“You will need to find your passion,” speaks Randy Pausch on the intro track to Fuck the Money, Talib Kweli’s eleventh album, or twelfth if you count the album of B-sides and rarities he released earlier this year. Fuck the Money, though self-explanatory in title, isn’t just about Talib rejecting the idea of rap as simply a path towards money and fame, but also explores the corruption in the rap game, and the changing ideologies towards hip-hop music.
“Don’t give up on finding your passion” is the main massage to the first track, “Gratitude.” “If there is anything that I have learned in life, you will not find that passion in things. And you will not find that passion in money,” continues the sample of Randy Pausch, “because the more things and the more money you have, the more you will just look around and use that as the metric — and there will always be someone with more.”
A perfect explanation of my problem with my last rap music of Meek Mill’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, even a bit of my problem with Big Sean’s Dark Sky Paradise. Rap is not about the money, and despite naming your album something like, Dreams Worth More Than Money, Meek Mill’s money and greed loving theme spoke otherwise. Here on Talib’s release, he shares my thoughts – “Fuck the Money.”
Released for free even, Fuck the Money not only contains great lyricism, but a great ideology on how rap and rappers have been conceiving the art. Besides the “fuck the money,” philosophy, and explaining that money makes people break promises, turn to drugs, or drop out of school, there is a slight hint of hypocrisy; knowing full well that Talib does have the money, and tracks like “The Venetian” do stray away from the point. “The Venetian,” and love tracks like “Echoes” and “Baby Girl” aside however, the message of Fuck the Money is clear and powerful.
Regardless of Talib’s financial status, it’s because of the money and fame that he’s in such a position to speak on it, and it’s very noble of him to do so. The times where the album drops a bit low are on the pop-friendly “Echoes” chorus featuring Miguel, “Baby Girl,” and the over-repetitive “Butterfly.” Though a nice homage to Kendrick Lamar’s message, as a song there isn’t much to it other than repetition. Nonetheless, the down’s of the record are well matched by the up’s, and the message of Fuck the Money is great to hear from someone who is so respected in the rap world.