REWIND: Notorious B.I.G. and Louis Prima help you find a new career

Biggie, Notorious B.I.G.

Employment 101 with the Notorious B.I.G.

Your taxes are due in just a few days, which means by now you probably know exactly how much money you made in 2018. Was it disappointing? Are you dissatisfied with your earnings?

Well it’s never too late to change careers and we here at RIFF are here to help.

Musicians have a long history of drawing inspiration from their lives and, while that’s usually reflected in tens of thousands of songs about sex, drugs and sometimes cars, every now and then they write a song about how they made the money to get those things. So let’s take a journey through five songs that may help your 2019 AGI be just a little bit higher.

Notorious BIG — “Ten Crack Commandments”

Now obviously we would never encourage any illegal activities, but if you do decide to get into the field of illicit pharmaceutical sales be sure to do it right. It’s a high-risk industry after all.

They even translate to other fields! For example, No. 4: never get high on your own supply, and No. 5: never sell no crack where you rest at, are just good business advice. It’s a song about entrepreneurship as far as we’re concerned. Which absolves us of any legal liability.

Louis Prima — “Just a Gigolo”

Unfortunately this one doesn’t work for me because it turns out you can’t sell what you can’t give away for free, and also because it’s illegal and we would never encourage any illegal activities. But if you decide to ignore our clearly stated disclaimer, they do say to do what you love.

I mean, granted, the second half of the song is about crippling loneliness, and I guess that’s a downside. It’s pretty depressing as it goes on. But do you know what else is depressing? Being poor. So, you know, just something to consider.

Monty Python — “The Lumberjack Song”

Maybe you actually followed our disclaimers and want to stay away from illegal activities. That’s cool, the world needs boring people too. That means you’re probably going to have to do real work. So maybe consider becoming a lumberjack, at least for the next 15 to 20 years before trees go extinct as the world turns into a sweltering, flooded wasteland?

It’s a good deal! You sleep all night and work all day, sure, but you have buttered scones for tea! You press wildflowers! You use the lavatory! And some other things which, as I understand it, are absolutely required.

Living Colour — “Cult of Personality”

That lumberjack thing sounds like a lot of work, and walking in heels takes a lot of practice. But there’s another way, which, while not ethical in the slightest, is also not technically illegal anymore.

We’re living in a golden age of hucksters. Televangelists have gotten so shameless that sending them money is the entire message, for-profit colleges are basically prosperity gospel televangelists for secular types, pyramid schemes that get their money from angel investors instead of friends and family are the entire foundation of Silicon Valley. And, of course, the President.

So why not get in on that action? Start your own cult of personality! Everyone else is doing it unfortunately.

Roger Miller — “King of the Road”

Let’s say you don’t want to get a real job, you don’t want to do anything illegal, and you don’t want to take part in our shameless culture of financial exploitation. What’s left?

Just drop off the grid!

While passenger rail travel is nowhere near as common as it once was, freight is still chugging along across the country. So why not hop on a boxcar and ride the rails as an old-timey hobo? While your new life as a transient isn’t likely to achieve your goal of increasing your income, the expenses are far lower and your tax bill drops to zero because they can’t find you and the benefits aren’t any worse than working in the Gig Economy.

Follow editor Daniel J. Willis and tweet column ideas to him at

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