Want to Start a Company or Raise Venture Capital? Listen to Rap Music

It’s pretty much undisputed at this point there is a connection between successful venture capitalists & wanting to start a company, and listening to hip-hop music.

This is totally unscientific, of course, but it makes total sense to me now.

I don’t know when it started, but these days, I’m seeing it everywhere.

And I know it’s crazy, and I know I’m making something out of nothing here, but I sincerely believe that there is a correlation between ambition and listening to rap.

Here’s Ben Horowitz (of A16Z, investors in Instragram, Airbnb, etc.) talking about how Kanye West’s Stronger helped Ben process “11th-hour, late-night auditing mishaps that almost stymied the $1.6 billion sale of Opsware.”

We also know that Horowitz’ love of hip hop was a factor in the firm’s $15M investment in Rap Genius, a rap lyrics site that is trying to be the meta-data layer above everything (actually a cool idea).

Here’s Mark Suster (a well-known blogger and VC) relating his entrepreneurial experience to 8 Mile.

Pretty sure Fred Destin listens to it even though he claims his main influence isCrystal Castles.

And hey, here’s Shervin Pishevar (Uber, Tumblr, etc.) tweeting out Pusha T lyrics. Clearly I’m onto something.



Am I just seeing things? Maybe. But I’ll tell you what listening to outrageous, sometimes super arrogant music does to you.

It pumps you the fuck up. It makes you feel capable— like you can take on the world.

I think that either ambitious people listen to hip-hop, or, rap makes people ambitious. You decide. But check this.

A lot of rap actually is about business.

Let’s take an easy one: 10 Crack Commandments by Notorious B.I.G.Sure it’s about slinging crack-cocaine. But it also actually offers good advice.

Not kidding.

[Rule] Number 2: Never let em know your next move

Number 4: Never get high on your own supply (never believe your own press)

Number 7 (this rule is so underrated): Keep your family and business completely separated

Other songs teach you about haters, about spending too much money, or focusing on yourself instead of others.

Now, a lot of people might say it’s a bad idea to take advice from egomaniacs.

Nonsense! I think there’s something to learn from everyone, as long as you consider the source before deciding. (I also think this about crappy self-help books btw.) And hey, they did make money, they clearly know something.

Anyway if you wanna get yourself hyped-up, here’s my top 5 tracks to get me super enthusiastic.

And in case you’re wondering about my credibility well… this was before your time, but although I am the whitest man alive, I did have a hip-hop radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio. So. 🙂

Anyway, enjoy! Now go do something amazing.


This article also appears on inoveryourhead.net and is published here with the permission of the author
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