Warning: after reading this post you will feel severely wealthless.
Money is important to everyone, but especially to rappers. They rhyme about it, they spend it, and—most notably—they find ways to use it creatively in their everyday lives: Re-decorating, swimming, making it rain, cooling off, balancing, cleaning, bathing, strengthening senses, etc.
For rappers, their like-minded affiliates, and unfortunately thirsty people who want to be cool, conspicuously physically cherishing cash is a way of telegraphing that you've finally made enough to say "fuck up some commas" and mean it. And over the past few years, rappers have been saving on their data plans by using money phones.
The hilarious visual—using a stack of cash as a phone—has become popular on Instagram, Vine, and in music videos. Money phone MVPs include Soulja Boy and Floyd Mayweather (who isn't a rapper but is the founder of The Money Team), with honorable mentions going to French Montana, 50 Cent, and Chief Keef. I asked some of my knowledgable peers where they thought the concept and term came from. Lots of them pointed to Detroit, which is probably true (I'm from Detroit)—plus there's this song by Detroit rapper Icewear Vezzo. Case closed.
But let's get to the IMPORTANT part: How can you, too, use a money phone? Here's a guide:
I know, I know. You haven't seen multi-millionaire rappers like Kanye, Jay Z or Diddy doing this—how has Diddy NOT been seen doing this? He's lavish, he's friends with French Montana, he wears fur and he's hilarious—but that doesn't mean it's not cool. Money phones seem to be a popular with rappers who are showy and over-the-top, don't take themselves to seriously, have cellphones (Kanye doesn't), frequently use the internet, and, in some cases, probably don't actually make that much money. In other words, rappers you can still relate to. If that's not convincing enough, watch Young Thug's "Check"; he makes a very strong case.
Do use crisp cash.
Do make sure your stack isn't too sloppy, or too thin.
Don't be afraid to show affection—you earned this.
If you're busy with a high call influx, don't be afraid to use two phones at once.
Don't use dollar bills—unless you're at the strip club.
Don't use folded money, ever. Would you talk on an unopened flip phone?
Do make sure you're aware of your grip. Look to prosperity role models 50 Cent and French Montana.
Don't take on more than you can handle.
Well, unless you can do this:
Haters and exes: Tell them, "I tried to call you on my money phone, but I couldn't reach you," implying that they're broke without even having to say it. If you want to take it a step further, send a photo of yourself trying to call on your money phone, with the text: "Is your voicemail full?" This meme is also acceptable:
Your mom: Thank her for bringing you into the world, because without her you wouldn't have even been able to read this post, guiding you to a more fulfilled and lavish life. Be sure to tag her in your money phone Instagram posts, using a cliché hashtag (#thankmymomma, #mommaimadeit) to prove you're still humble and haven't changed.
Your best friend: Real friends make money calls together (look at 50 Cent and Floyd Mayweather or Amber Rose and Blac Chyna).
The bank: Let the teller know that you're on the way—because seriously, unless you're about to sign a lease, go to the strip club or flee the country, WHY DO YOU HAVE THIS MUCH CASH?
Option 1: Be rich, or have rich friends who like to share the wealth.
Option 2: Empty out your savings account or your 401k. (JK, JK, we actually don't suggest this, this is probably the worst thing you can do.)
Option 3: Order prop money used in movies and tv shows, and then fake it until you make it.
I saw that rappers also "eat" money. Is that cool?
No. It's actually very unsanitary. Please don't let money get anywhere near your mouth.
Tahirah Hairston is a style writer from Detroit who likes Susan Miller, Rihanna's friend's Instagram accounts, ramen and ugly-but cute shoes.