn’t pure But to me every rapper is an entrepreneur You wanna make a difference? You wanna to make a living? You wanna teach the children? You wanna make a million? Either way, you gotta find a way to get their attention And if you don’t then no one’s gonna listen I know a few anti-capitalist rappers Whose activism consists of selling anti-capitalist Raps to their fans in fancy little packages While ranting about how rap is cash-obsessed Try to not give yourself an aneurism Or get your panties twisted, just ‘cause your angst-ridden Anti-business existentialism Is just a strategy to get more fans to listen It’s like a jungle sometimes It makes me wonder How I keep from goin' under It’s like a jungle sometimes It makes me wonder How I feed my growin’ hunger You’re gonna make a lotta mistakes It’s okay, you take a hit, you switch lanes Competition is extreme To get ahead you gotta switch Every record gets the fans it deserves Hip-hop is a business first You wanna make a difference? Word Then go find yourself some customers A couple artists will hate this for sure And say “success is just a curse” Sour grapes get squished to syrup C’mon, don’t shoot the messenger Hip-hop started in the streets And then it spawned a whole industry Sorry if I’m bein’ indiscrete But I’m in it for the spinach and it isn’t just me So if your songs are interest-free Then I doubt they’re gonna interest me Integrity makes you poor? Interesting… I pay for things that impress me It’s like a jungle sometimes It makes me wonder How I keep from goin' under It’s like a jungle sometimes It makes me wonder How I feed my growin’ hunger You’re gonna make a lotta mistakes It’s okay, you take a hit, you switch lanes Competition is extreme To get ahead you gotta switch Rappers are crabs in a bucket, just ask ‘em They’re stuck with a tiny fanbase that happens to love it But they can’t expand it without angering someone I couldn’t handle that, man, I had to do somethin’ Here’s a business plan for you: self-promote And grab onto some driftwood to help you float And when you got enough, built yourself a boat And fill it with like-minded folks to help you row You got two choices, you do it yourself Or you find somebody else with a use for your skills You take the red pill or blue pill Most businesses do fail, but you don’t think you will? I’m not tryin’ to say you ain’t different But it takes creativity to change directions real quick And go where the competition ain’t headed So if you get stuck in a single lane, switch it It’s like a jungle sometimes It makes me wonder How I keep from goin' under It’s like a jungle sometimes It makes me wonder How I feed my growin’ hunger You’re gonna make a lotta mistakes It’s okay, you take a hit, you switch lanes Competition is extreme To get ahead you gotta switch
6.
04:12
Vacuums Yeah, this goes out to everyone with “rotism” That’s “rich person autism” I would say you know who you are… But that’s a tough one to self-diagnose Business breeds the most impressive villains Newscorp, Murdoch, Enron, Jeffrey Skilling They made the mistake of takin’ survival of the fittest As a guide for business instead of a fact that’s scientific Anything goes right? There’s no vice In pursuit of profits, race to the bottom baby, hold tight It’s a roller coaster ride, fuck a safety check I’ll save the cost and take a lawsuit if you break your neck I can calculate the risk as a function Of several different assumptions, a mix of evidence and hunches You sons of bitches with your lack of compunctions You wonder why people get mad and laugh at your comeuppance? Why abuses get hurled at News of the World ‘Cause they hacked the phones of kidnap victims, cute little girls And pollute the mental atmosphere with misinformation About global warming, and fuckin’ traffic in fear? I can’t say if Murdoch should be on trial even That’s for the courts to call, but that’s corporate malfeasance I want personal repercussions, pies in the face Boycotts, public inquiries, infamy in cyberspace Here’s my advice to future corporate giants Avoid the reputation of an extortionate tyrant Watch your triple bottom line, social and environmental This is the voice public outrage – I am vengeful See that space? That’s a niche to adapt to Nature hates waste, and hates vacuums We make trades, from streets to backrooms Business hates waste, and hates vacuums Living space degrades; we breathe mad fumes Neighbours create waste, and hate to vacuum They’ll clean up their act, if we make ‘em have to Roommates create waste and hate to vacuum A business is a cost externalizing machine It has to be losing money if the environment is clean And obviously it’s got some politicians bought off So what’s gonna stop corporate greed if not laws? Not that greed itself is wrong, just the kind of greed That tries to feed itself by dumping on someone else’s lawn C’mon, the free market’s great for innovation This is not socialism; it’s a pro-business statement The question is how to reconcile it with the common good Either legislatively, or in the style of Robin Hood I’m talkin’ about the human instinct for justice Which simply predicts some businesses will get interrupted Business leaders need to make predictive judgments Either learn to use a vacuum, or live with limited suction Business hates vacuums, like nature, it’s opportunist But it also hates vacuuming, like college students So how do pollution and profits get put in opposition? Either with laws, or else with ostracism Appeals to conscience just don’t work, you gotta banish No business opportunities left on a dead planet If you really trust the market and its power to adapt Then I guess it could adapt to a new environmental act Or fuck it, treat the world like it’s endlessly bountiful And find out the hard way whether you get held accountable See that space? That’s a niche to adapt to Nature hates waste, and hates vacuums We make trades, from streets to backrooms Business hates waste, and hates vacuums Living space degrades; we breathe mad fumes Neighbours create waste, and hate to vacuum They’ll clean up their act, if we make ‘em have to Roommates create waste and hate to vacuum

about

Commissioned by the NYU Stern School of Business

Feature article in MacLean's Magazine:
www2.macleans.ca/2011/11/09/the-baba-brinkman-project/

Hustlers, gangsters, entrepreneurs, hip-hop music and business acumen combine in this 80's-inspired tour of the corporate world. Written as a satirical business plan for Baba Brinkman's ambitious Rap Guide enterprise, this album explores market economics, the intangibles of human capital, strategies for success, and corporate responsibility.

The views expressed here are not necessarily the views of the Stern School of Business.

credits

released September 30, 2011

All tracks produced, mixed, and mastered by Mr. Simmonds
www.mrsimmondsmusic.com

All lyrics written and performed by Baba Brinkman
www.bababrinkman.com

Additional Vocals by Jennifer Hamady
www.jenniferhamady.com

Album cover art by Noel Planet
www.noelplanet.com

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Baba Brinkman New York, New York

Canadian hip-hop with an intellectual bent, nothing but sexy beats and sumptuous brain food.

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