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    1. #1
      Jahness's Avatar
      Jahness is offline OniOni Warrior

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      Arrow Hip Hop Mathematics: A lesson for Teachers


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      Hip Hop Mathematics: A lesson for Teachers

      by Bruce Banter

      Ninety-Nine percent of the time when Hip Hop and mathematics are heard in the same sentence, the reference is to the 5 Percent Nation's teachings, which many rappers have been influenced by and permeate much of the lingo of rap, particularly rappers from the Northeast. However in today's mathematics lesson I propose to use simple math to point out a little known fact that can't be emphasized enough. This fact is that the overwhelming majority of rappers are not rich or wealthy. In fact, if they are relying on record sales to live off of, then chances are they are as strapped for cash as most people.

      I know you don't believe me but you might believe Jay Z. In November of 2004 Jay-Z told Allison Samuels of Newsweek, "I wanted to set them straight (kids) on the likelihood of them making it, I broke it down to them by saying that they even had a better chance of being an NBA player than they did a rapper. I was, like, 'Keep it real - there are about 200 or more NBA players getting a check. There are only about 10 to 20 rappers that are in the game making money with album after album. Do the math and get your education'."

      Jay-Z was basically saying that rappers are not getting paid anything like the public is led to believe. Most teachers today are struggling, trying to get middle school and high school kids to pick realistic career choices but when asked what they want to be kids are choosing rap more and more. This is in part due to the illusion of wealth portrayed on television by music videos or popular entertainment shows such as, Yo MTV Cribs and BET's "How I am living". Most of the material items we see are on loan or rented by record labels and not owned by the artist. It's hard for teachers to fight against these images and try to offer a more realistic example of how they might want to earn a wage in their future.

      We could flip through the pages of history and steal excerpts from some of the most famous rappers of today to have the kids hear it coming straight from the horse's mouth. Here are just a few examples of the biggest one of the past 3 years.

      Lil Jon August 2005, Lil Jon says he doesn't plan on delivering another album to the label he is signed with. Lil Jon says he hasn't received any royalties from TVT Records and plans to take legal action. He said, "I've had record sales totaling probably like 10 million and I ain't seen no money from the label. None at all. Zip, zero. Show money and production is how I'm getting paid."

      Eric B. & Rakim Jan 2004, Eric B and Rakim sue Def Jam. Eric B. believes that "Paid in Full" - in its initial incarnation, re-releases and special editions has raked in more than $100 million from sales and licensing, yet he is saying they were not getting a dime.

      DMX

      Sept 2003, DMX was quoted as saying, "I made 122 million dollars for Def Jam in one #ucking year! How much of that did I see? Three? And it wasn't a gift, it was a loan. How the #uck you gonna loan me? I made you 122 million dollars in one year and you loan me three? #igga #uck you." So DMX retired (he's back for 2005) but had some parting words "I refuse to give another dime to that record label, to Def Jam ... The highest paid artist gets paid 18 cents on the dollar, it's straight robbery. They still own your music and they ask for maybe 27 songs each album and they only use about 16 and give the rest away. It's straight robbery man, I can't be a part of it anymore ... All the radio stations are bought and paid for, it all comes from the heads of the record companies. It's not about talent anymore." DMX added that he would like to start a union to protect the rights of artists. He said, "I actually wanted to start a union. Protect the rights of the artist. We have no one to look out for our rights. We have a few people that look out for our best interest in terms of collecting our money but what about what's in a contract?"


      These examples might appear extreme but they are real life situations straight from the artist mouth. The best way to make it sink in to students is prepare a lesson with them doing the numbers. An exercise in mathematics might register in the minds of today youth best because math is so objective. Here's an actual filing by the NY Daily news from 2003.

      These are the actual figures compiled from industry sources although the group name is fictional all numbers and situations are real:

      New York City's hottest new group is G Murder, a four-piece gangsta' rock group from Brooklyn. Because they've got buzz, the band gets a 15% royalty rate (higher than the traditional 12%), a few points above the usual amount for a new artist.

      Its debut, "Crunktastic," goes gold - only 128 of more than 30,000 records reached that level in 2002. The Gold Record Gross: 500,000 albums sell at $16.98 = $8,490,000 The G Murders' royalty is 15% of retail. That's $1,273,500.

      But the Contract calls for "packaging deductions" of 25%, so the gross drops to $6,367,500. Then there's promotional albums and giveaways the labels give to wholesalers, retailers, radio and the press. That's a "free goods" charge of 15%, so the gross drops another to $5,094,000. So, the band's royalty is actually: $764,100. The record company keeps the packaging and "free goods" funds. After collecting a $9.99 wholesale price, it also reaps an additional $829,900. The $3,500,000 balance goes to retailers, assuming they sell the record for list price.

      Because the band was hot, they got an advance from the record company of $300,000. They spent $200,000 of that recording the album, which included a $50,000 advance to the producer. They pocketed the remaining $100,000. Additionally, the label spent $100,000 making the band's first video, which got them played on MTV2. The band owes all of this money back to the label.

      So the royalty drops to $364,100.

      But the band's producer also earned a 4% royalty of $203,760, of which he already received $50,000. So the band has to pay him an additional $153,760, reducing their royalty to $210,340.

      After pocketing $310,340 (which includes the remaining $100,000 of the advance), the band has to pay their manager 15%, or $46,551, and give 2% of the total deal, or $101,880, to the power lawyer who got them the deal in the first place. That takes the band down to $161,909.

      That's not bad money, but it's split four ways, or $40,477.25 each, about the same as a city sanitation worker with two years' experience, without health benefits, vacation and retirement fund. But with, of course, groupies.

      Let the students ask their parents how much money they make, if parents decide that is too personal to share have the students ask them how much are their monthly bills and multiply that by 12. Math is the best way to help this sink in.

      More lessons in math should follow. Educators must "carpe diem" this and show the youth how unrealistic it is to expect to be a highly paid athlete and that the chance that they will make it as a musical entertainer is even lower but as a highly paid musical entertainer is against all odds. According to the National Federation of State High School associations, the odds at becoming a professional athlete were always bad. The chances of getting into the pros in baseball are 0.50, 0.09 for the NFL, and basketball is even lower. Consider rap odds are lowest of them all even though it has no official governing body like sports. Comparatively a average hard working student has a better chance at becoming a brain surgeon or a successful attorney.

      Emphasize that unless you sell millions and millions of records it takes a lot of time before the artist typical 12% royalty rate pays some dividend. Industry expert Wendy Day told me last year "If you have a standard 12 point deal you going to have to pay back millions of dollars in money that was spent to pay radio, studio time, to shoot video from your 12% royalty." Day said the recoding industry is set up like share cropping, you have to pay back all monies that are spent and usually artist don't control how the money is spent.


      If this doesn't sink in give them more mathematics until it does.

      Released: August 22nd, 2005

      http://playahata.com/
      Posted In The Spirit of Learning & Sharing
      One Love & Respect Always

      ***************************************
      The Quest for knowledge stops at the grave.
      HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I.


      If you fail to prepare,
      you are preparing to fail!


      Mind what you want, because someone wants your mind.

      Working together, the ants ate the elephant.


    2. #2
      Tehuti-4's Avatar
      Tehuti-4 is offline Atef Warrior

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      This is straight criminal


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      I never really understood this until TLC declared...... BANKRUPCY!!! after creating two of the most successful albums of that time period. On the surface people were like - "they must have squandered they money", "or smoked it", but looking just a little deeper revealed the truth that is laid out in the article you posted.

      What is a shame is that so many of us were under the impression that we had independent labels that were going to give our talented artist a better deal and greater artistic freedom. Instead greed won out as these independents allowed themselves to be bought out by the same criminal record labels that first disrespected us and our art in the first place.

      I'm very interested to see what develops from the efforts of our brothers from Dead Prez and Immortal Technique. Both are conscious revolutionaries and very shrewd and intelligent businessmen.
      The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.

    3. #3
      Jahness's Avatar
      Jahness is offline OniOni Warrior

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      Arrow


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      Quote Originally Posted by Tehuti-4
      I never really understood this until TLC declared...... BANKRUPCY!!! after creating two of the most successful albums of that time period. On the surface people were like - "they must have squandered they money", "or smoked it", but looking just a little deeper revealed the truth that is laid out in the article you posted.

      What is a shame is that so many of us were under the impression that we had independent labels that were going to give our talented artist a better deal and greater artistic freedom. Instead greed won out as these independents allowed themselves to be bought out by the same criminal record labels that first disrespected us and our art in the first place.

      I'm very interested to see what develops from the efforts of our brothers from Dead Prez and Immortal Technique. Both are conscious revolutionaries and very shrewd and intelligent businessmen.


      Greetings Warrior Tehuti-4!

      It is really sad to see what is going on with these artists. They really need to come together and work under some type of union so at least they will have a chance to reap some of the profits from their products.

      All around these oppressors continue to take advantage and are blatantly robbing all our people. Now sad as it may be, this is the truth these artists needs to be sharing with their fans and the youths who are trying to make it via the entertainment industry.

      How many more will have to end up in debt before someone or some group decides to take a stand and say they refuse like DMX said to put up with that bull. I mean it is downright robbery and it is unaceptable.

      The lawyers for these artists are also getting paid really good because they are working it both ways but mostly for the record labels who comes up with all these bogus contracts.

      Why hasn't any of our so called Afrikan legal professionals come to the table with an offer to help out these artists. But then again lawyers are the only ones I know at the end of the day who end up making more of a profit on the pain and suffering of their clients.

      This practice cannot go on and show not be allowed to continue. Lawyers, record labels, radio stations, and even the promoters and music stores all have their hand at stesling from these artists one way or the next.

      Much appreciation to you for taking the time out to share.
      Posted In The Spirit of Learning & Sharing
      One Love & Respect Always

      ***************************************
      The Quest for knowledge stops at the grave.
      HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I.


      If you fail to prepare,
      you are preparing to fail!


      Mind what you want, because someone wants your mind.

      Working together, the ants ate the elephant.


    4. #4
      Asafo37's Avatar
      Asafo37 is offline Warrior

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      This is a powerful lesson that i'll definitely incorporate in my teaching!! It has been a big challenge for me in the past trying to get Our children to not believe the hype around the so-called 'rich' rappers. They are so bombarded with the tv shows like cribs and pimp my ride, the apparent bling, the expensive videos and the few folks who own clothing lines and stock in nba teams that the real story of exploitation often gets lost on them. i think this lesson and the math approach will offer them and me new possibilities for teaching and learning.

      Mo! Meda wo ase.

      Asafo37
      "Our desire to be free has got to manifest itself in everything we are and do."

      Assata Shakur



    5. #5
      Jahness's Avatar
      Jahness is offline OniOni Warrior

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      Quote Originally Posted by Asafo37
      This is a powerful lesson that i'll definitely incorporate in my teaching!! It has been a big challenge for me in the past trying to get Our children to not believe the hype around the so-called 'rich' rappers. They are so bombarded with the tv shows like cribs and pimp my ride, the apparent bling, the expensive videos and the few folks who own clothing lines and stock in nba teams that the real story of exploitation often gets lost on them. i think this lesson and the math approach will offer them and me new possibilities for teaching and learning.

      Mo! Meda wo ase.

      Asafo37
      Greetings Asafo37!

      Welcome to the discussion. Always a pleasure to see you. I am happy and encouraged to see that you are willing to find a way to really introduce this aspect of the mathematics to the youths who you are teaching.

      It is vital that they learn these lessons early on in their lives, so they know that they have choices and do not have to fall victims to the same types of exploitation by our oppressors.

      For years this practice has been going on with all our artists', athletes, entertainers and even everyday workers who are struggling to make a living and make ends meet. Our children have to rise above that by learning first and foremost that they have to be in business for themselves and not trade in one plantation for another, which is what the united snakkkes of amerikkka offers.

      We need Afrikans like yourself Asafo to help our youths find the right path that will be beneficial for their future success. That can only happen if they are given the tools that will prepare them to be able and ready Afrikans who will take charge of their Sankofa process. No more can we allow our children to fall victims to the same oppressors and oppression that we had to go through. We must continue to teach them the mathematics of survival.

      Much appreciation to you for your continued valuable input.

      Peace & Blessings of Afrikan Love!
      Posted In The Spirit of Learning & Sharing
      One Love & Respect Always

      ***************************************
      The Quest for knowledge stops at the grave.
      HIM Emperor Haile Selassie I.


      If you fail to prepare,
      you are preparing to fail!


      Mind what you want, because someone wants your mind.

      Working together, the ants ate the elephant.


    6. #6
      Asafo37's Avatar
      Asafo37 is offline Warrior

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      Quote Originally Posted by Jahness
      Greetings Asafo37!

      Welcome to the discussion. Always a pleasure to see you. I am happy and encouraged to see that you are willing to find a way to really introduce this aspect of the mathematics to the youths who you are teaching.

      It is vital that they learn these lessons early on in their lives, so they know that they have choices and do not have to fall victims to the same types of exploitation by our oppressors.

      For years this practice has been going on with all our artists', athletes, entertainers and even everyday workers who are struggling to make a living and make ends meet. Our children have to rise above that by learning first and foremost that they have to be in business for themselves and not trade in one plantation for another, which is what the united snakkkes of amerikkka offers.

      We need Afrikans like yourself Asafo to help our youths find the right path that will be beneficial for their future success. That can only happen if they are given the tools that will prepare them to be able and ready Afrikans who will take charge of their Sankofa process. No more can we allow our children to fall victims to the same oppressors and oppression that we had to go through. We must continue to teach them the mathematics of survival.

      Much appreciation to you for your continued valuable input.

      Peace & Blessings of Afrikan Love!

      Greetings Jahness...sorry it took a minute i been 'offline'!!! As for your comments...Blacksolutely!!! i'm totally committed to the SankOfa process you mentioned with educating Our children and this piece on mathematics definitely helps. Meda wo ase piii!
      Asafo37
      "Our desire to be free has got to manifest itself in everything we are and do."

      Assata Shakur



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