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What Generation Overshare Can Learn From Biggie

My generation has come of age with hip hop, and we’ve borrowed the language of illegal hustlers to describe our legal hustles.


In our weekly Hustlin' series, we go beyond the pitying articles about recession-era youth and illuminate ways our generation is coping. The last few years may have been a rude awakening, but we're surviving. Here's how.

I’ve listened to The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Ten Crack Commandments” hundreds of times, and I always envision him delivering the lines to a group of fresh-faced young hustlers in a smoke-filled room where everyone speaks in hushed tones. “I’ve been in this game for years, it made me an animal, its rules to the shit, I wrote me a manual,” he opens, with the huskiness of experience, then proceeds to break down the game for all those in earshot. You have to listen closely, because he isn’t one to repeat himself, and if you don’t catch the science he’s dropping there’s no doubt you’ll find yourself in serious shit.

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How Jay-Z Inspired a Generation of Hustlers

Jay-Z is to black male millennials what Oprah is to... everyone else.

Hip-hop is (or, was) often referred to as the “voice of the voiceless.” It’s a bit of a misnomer, of course, but this Bronx-born culture made the rest of the world finally pay attention to people who had been all but forgotten. It’s not just a way for America’s black youth communicate ideas with the wider world, it’s a tool to connect us to one another. We took the experiences of kids in New York, Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, New Orleans, and celebrated their uniqueness while finding the universality. We created, through the lyrics of our favorite rappers, a language we could all understand and called it hip-hop.

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