Fuck taste. Wear bling.
So, you've finally emerged from hospital after paying your buddies to shoot you repeatedly, at close range, with handgun more closely resembling a potato cannon. The surgery videos are on YouTube. The X-Rays are on Facebook. Reebok are in talks to have you as the face of their new line of shoes (because nothing says 'sport' like a near-crippled crime victim). The record labels swooned and your adoring public is just waiting to drop to its knees and lick the salty, swollen balls of your newfound musical prowess. But what next?
You're a young, up-and-coming Rapper. Naturally, 90% of your rhymes are stories of how you came from the poor streets, raised in poverty, forced to 'sling crack' just to make ends meet. Your ghetto roots define who you are, grounding you in the hardened, crime-filled reality of the slums. Your only excuse for the many crimes you claim to have committed was to afford to put food on the table, and hearing your tales of humble hardship brings a tear to the eye. You mention your 'hood in every Rap, and dedicate every song to the struggle of your homeboys back in the ghetto - those who still have to hustle and struggle just to survive. Their plight reminds you of where you're from - it's not just your mantra, it's your identity.
How best to show this love? By wearing a $50,000 diamond-studded chain and by driving a car with an engine big enough to burn out a medium-sized sun, of course! Smoke cigars that would make South American dictators wince with envy. Do enough drugs to make even the likes of George Jung look like pussy little lightweights by comparison. Have photos taken of you sitting on a throne made of cash too, for good measure. It might not be the right way, but it's the Rap way. Hip Hop artists have been pulling this shit for years - who the hell are you to buck the trend?
Bad taste? You bet. Hypocritical? Hells yes. Borderline retarded? Fo' shizzle. Anything less would be an insult to your peers, forcing them to retreat in sorrow to their mansions to wipe away the tears with $100 bills. This is the Rap game after all. And nobody got to the top in this business without being an egomaniacal, wealth-squandering jackass. Conform to the stereotype - you're a beacon of Hip Hop now and you have the image of a money-hungry whore to uphold. Don't just work the image -live it.
When it comes to bling, subtlety is key. Allow us to illustrate:
What's the point in becoming incredibly rich and famous if you can't rub your wealth in people's faces? Your fans will appreciate knowing you spend more money on one piece of jewelry than they ever could on their own children's education. What's the point of being a star if you can't be shiny? You're the man, you're in charge now, and nothing says "I've made it" quite like having the name of your poor, starving childhood friends written across your chest in blood diamonds.
Being "Gangsta" means that any item of bling worth less than the entire neighborhood you claim you grew up in just isn't worth your time. Don't take "no" for an answer - buy your own diamond mine if that's what it takes to adequately display your riches, and thereby your humble love for the ghetto - it's in the name of musical expression after all, and who could possibly stand in the way of your art?
How much bling should one rapper own? Think in terms of the Queen of England. Double it, sprinkle some more on top, then move on.
As well as carrying the wealth of a small African nation around your neck at all times, you can also accessorise. Diversification is hot these days, and while hilariously large gold chains are the Rap industry standard, there's other subtle ways of parading your obnoxious wealth to the millions who go hungry just to buy your albums. Items of obscene avarice du jour include...
The key words here are obviously "solid" and "gold". Some modern rappers have taken to wearing platinum instead, which is a mistake. Yes, platinum is worth a lot more than gold. But since when did numbers matter to a rapper? Math is hard, damnit! The problem with platinum is that many uneducated observers might mistaken it for silver (a.k.a Peasant Metal). Such an oversight would be more dangerous than a rapist at a children's birthday party.
Clothes play an important role too. Want an example? Try this on for size...
Appearing on MTV Cribs recently, Rap superstar Nelly recently admitted that he only wears a pair of sneakers once, and has over five hundred pairs in his closet, just in case. The entire economy of Malaysia is linked directly to his clothes budget. Yes, really. Delighted sweat shop operators are even having to steal extra children in order to facilitate demand, just to ensure that Nelly always has clean footwear on before hitting "da club". If any kind of dirt or scuff mark stains Nelly's sainted shoes, he has them destroyed immediately and, rumour has it, has an incinerator on stand-by for this very occasion.
That's a decent benchmark, but as an aspiring rapper you should aim higher - as well as having the offending sneakers burned, you should also set fire to the guy who sold them to you too, just to be on the safe side. And the store they were bought in. And the factory they were made in too. Shit, why not? Everyone loves a good bonfire! And history proves that nobody messes with the guy starting all the fires...
This is the kind of jaw-dropping level you must attain if you're truly going to make it big in the Rap game. Sure, the music you'll squeeze out may be instantly forgettable, but legendarily reckless self-indulgence like that is remembered forever.
During our extensive three minutes of research for this article, we uncovered some places where you too can bling up like a shiny Monte Carlo whore - Bling Bling Online is still the standard here in the UK, with King Ice being the snazzy Yankee alternative. Word is that the bitches froth over Iced Out Gear too.
And, as far as bling goes, that's us done with pretending to care.