"Get. Your. Money." Luck-One x Dizz feat. Tope & Epp The Treatise.
So, let's just get this out of the way right up front. My name is Ryan and I'm a pretty big rap nerd. I'm the type of guy who gets nostalgic about the Beat Street OST and my connection to the Wu-Tang Clan is analogous to how I imagine Alan Alda feels about Art Garfunkel.
I moved to Portland from St. Paul, MN eleven years ago, and my only initial complaint with the local music community was the lack of quality hip hop. I can't decide if it was my lack of research and digging, or just a sign of the times - but beyond Cool Nutz, Lifesavas, and Sandpeople - there really wasn't much to write home about.
All that has since changed.
Exhibit A: Luck One.
I've written about Hanif elsewhere in the past, but after listening to this song and watching this video over and over, my personal summer anthem, I've realized that so much subtext was missed by the vast majority of people who have interacted and responded to it. Not all, but most.
First things first. "Get. Your. Money." A title like that almost begs the casual hip hop fan to dismiss it right off the bat. As evidenced by a comment on the youtube page of the video, some fans are seemingly turned off by what they perceive as a naked celebration of greed, without examining the underlying context and listening to actual verses. Remember, this is coming from the same man who lived out of his car in order to better serve his musical vision just a couple of years ago. Yes, the hook is catchy as hell and poppy, but maybe we should dig deeper and see what lurks in the fathoms beneath.
Before we do that let's see what our friends at The Smoking Section had to say."Summer is winding down, and Luck-One and Dizz’s “Get. Your. Money.” is the perfect song to ride out the last few weeks of warm weather with, and to motivate you to get your dividends, whether it’s by returning to school or kicking it up a notch at work. With fellow Portlanders Tope and Epp contributing their verses to earning that paper, the video is essentially one big, carefree party."
Admittedly Julie's second paragraph hints a bit more at the underlying themes involved, so let's examine that by letting our readers view some direct quotes from the song itself. Feel free to play the video and follow along and make up your own mind about how you feel.
"It's amazing how you actively engage with a conversation posted on a page, like the content isn't hosted through a server that is constantly surveyed." - Luck-One
"I be talking 'bout a small feat, might take a stand go occupy the Wall Street. Walking through the mall we jones like Jim and, I just wanna ball see (Hey). A closed mouth when I don't get fed. You straight corn homie, go get bread." - Tope
"We didn't fall far from the tree like Dead Prez does, street racing to the green in the dirty it's the gloves. It's the hurry up and rush in the ugliest of people. That's proof that the money makes the good turn evil." - Epp
Make up your own mind. If it's not your thing it's not your thing. But also be aware that things might not be as simple and easy to dismiss as you might initially think. It's no accident that the words "vulgarity" and "debauchery" flash upon the screen. Lastly, I will leave you with the text that accompanies the end of the video in case you just plain missed it and/or have a slow pause trigger finger....
"The reality of contemporary media is that we are being entertained for the sole purpose of fulfilling our pre-determined roles as super-consumers in a society wherein every possibility for consumption involves a tacit acceptance of the status quo and consequent complicity in a hegemonic world economy wherein the material largesse of the few is predicated entirely on the suffering of the many."
"Yet and still, the reality has consequences within the dynamic of domesticity as well. The poor and oppressed, upon wakening to the realities of the construct will more often than not acquire an unhealthy distaste for money because to the financially illiterate "currency" is not seen as a representation of resources, but rather as a representation of evil."
"The uniquely pugnacious nature of our society is directly commensurate to the unrivaled greed of its constituent citizens. Every war, terrorist act, or "police action" ever engaged in by our government has been for the express purpose of obtaining a greater portion of material excess, as we function within an economic infrastructure that bases its ideological rudiments on axioms such as "there will be unlimited want, and limited resources."
"In order to create change within the parameters of the system we must first master it. Power conceals nothing without a demand when we begin to understand micro-economics and embrace a greater degree of financial literacy. We will then allow ourselves the building blocks to make demands upon a system whose global ethic of destruction and genocide has no peer in the entirety of human history. Create a broader and more penetrating theory. Break the construct."
"Get. Your. Money."