Over the competition, I’m towerin’
Wreckin shop, when I drop these lyrics that’ll make you call the cops
Don’t you dare stare, you better move
Don’t ever compare
Me to the rest that’ll all get sliced and diced
Competition’s payin’ the price
I’m gonna knock you out (Huuh!)
- L. L. Cool J.
From the start, rap music has been the underdog. First enjoyed only by a small segment of the population, no music genre ever spread so quickly to cross barriers or race, country and class so quickly.
I believe there is a simply reason for this: Rap is emotional and raw, always driving for an expanded audience through an unabashed desire for high sales volume.
I don’t recall ever seeing a van painted entirely to advertise a country or easy-listening artist. But in San Francisco — hardly the rap capital of the world — it’s rarely a week that goes by without seeing such aggressive guerilla advertising techniques. The art of the music is retained, but the goal to be on top is still at the forefront.
There’s something you have to respect in this raw desire to be successful.
Certainly, other genres have huge hit records and there’s even a genre that is named after such success: “pop” as in popular music. But no artists I know of in country, pop or even R&B will come right out in their lyrics, arguing they are the best performer of all time. Only rap allows for that sort of hubris.
Winning is typically the goal of any competition; however, in nearly the last half-century, many have either lost their desire to win at extreme cost or were never taught it in the first place. Perhaps this is a hangover effect of the way the Vietnam War was fought or perhaps it’s simply an inevitable result of such a rich economy.
I’m no sociologist so I won’t hazard a guess, but I do believe we need to shake our fear of winning and begin competing to bring home the gold. Our government can help by negotiating treaties and developing a tax system that incites growth and competition for U.S. firms and individuals alike. We as individuals can help by realizing success comes with risk and allow those who fail to taste its bitterness and learn for the next venture out.
Now, not all rap music is successful and certainly there are a lot of non-rap artists who are very successful. But it’s my guess there is no way rap would be as successful today if it weren’t for the winner’s attitude and risk-accepting behavior many of its artists retain day-after-day.
Meaning of “Extended” is Dismissed
As we discussed two weeks ago, retaining the phrase that rates will remain low for an “extended” period of time does not necessarily imply a long, step function between dismissing this language and raising rates. Last week, in the minutes from the March 15 meeting of the FOMC, it was highlighted that this language does not limit the Fed’s ability to tighten promptly if there is evidence of accelerating economic activity.
In other words, the Fed will tighten when it wishes and does not feel backed into a corner by the “extended period” language. Which leaves us wondering what the meaning of the phrase “extended period” is and why so many pay close attention to it.
The ISM’s non-manufacturing index rose to 55.4 in March, its highest reading in nearly four years, lead by spikes in the business activity component to 60 and new orders component to 62.3. This represented the highest reading for activity in nearly four years and the highest reading for new orders in more than four and a half years.
Consumer credit declined $11.5 billion in February marking its sixteenth decline in nineteen months and reversing January’s $10.6 billion increase. The declining trend may not be viewed as a strong negative, assuming it stems from reduced demand as opposed to high and rising charge-offs.
The euro zone offered Greece a $61 billion bailout package over the weekend at about two percentage points below market. This show of confidence is important as the euro faces its most difficult test since being introduced in 1999.
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