Money Music: A Hip-Hop Playlist to Keep Your Mind on Your Money

FAIR WARNING: This is not safe for work, not child-friendly, and totally Rated R.

One of our writers happens to be a hip-hop recording artist. Every week he breaks down complex finance topics for us and improves our copy, writing something cooler and more lyrical than the rest of this team of money nerds ever could. So when he came to us with an idea, I couldn’t imagine filtering it.

(On the bright side, we’re working on a PG version that you contribute to by e-mailing

Kenneth put together a money music playlist to keep your mind on your money.

Why are we posting a Money Music Playlist?

Listening to music increases dopamine.

Dopamine is the brain’s ‘motivation molecule’ and a key part of the pleasure-reward system.

It was believed that dopamine regulated pleasure and reward and that we release it when we obtain something that satisfies us, but in fact the latest scientific evidence shows that this neurotransmitter acts before that, it actually encourages us to act. In other words, dopamine is released in order to achieve something good or to avoid something evil.

Mercè Correa, Science Daily

Dopamine causes individuals to initiate and persevere to obtain something. When we are talking about overcoming (financial) setbacks, music can motivate you to keep going.

So here’s a run-down of his-playlist and the lyrics:

1) Skit #1 by Kanye West


“Why? Because we can’t afford gas. Say it with me!
(We can’t afford no gas!)
Say it!
(We can’t afford no gas!)
So we ain’t drivin’!”

2) Bills by LunchMoney Lewis


“I got bills I gotta pay
So I’ma gon’ work, work, work every day
I got mouths I gotta feed
So I’ma gon’ make sure everybody eats”

3) Money Trees by Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock

If you’re offended by curse words and you got through track two of the playlist, you might not get through track three. This is a deep and reflective track touching on the desperation of poverty with the first verse of this song being a series of vignettes related to the narrator and his friends (and girlfriend). Later on…


“A silver spoon I know you come from, ya bish (Ya bish)
And that’s a lifestyle that we never knew (We never knew)
Go at a reverend for the revenue”

“Two thousand twelve hundred racks to Uncle Sam.”

Want a more academic breakdown: NPR did a story on this song while Black Enterprise wrote an essay about the lessons learned including “the impulse to spend [is] seductive” and “Material things can’t ease emotional pain … for an extended period of time”.

Are you a college student? Become a Money Mate on campus.

4) Money, Power, & Respect by The LOX, DMX, and Lil Kim

Nothing like a recipe for life.


“What’s the key to life?
Money, power, and respect
What you need in life?
Money, power, and respect
You’ll be eatin’ right
Money, power, and respect
You can sleep at night
You’ll see the light
What’s the key to life?
Money, power, and respect
What you need in life?
Money, power, and respect”

5) Skit #2 by Kanye West

The struggle is real when you’re trying to get by.

Another thirty seconds from Kanye:


“Got no money (got no money)
We got no clothes (got no clothes)
Ain’t got no cars (ain’t got no cars)”

6) I Am by Yung Baby Tate and Flo Milli

If any of these songs were designed to be an affirmation for women building wealth, it might be this one.


“I am healthy, I am wealthy
I am rich, I am that…(Yeah)
I am gonna go get that bag
And I am not gonna take your… (Uh)
I am protected, well respected
I’m a queen, I’m a dream (Yeah)
I do what I wanna do
And I’m who I wanna be
‘Cause I am me”

7) Money by Leikeli47


“Money, I got money (ooh)
Money, I got money (ooh)
I’m money, I got money (ooh)
Money, I got money (ooh)All my life, I had to grind and hustle
I had to work like Kobe just to shine like Russell (ooh)
They say, “Glad you made it, it happened over night” (ooh)
They say, “… you changed”
I’m like, “Sure you right””

8) Money by Cardi B

In this New York Times article, Cardi B’s top tips for managing money are “Ask for what you want” and “live within your means”. So, it’s new surprise that she tackles money.


“I was born to flex (yes)
Diamonds on my neck
I like boardin’ jets…
But nothing in this world that I like more than checks (money)
All I really wanna see is the (money) “

Are you a college student? Sign up to be a Money Mate.

9) Savage Remix by Megan Thee Stallion and Beyonce

Break the surface of this curse word laden track, and you’ll see there’s more that meets the eye (and ears). Even though Megan Thee Stallion and Beyonce “talk big” in this track, their talks are backed by their bank account balance. Despite public scrutiny about their lifestyle, their success backs up their action.


“If it ain’t about the money, then you know I’m gon’ ignore it”

10) ATM by J. Cole”

We could post the lyrics of the chorus “count it up, count it up, count it up” but what really got us was the way he overcomes hardship.


“Proceed with caution
I heard if you chase it only results in
A hole in your heart
Fuck it, I take the whole cake and I won’t leave a portion
It’s only an organ
Thank God mama couldn’t afford the abortion
The loneliest orphan
I flipped my misfortune and grown me a fortune”

11) F* Sleep by A$AP Rocky, FKA Twigs

Yet another rapper with an incredible history. On this track, Rocky’s past and dedication to music is stressing him out to the point to where he has bags under his eyes.

Rocky is often seen with designer bags, so he is also using these bags to compare them to the bags under his eyes.


Got new bags under my eyelids
New bags up in my closets
New bags like I went shoppin’, new bags on new bags
Mind’s better at seeing two now

12) Talkin’ to You by Ace Meda4

Kenneth has written more about money than anyone on this list, so when he raps “I’m talkin ta you like I’m talkin ta me,” he means it.


Blowin money fast yeah I got that regret
Nothin lasts forever what’d I expect
Thinking life was good no concern for my next check
‘Til it flipped on me just as quick as a car wreck- Man I hate this powerless feelin
Bangin’ my head on a glass ceilin’
Lost in a passion pit, and I’m reelin
Oddly enough though the struggle is appealin’

We’re not done yet. Have a contribution for’s official money music playlist? We’re taking suggestions. Email:


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