“10 Stack Commandments.” (Photo/Josh Vaughn)
Receiving unexpected money is exciting. Moreover—more rousing—is discovering precious business strategy that can earn you perpetual dividends.
Enter Detroit, Michigan, a city that in escaped bankruptcy protection in late 2018. In December 2018, enduring its economic revival, west Detroiter and rap artist Payroll Giovanni endowed the music world with pearls of financial wisdom through his 10 Stack Commandments album.
10 Stack Commandments is a clear derivation of the late Notorious B.I.G.’s critically-acclaimed “Ten Crack Commandments” song. And while Payroll’s tales are not unfamiliar with nefarious dealings, his have far more capacity for legitimate, practical application.
Rap music has a reputation of promoting hyper-consumerism and Payroll Giovanni is turning that on its head. 10 Stack Commandments conveys fundamental codes of conduct that can transform the common laborer into a bonafide entrepreneur.
The 10-track album’s eponymous opening song introduces 10 instructions for prudent money management. Throughout the rest of the album, each commandment has its own dedicated song, filling out the other nine album tracks. (There are two commandments featured on “30 Day Grind.”)
Though Payroll Giovanni’s work is far from strait-laced, 10 Stack Commandments can be applied to any honest business practice.
Beyond the apparent Notorious B.I.G. inspiration, 10 Stack Commandments has a roundabout connection to other rap acts contemporary and legendary–domestic and foreign.
It’s a beam of light amid the dark web and the work of Detroit compatriot and rapper Teejayx6. Teejayx6’s album, The Swipe Lessons, released in 2019, is a de facto instruction manual on credit card fraud, identity theft, and other scamming practices.
In 1995, GZA of Wu-Tang Clan and Clan affiliate Killah Priest released the gripping “B.I.B.L.E (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth),” a theological roller coaster through consciousness and the freedom encountered from seeking and finding supreme wisdom. Taken to 2003, Wu-Tang Financial exhorted us to diversify our bonds on Chappelle’s Show. In 2018, it’s Payroll Giovanni and his label BYLUG (i.e., Boss Ya Life Up Gang) establishing a new covenant for hustlers and their relationship between themselves and their capital–themselves and their future.
Below, we break down the 10 stack commandments and all of finance terminology and tips for financial fitness that correspond with select moments on the album.
1. “Get Money”
Money can’t be made saved, invested, or even spent without an income. Earned income is active income in the form of salaries, wages, and tips and they’re essential to stacking. And what’s a business without sales? When a private company makes ownership shares available on the public market that is known as an initial public offering or an IPO.
“Gotta stack, I can’t spend it cuz it’s coming/Last time I did that I ended up with nothing.”
Defining quote from “10 Stack Commandments” song: “Off top, first you gotta get money/Without that, how the f*** you gonna stack, dummy?/Find a good hustle then you run with it/Let ‘em know it’s on the floor and they can come get it.”
To invest simply means to spend money in the present with the expectation of seeing a profit later on.
Defining quote from “10 Stack Commandments” song: “Second, you invest in your hustle/The bigger it get, the more that money gon’ double/For a minute, though, a n**** gotta struggle/But stay focused, in a minute you gon’ bubble.”
The “struggle” Payroll references can be expressed, in a sense, as a holding period or the time between the purchase and sale of a financial asset.
3. “Pay Yourself”
Paying yourself first is an investment method in which you set aside a savings contribution or earmark for yourself before paying any other expenses.
Defining quote from “10 Stack Commandments” song: “Third, you gotta pay yourself/Not too much, you might gotta play yourself.”
4. “Have Will Power”
What’s power without control? Talent without discipline? Assert your will power to hustle and save.
“When that money coming in you gotta have discipline/Can’t be spending like a kid/When that money go, it’s gone. You can’t turn to a friend/Gotta start over again.”
Defining quote from “10 Stack Commandments” song: “Fourth, you gotta have will power/Don’t be buying s***t. You gotta have chill power.”
5. Stay at Home & 6. “30 Day Grind”
On Payroll’s 30-day grind, there is only room in the budget for necessary expenses like food and haircuts to keep you civil looking. The remainder of your income should simply be stowed away.
Thirty-day periods tend to be associated with debt pay-off periods or the time you have to pay off a balance before interest takes hold. This is known as a 30-day credit period. We’ll just classify the 30-day grind as a 30-day zero debit period.
Notable quote: “But it started with hard work and dedication/Steady saving, no misbehaving when money making.”
“Number six, go on a 30-day grind/For 30 days, I can’t spend one dime?
7. “Keep More Than One Income”
Investment tycoon Warren Buffet, and third-richest person in the world, is recorded to have said, “Never depend on single income. Make investments to create a second source.” Simply put, having access to more than one revenue generator increases financial stability.
Defining quote from “10 Stack Commandments” song: “Number seven, have more than one income/So you can stack up and still live off one/It’s money out here, don’t you wanna get some?/Don’t you wanna be loaded with your wrist numb?”
That extra revenue is residual income, bonus cash earned aside from the primary revenue generator. This comes in forms such as stocks, bonds, and royalties. Income generated from stocks, bonds, and royalties are considered passive income—revenue generated with little to no effort after an initial investment of time or money.
8. “Come to an Understanding with Your Mate”
Your spouse is likely going to be both your business and leisure partner. Without compatible financial goals or spending habits, financial stability and relationship strength may be comprised. To no surprise, money management is a fairly frequent reason for divorce.
Notable quote from “10 Stack Commandment” song: “Number eight, come to an understanding with your mate/Now ain’t the time for Ruth Chris plates.”
9. “Pay Your Overhead”
Paying one’s overhead is covering the cost of expenses necessary to support your enterprise. It’s literally the cost of doing business.
Defining quote from “10 Stack Commandments” song: “Number nine, you gotta pay your overhead/That’s your bills, after that, back to stackin’ bread.
10. “Go Broke 2 Get Money”
There’s an appropriate adage for this track: “it takes money to make money.” A good investor will be wiling to take a short-term hit in favor of a long-term bang. When the potential profit dwarfs the operating expense, go broke.
Defining quote from “10 Stack Commandments” song: “Number ten, aint nothing wrong with going broke to get real money.”
Payroll Giovanni nears the close of the album, on “Keep More Than One Income,” and advertises his finance counsel:
“Yeah you still tuned in man…We been givin’ hella game the whole project. This a real gettin’ money seminar.”
Payroll is giving Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey runs for their money and Dr. Boyce Watkins would be proud. Life is a game. Play capitalism. Don’t let capitalism play you. Thank you, Prophet Payroll.