Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Biggie Small’s song, 'Ten Crack Commandments' is actually genius business advice.

There is no debate that the Notorious B.I.G. was one of the best rappers ever, captivating and energizing worldwide audiences with his honey-smooth flow of shockingly raw lyrics. Unfortunately, he was a victim of the East Coast-West Coast beef, shot to death in 1997 as a young man and artist just reaching his prime at 25. But the musical legacy Big Poppa left us still endures, and he’s widely known as one of the top three rappers of all time, if not the best.

We all know him as a rap prodigy, street poet, musical vanguard, neighborhood poet and even part time drug dealer, but Biggie Smalls was a genius businessman?

I been in this game for years, it made me a animal
It's rules to this shit, I wrote me a manual
A step by step booklet for you to get
your game on track, not your wig pushed back

He sure was if we look closely at the lyrics of his song, Ten Crack Commandments. In it, Biggie spits flow about the ten fundamental rules of dealing crack in his native Brooklyn, or anywhere. While on face value it seems he’s just laying out base street knowledge how to illegally vend a controlled narcotic, his advice is actually apropos to any business or product. In fact, suits in the boardroom and investors on Wall Street will find his advice just as prudent.

Let’s break down the genius business lessons of Biggie’s 10 Crack Commandments:

Rule numero uno: never let no one know
how much, dough you hold, cause you know
The cheddar breed jealousy 'specially
if that man fucked up, get your ass stuck up

Nothing good can come out of people knowing how much money you’re making or your financial position. Too much and you’ll incite jealousy, envy and become a target. Too little and people will perceive you as weak or unsuccessful. Always keep your financials close to the vest.

Number two: Never let em know your next move
Don't you know bad boys move in silence or violence


Always keep your opponents guessing. Don’t talk too much or reveal your strategies, desires, or plans. In business, action should be your only language.

Number three: Never trust no-bo-dy
Your moms'll set that ass up, properly gassed up

Simply and plain, don’t trust anyone. Of course you can still take on business partners, team up with people, and form alliances, but everyone looks out for themselves in business. Even your best friend – or your own mother- has a price where loyalty goes out the window, so don’t ever let your guard down and fully trust someone.

Number four: Know you heard this before
Never get high, on your own supply

Don’t over invest in your own product, or one product at all. Always diversify to keep a balanced portfolio so you’ll be able to profit in the good times but won’t be wiped out when things crash. And never get emotional or become too excited about your own commodity.

Number five: never sell no crack where you rest at
I don't care if they want an ounce, tell ‘em bounce

Separate your personal and private life exclusively. This advice applies to your physical space, privacy, and also your time and energy. If you’re doing business, then it’s all business. If you’re not, then you won’t touch business.

Number six: that god damn credit, dead it
You think a crackhead payin you back, shit forget it

People who want to borrow money from you do so for only one reason: because they don’t have the money to pay you back.  It can be tempting to extend credit because we all have a desire for profit, but it rarely works out. Move on to paying customers and keep it simple.

Seven: this rule is so underrated
Keep your family and business completely separated

Don’t do business with family. You’ll usually enter into business arrangements with family because of familiarity, comfort, convenience, and a sense of trust, not because it’s the smartest business decision. But all sorts of lines get blurred and expectations violated when money and business mix with familia, so don’t do it!

Number eight: never keep no weight on you
Them cats that squeeze your guns can hold jobs too

This is Biggie’s lesson in reducing liability. Take reasonable precautions, slow down and make sure you do things right, and always plan to minimize risk. Remember that it’s not how much you make but how much you keep – and how long you stay in business – that really counts.

Number nine shoulda been number one to me
If you ain't gettin bags stay the fuck from police (uh-huh)
If [ninjas] think you snitchin ain't tryin listen
They be sittin in your kitchen, waitin to start hittin

Be careful who you talk to and are seen with. Even perceptions are very important in maintaining and elevating your business brand. Don’t do entertain business deals with snakes or people with a bad reputation, or you might be guilty by association. Biggie knew that not all money is good money!

Number ten: a strong word called consignment
Strictly for live men, not for freshmen
If you ain't got the clientele say hell no
Cause they gonna want they money rain sleet hail snow

Don’t over extend yourself in any business deal, or essentially write checks that you’re not positive you can cash. Also, don’t let a client or business partner get too indebted to you before righting the accounting.

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