Rapper Kendrick Lamar lent his talents and likeness to a financial literacy campaign with Cash App targeting hip-hop fans looking to build personal wealth. The “Big Stepper” joins other influencers in a new commercial for an American cash payment company.
According to a 2019 report by the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund and Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC), most Americans can not pass a financial literacy test. The TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index (P-Fin Index) found that financial literacy is low among many U.S. adults. And on average, African American adults answered 38% of the P-Fin Index questions correctly. Only 28% answered over one-half of index questions correctly, with 5% answering over 75% correctly.
On August 15, Cash App debuted its latest 1:54-minute promotion for the “That’s Money” movement featuring the West Coast lyricist, billionaire investor Ray Dalio, and comedian ExavierTV.
The three are featured on a small white deck shooting the breeze about an investment scenario.
ExavierTV is the first to speak, telling a ’hood tale about gambling with his friend Peanut and losing out on his dream. The camera pans over to Kendrick attentively listening to the dramatics of his story, chiming in with the word that doubles for affirmation and punctuation. At one point in the story, Peanut is on a streak and wins a significant amount of ExavierTV’s money.
Kendrick offers to translate the comedian’s elaborate story from his street slang to straight American English, saying, “Basically what he is saying, He saved up his money to get a local barbershop. He then made a friendly business wager with Peanut in hopes to secure more money for this business.”
“But he eventually loses it all with one roll of the dice,” the “Money Trees” rapper explains before asking Dalio what he thinks about ExavierTV’s problem.
“I think volatility is his problem,” Dalio responds. “I don’t think he understands how to compound his talents and how to compound his money.”
Then he breaks it down, “What I mean is … if you just take big bets like that you’ll blow it all.”
“You should invest in yourself, man. And then you’ll learn more and then when you learn more, you also make more money,” the hedge fund manager shared.
He should know … volatility is his playground.
Who is Ray Dalio?
Ray Dalio is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world. He is also an author, writing the best-selling book “Principles: Life and Work” which has been touted as a manual for rational thinking that helped navigate him to his estimated 22 billion net worth.
After the commercial dropped, Dalio, one of the biggest supporters of China’s investments on Wall Street, made a major business move.
Amid a slowdown in the Chinese economy and tension brewing in Asia with America, he sold his hedge fund’s 7.5 million American depositary shares (ADSs), in the e-commerce giant Alibaba company, his entire stake, according to Fortune.com.
To put it in perspective, each ADS equals eight ordinary shares of Amazon.
While not a billionaire, Kendrick has proven himself to be quite the phenomenon and cash cow.
With an estimated net worth ranging from $75 million to $90 million, he has sold over 17.8 million albums units, had 29 Grammy nominations (winning 12 of them), became one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2016, and won a Pulitzer Prize-winning fourth studio album, “DAMN.”
In 2017, The Damn Tour earned a total of $77.3 million from 833,372 tickets sold in 61 shows performed, and his current Big Steppers Tour, which is sponsored by Cash App, is on its way to beating those numbers.
In 2020, he and Dave Free, his partner from TDE, started an entertainment consortium that houses a record label, a production company, and music publishing services. It also funnels sponsorship and endorsement opportunities for the artists connected to the collective, capitalizing on his commercially edgy but trustworthy brand.
As an influencer, the artist is seen as a reliable voice, never too flashy and easily translatable in multiple worlds — whether that be through his now classic “good kid, m.A.A.d city” or culture switching he talks about in his latest project “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.”
He proves this also in the Cash App commercial when he translates Dalio to ExavierTV.
Kendrick shares in a distinctive Compton accent, “What he’s saying is ‘slow money wins the race.’ You can still have a big upside even if you don’t throw all your chips in the bag.”
“Invest in yourself, leave them dice alone. You don’t need to invest in the dice. That’s gonna ruin everything,” he warns.
He leaves his associate with this, advice that can easily be dropped on all of his fans and investors interested in making their mark, “Spread your money out, let it work for yourself. It works gradually … slowly. Anybody that made a lot of money did make it fast … off top, pgLane.”
Cash App and Celebrities
Cash App as a financial tool has become an easy way for novice investors to participate in the stock market and cryptocurrency. To help push this message, they have entered into partnerships with artists like Snoop Dogg, Miley Cyrus, Lil Nas X, Travis Scott, Kim Kardashian, and Megan Thee Stallion.
The goal is to attract young people and help them learn money skills for their future. While most celebrities have used them to support other product or campaign launches, the app has been used to support their charities and foundations also.
The Kendrick Lamar campaign is different in tone and seems to promote responsible saving.
Building on the theme of investing in oneself, the video was written and directed by Dave Free and produced by Kendrick’s pgLang company.