HipHoponomics, Part III
Economics and rapping wouldn’t seem to be the most natural bedfellows, but they keep showing up on this blog, including here and here. But this latest instance is probably also the best. It’s called “Demand, Supply,” and the artist is Rhythm, Rhyme, Results, a startup company in Cambridge, Mass., that creates educational rap music. Here’s the song (the link is from Imeem Music), followed by the lyrics and a note from the artists describing their mission. Enjoy.
Tradin’ this for that, call it tit for tat
We all face tradeoffs and that’s a fact because
Everything is in finite supply
That’s the reason why we all sell and buy
Next up is rule deuce, the next best use
Of money or time defines its true value
It’s more convoluted than just the simple cost
What else could you do? What opportunities are lost?
Decisions at the margin, yeah that’s the key
To understanding principle #3
Take your present situation and assume that it’s the best
If a change is worth more than it costs, then that’s your test
Lesson #4: it’s like the carrot and the stick
We break it down so you can see what makes the world tick
So why do we do the things that we do?
It’s a system of incentives that we all respond to
Listen up, learn this, and you’ll know why
We work, we buy
The price is right when the competition’s alive
Everyone in society can benefit from trade
#5 is a reminder that we shouldn’t let hope fade
Just use what you’ve got to produce your best
The money that you make will buy the rest
Lesson 6 is a trick, the invisible hand
Buyers and sellers clear markets without the man
The market system almost always prevails
But recognize, too, that markets can fail
Because of monopolies and the troubles they create
Uncle Sam comes along and he’s gotta regulate
That’s lesson #7: when government’s there
They oversee to guarantee that competition is fair
#8 says the future of a national State
Relies on services and products people create
If we sell and excel and we keep doing well
Then the money keeps going ’round just like a carousel
#9: keep an eye on that money supply
Printing too much paper sends prices sky high
A dollar means nothing, it’s just a nice name
If what it represents doesn’t stay the same
Number 10: there’s a tradeoff in the short run
Between unemployment and inflation
I really can’t explain the whole situation
You want the full story? Step up your education!
And here’s a note from Robbie Mitchell, managing director of Rhythm, Rhyme, Results:
Our goal is to create original music for educational publishing, media, and software, and as way of demonstrating our abilities we have created four full-length demo CDs in four subjects (science, #4, is almost finished). To create the songs, we research the state curriculum standards, create detailed outlines from a list of eligible topics, then oversee production involving a network of professional lyricists, composers, vocalists, and producers, bringing it all together under a coherent artistic vision. This model allows us to create a wide sonic range of music at once. Sometimes we do the work ourselves; e.g., Ben [Jackson] has written and performed a number of our demo songs, and I wrote the economics song.
This year we were also part of a phenomenal campaign for the American Academy of Audiology, for whom we created “Turn It to the Left,” a song about protecting your hearing. We are currently in negotiations to do a larger collection of health songs for a health consortium.
RRR is governed by a small board of directors, led by Isaiah Jackson, our president, a professor and former orchestra conductor. Ben is creative director, with a history of teaching and musical experience; I run the day-to-day affairs as managing director and am focused on the business of digital media and related technology.
We (Ben and Robbie, friends since 10th grade) are 27 and 26 respectively, and realized two years ago that we had no problem remembering song lyrics from pop songs. We also noticed that most educational music is either too childish or ineffective; most companies don’t wander anywhere near contemporary music, and those that do don’t execute the concept well. We set out to teach students in a medium and genre they’re comfortable with — if you’re going to teach them, you don’t get to take what they like and change both the lyrics and the style! Otherwise, too much behavioral change would be required.