It was going to be raw and aggressive, but also witty and slick. It was going to boast and compete and exaggerate. But it was also going to care enough to get the details right about our aspirations and our crumb-snatching struggles, our specific, small realities (chicken and collard greens) and our living-color dreamscapes (big long Caddy). It was going to be real

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The flow isn’t like time, it’s like life. It’s like a heartbeat or the way you breathe, it can jump, speed up, slow down, stop, or pound right through like a machine. If the beat is time, flow is what we do with that time, how we live through it. The beat is everywhere, but every life has to find its own flow.

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Life’s a bitch, I hope to not make her a widow

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In the game there’s always a younger guy who has an old soul and an understanding of things beyond his years. I mean in the street game, but it also applies to the music industry. An older guy will see a kid and think, Man, that kid moves differently from the rest. He’s ready for this life. They know that if they find the right kid, they can put him under their tutelage and he’ll get it fast, step right into the rhythm of the life. But it starts by the other guy watching him, trying to pick up clues.

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later, we both became investors in a restaurant in New York, the Spotted Pig in Greenwich Village. One night I ran into him there and he told me he’d read an interview I’d done somewhere.

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What’s the basic motivation for a hustler? I hit the streets for the same reason a lot of other kids do: I wanted money and excitement and loved the idea of cutting myself loose from the rules and low ceilings of the straight world. The truth is that most kids on the corner aren’t making big money—especially if you break their income down to an hourly wage.1 But they’re getting rewarded in ways that go beyond dollars and cents. The kid on the streets is getting a shot at a dream. The dream is that he will be the one to make this hustling thing pay off in a big way. He sees the guy who gets rich and drives the nice car and thinks, yep, that’ll be me. He ignores the other stories going around,

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There’s no way to quantify all that on a spreadsheet, but it’s that dream of being the exception, the one who gets rich and gets out before he gets got, that’s the key to a hustler’s motivation. Legions of young cats chase after that ghost and die in the streets so a small handful of bosses—the ones who really did catch the miracle—can get richer.

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The whole vibe of start-up companies in Silicon Valley with twenty-five-year-old CEOs wearing shelltoes is Russell’s Def Jam style filtered through different industries. The business ideal for a whole generation went from growing up and wearing a suit every day to never growing up and wearing sneakers to the boardroom

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He’d discovered a way to work in the legit world but to live the dream of the hustler: independence, wealth, and success outside of the mainstream’s rules.

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He knew that the key to success was believing in the quality of your own product enough to make people do business with you on your terms. He knew that great product was the ultimate advantage in competition, not how big your office building is or how deep your pockets are or who you know. In the end it came down to having a great product and the hustle to move it

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When people asked him what his art was about, he’d hit them with the same three words: “Royalty, heroism, and the streets.”

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In the corner of the painting are the words, MOST YOUNG KINGS GET THIER HEAD CUT OFF.

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If the price is life, then you better get what you paid for. There’s an equal and opposite relationship between balling and falling.

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you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate

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