How to Be Rich Like a Rap Star

Hip hop artist Slim Thug pens a personal finance book and aims to be the next Suze Orman.

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Rap artist Slim Thug is not your typical financial expert: He doesn’t hold any advanced financial degrees or experience working in the financial world. Instead, his training is his life. As the youngest of seven children growing up in Texas, he remembers what he describes as constant evictions from apartments and living off of welfare. His mother, a single parent, worked seven days a week trying to support her family.

That experience, Thug says, is what inspired him to resist splurging on cars, jewelry, and homes when he started earning money through his music career. (He did, however, make some financial mistakes, and he uses those as the basis of his advice to others.) He learned how to be frugal from his siblings: He recalls competing with his brothers and sisters to have “the most fun with spending the least amount of money” on trips.

As a result of his life experiences, Thug says he wants to share his financial lessons with others, especially those coming from a similar background to his own. “Nobody taught me how to be responsible with my money… Growing up in the hood you don’t learn basic [stuff] like this,” he says. He’s ambitious: Thug says in the book that he aspires to be the black Suze Orman. As if to demonstrate his commitment, he tattooed an image of a million dollar bill on his arm.

Those not familiar with his album might recognize his voice from Beyonce’s hit “Check Up On It,” where Thug raps in the beginning and the middle. His advice is particularly relevant for other hip-hop artists; Thug shares tips on how to manage a music career and expenses on the road. The book gets off-topic at times, veering into discussions of birth control, national drug policies, and random Tweets. It’s also filled with language that would be bleeped out from a primetime broadcast and crude references to prostitutes and drug use.

Here’s a sampling of five of Thug’s top financial lessons—tips you’re unlikely to hear from Orman:

“Don’t take care of anyone over 18.”

Parents, writes Thug, should not be supporting their grown children. “I think spoiling kids is the worst thing you can do,” he writes. That rule, though, doesn’t apply both ways: As a chapter by his own mother makes clear, Thug generously supports his mom.

“Anything I ask for he gets me. Every year for my birthday he gets me a cruise around the islands. I have been all over,” she writes, and he also buys her “many new cars.” In Thug’s world, only parents need to be careful about spoiling their children, and not vice versa.

“Never have Bentley bills with a Benz salary.”

Thug’s own rule for purchases is that if you can’t afford it three times over, then you can’t afford it. In other words, don’t live beyond your means, and don’t “buy a big house when you don’t make big money.” It’s a standard money lesson spruced up with new language.

Save at least half your income.

In Thug’s world, saving is referred to as “stacking” or putting money “up,” and that’s exactly what you should be doing with half of all incoming cash. The other half can be used to pay bills, he says. He describes this rule as a “hustler mentality.”

Don’t pay more than $100 to get into a club.

Thug means just that: Admission and parking at a club should not cost more than a single bill featuring Benjamin Franklin.

Don’t have children out of wedlock.

“Baby mamas are expensive,” writes Thug, and as the father of three sons, he speaks from experience. The high cost of children (and child support) leads Thug to urge his readers to wait until they are ready to settle down to start making babies.

Some of Thug’s advice covers territory more familiar to consumers of Orman’s brand of mainstream financial advice. Thug urges readers not to pay rent that’s higher than a mortgage would be, for example. “Sit down and write down all your bills. Look at what you’re spending. See the difference between what you are building and what you are burning,” he writes.

With that kind of logic, Orman might need to watch her back—or at least invite him on her show.

Twitter: @alphaconsumer