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A good number of you guys will be turned off from reading this post by the picture next to it. I cannot say that I blame you. Most of you are a little too young to know the story of Russell Simmons and how well it ties into modern day Wall Street lore. As someone who witnessed the evolution of Wall Street into its modern visage, I see many similarities between the street and hip hop.

In the words Biggie (echoed later in Boiler Room ): either you're slinging crack rock or ya gotta wicked jump shot...interpret at your own whim...

Russell Simmons is a bankster,the masturbatory manifestation of all the evils attributed to Wall Street and it's slick haired, slick suited, sell-side peddlers. He lives and breathes the same excesses and manipulations. Except he manages to one up everyone. He manages to pull off the brazen backhanded arrogance of high finance, while grandstanding like a politician or savior. I would argue that the key difference between Russell and Wall Street is that even in its worst hour the BBs at least make money for some of their clients. Simmons on the other hand, is squeezing pennies out of people for whom a quarter is a big deal.

His newest rendition of how to build a billion the Def Jam way, is called the Rush Card. It is a grimy and greasy tactical approach which purports to empower, but (in reality) robs those who can least afford to be taken for an extra buck or two.

I have to admit that I have a personal stake in shining the light on this charlatan. A man who has been selling dreams and delusions to the inner city for over a quarter century. Growing up in NYC I saw Russell rise from floor to ceiling. I admit to feeling a sense of pride at the time. I even felt like a contributor by buying early Run-DMC and Beastie Boys albums. But years have passed and hip hop is no longer a movement or a culture. It has morphed into a nouveau minstrel show that I actively seek to ignore. Today, I watch one of the founders of the genre portraying Robin Hood while he is actually robbin' the 'hood.

We are so afraid to address issues that could even be construed as having a racial tinge these days, that we let people get away with legal, but highly immoral activities...as long as they are part of certain groups.

Russell Simmons (in his own way) is doing very subtly to the Black community via this card, what unscrupulous bankers and con artist mortgage brokers did to retail investors and municipalities with Mortgage Backed Securities not more than a decade ago. He is bleeding the community which gave him his lifeblood and not only is he not being punished, he is being celebrated.

Have a peek at his commentary and compare it with the evidence laid out by Farnoosh Torabi in the link provided above. In case you don't agree with my view, then you too can learn to hustle, like Russell.

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Comments (34)

  • UFOinsider's picture

    True. He is to the black community what the Koch brothers are to Mid-Westerners. These people only care about their own power.

    I'm still a fan of the music, but the 'movement' was only talk. I wonder about the generation that grew up who bought in. I'll give this to BB's - they don't pretend to care, and since hypocrisy pisses me off more than anything else, I can respect a person who's HONEST about their selfishness.

    And no, I don't think Lloyd is doing God's work.

    Get busy living

  • Inept Speculator's picture

    Is Rush Card still running. I assumed it faded away just like all highly usurious branded prepaid cards. Speaking of which late last year a friend sent me a link about these tacky rappers (YMCM - Wayne & bro) pedding their own branded card.lol.... I actually do believe theirs may have sold especially to hipster teens & preteens.

    Simmons is an old G though & definately has a knack for SI. Midas on a side note, do you have a connection with the industry especially with the local moguls..... I may want to talk to you about a tech start up there. Cheers.

  • Nobama88's picture

    Read the comments on the link you provided as well as the Yahoo version of this. People are fucking STOOOOPID. They will defend this card and Russell as he is someone who is looking out for the little guy and taking the evil bankers on.

    I say fuck um. Have fun with your $10.00 a month card + $3 withdrawl fee + whatever else fees they have on it. These are the same people that think cashing their checks for 15% is a great deal considering they dont have to put up with the evil banks. The poor will always be poor, not because of the wealthy keeping them down, but because of their own ignorance.

  • Nobama88's picture

    PS. Boooooooooo fucking hoooo that the bank charged you $35 dollars because you took out more money then you have! News Flash: If you have only $100 dollars in your bank account and you charge $101 you dont have the money for it and the bank shouldnt have to foot the bill interest free until you decide its convenient to come up with money to pay that off.

  • WickedJumpShot's picture

    I don't have a wicked jump shot.

    However, I find it hard to blame Simmons. People need to be responsible for themselves. [Insert Atlas Shrugged quote here].

  • In reply to UFOinsider
    Saccard's picture

    UFOinsider:
    True. He is to the black community what the Koch brothers are to Mid-Westerners. These people only care about their own power.

    I'm still a fan of the music, but the 'movement' was only talk. I wonder about the generation that grew up who bought in. I'll give this to BB's - they don't pretend to care, and since hypocrisy pisses me off more than anything else, I can respect a person who's HONEST about their selfishness.

    And no, I don't think Lloyd is doing God's work.

    I don't see how the Koch brothers are relevant at all.

  • txjustin's picture

    Nobama, I second everything you said with certainty. Great post!

    It's time for people to take a little responsibility. You can't continue to blame everyone else for your faults.

  • In reply to Saccard
    UFOinsider's picture

    LeveragedFiend:
    UFOinsider:
    True. He is to the black community what the Koch brothers are to Mid-Westerners. These people only care about their own power.

    I'm still a fan of the music, but the 'movement' was only talk. I wonder about the generation that grew up who bought in. I'll give this to BB's - they don't pretend to care, and since hypocrisy pisses me off more than anything else, I can respect a person who's HONEST about their selfishness.

    And no, I don't think Lloyd is doing God's work.

    I don't see how the Koch brothers are relevant at all.


    Then there's really not much to discuss.

    In defence of free markets....he's merely exploiting people's ignorance. This is unethical but not illegal. It helps confirm my belief that we have a power management system, with a side of justice system served with ideology.

    Get busy living

  • In reply to UFOinsider
    Saccard's picture

    UFOinsider:
    LeveragedFiend:
    UFOinsider:
    True. He is to the black community what the Koch brothers are to Mid-Westerners. These people only care about their own power.

    I'm still a fan of the music, but the 'movement' was only talk. I wonder about the generation that grew up who bought in. I'll give this to BB's - they don't pretend to care, and since hypocrisy pisses me off more than anything else, I can respect a person who's HONEST about their selfishness.

    And no, I don't think Lloyd is doing God's work.

    I don't see how the Koch brothers are relevant at all.


    Then there's really not much to discuss.

    In defence of free markets....he's merely exploiting people's ignorance. This is unethical but not illegal. It helps confirm my belief that we have a power management system, with a side of justice system served with ideology.

    How about you explain your comparison instead of acting like you're taking the moral high ground?

    In regards to Russell Simmons, I can't say I'm outraged. He may be a complete douche, but there is nothing evil going on here. I like that the article above is very level-headed in its criticism of the RushCard and its selling points.

  • In reply to Saccard
    UFOinsider's picture

    LeveragedFiend:
    UFOinsider:
    LeveragedFiend:
    UFOinsider:
    True. He is to the black community what the Koch brothers are to Mid-Westerners. These people only care about their own power.

    I'm still a fan of the music, but the 'movement' was only talk. I wonder about the generation that grew up who bought in. I'll give this to BB's - they don't pretend to care, and since hypocrisy pisses me off more than anything else, I can respect a person who's HONEST about their selfishness.

    And no, I don't think Lloyd is doing God's work.

    I don't see how the Koch brothers are relevant at all.


    Then there's really not much to discuss.

    In defence of free markets....he's merely exploiting people's ignorance. This is unethical but not illegal. It helps confirm my belief that we have a power management system, with a side of justice system served with ideology.

    How about you explain your comparison instead of acting like you're taking the moral high ground?

    In regards to Russell Simmons, I can't say I'm outraged. He may be a complete douche, but there is nothing evil going on here. I like that the article above is very level-headed in its criticism of the RushCard and its selling points.


    I you don't see them both as taking advantage of people, then there's really nothing to discuss. I'm not in an argumentive state of mind today. The ignorance argument works up to a point, but then becomes an issue of me mugging someone and saying, "you should have armed yourself".

    Get busy living

  • In reply to Nobama88
    mkballer's picture

    Nobama88:
    PS. Boooooooooo fucking hoooo that the bank charged you $35 dollars because you took out more money then you have! News Flash: If you have only $100 dollars in your bank account and you charge $101 you dont have the money for it and the bank shouldnt have to foot the bill interest free until you decide its convenient to come up with money to pay that off.

    I agree 100%, Nobama. But what some banks were doing was not good practice, as far as checking accounts go (i.e. deducting withdrawals from your account based on withdrawal amount, not in the order in which they were withdrawn).

    MKballer

  • onemanwolfpack's picture

    I disagree with her first sentence that "you shouldn't have to pay money to access your money." Who is supposed to pay for ATM, branches, tellers, debit cards, checks? And I don't buy the "you provide a cheap source of funding to the banks for lending" b/c they're not making squat over the 2 grand I keep in my checking account..If you want free access to your money, stick it all under the mattress.

    These cards are ridiculous and unsustainable, as our free checking accounts.

  • In reply to onemanwolfpack
    UFOinsider's picture

    onemanwolfpack:
    These cards are ridiculous and unsustainable, as our free checking accounts.

    Did you screw up the grammer, spelling, or both? I can't tell.

    ZING

    Get busy living

  • Chicago85's picture

    I am only speaking to the Rack card as a product/service. I do not know Russell Simmons personally and will not pretend to know anything about his character or itegrity.

    A few things...he is providing a service/product that obviously has a market. It is not illegal to charge a fee for a legal service/product provided just because the people paying for the fee are not as intelligent as you. If the service provided is the only viable option someone has available to them, isn't it better than nothing?

    Let's just assume that the type of person that would use a pre-paid debit card would primarily do so to avoid overdraft fees (forget about any criminal reason someone might use one) and after reading the testimonials on the product's website, that seems to be an accurate assumption. If this is an indivual's main motivation to use a pre-paid debit card (to avoid overdraft fees), then we can likely assume these individuals are very fee sensitive probably from a lack of income. The Dodd-Frank bill has essentially eliminated banks ability to charge overdraft fees, but in the abscense of this lost revenue the banks are looking for other ways to make up this revenue. It seems that part of the solution to make up this lost revnue is to start charging fees for once free products, such as checking accounts that do not have minium balances, direct debit, etc. If the fees on the Rack card are lower than the fees being charged on these checking accounts then what's the problem? It seems like a simple cost benefit analysis to me or am I missing something here?

    How Russell markets or advertises the product is aother issue, but why is that people take anything for face value nowadays? This is a pre-paid debit card, of course there are going to be hidden fees associated, he has to be making money somehow.

  • In reply to Nobama88
    luccabananas's picture

    Nobama88:
    PS. Boooooooooo fucking hoooo that the bank charged you $35 dollars because you took out more money then you have! News Flash: If you have only $100 dollars in your bank account and you charge $101 you dont have the money for it and the bank shouldnt have to foot the bill interest free until you decide its convenient to come up with money to pay that off.

    Couldn't have said it any better. This reminds of me of a similar tactic by Kim Kardashian or whatever. A pre-paid Mastercard with a picture of her face plastered on it. All the teenager girls couldn't wait to get their hands on the card in spite of the outrageous hidden fees.

    If you use the card to withdraw cash from an ATM, you pay a fee. If you use the card to withdraw cash from an ATM but your withdrawal is denied, you pay a fee. If you check your balance on an ATM, you pay a fee. If your card is declined for a purchase, you pay a fee. If you load more money onto the card, you pay a fee. If you cancel your account, you pay a fee. If you call live customer service, you pay a fee.

    Ultimately though, if people are stupid enough to sign up for these cards then they deserve the consequences. Simple as that.
  • bfin's picture

    I see these cards all the time biggest joke... along with Check cashing services and check advancing serivces and people in poverty wonder why they can't get out of poverty. Maybe if you lived within your means and stop using my money to pay to feed your kids and your money to buy the newest Jordans. Just maybe people wouldn't take you to be such suckers

    The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

    WSO is not your personal search function.

  • In reply to UFOinsider
    onemanwolfpack's picture

    UFOinsider:
    onemanwolfpack:
    These cards are ridiculous and unsustainable, as our free checking accounts.

    Did you screw up the grammer, spelling, or both? I can't tell.

    ZING

    Left out "are"..should read as are our...but good value-add, thanks.

  • In reply to onemanwolfpack
    UFOinsider's picture

    onemanwolfpack:
    UFOinsider:
    onemanwolfpack:
    These cards are ridiculous and unsustainable, as our free checking accounts.

    Did you screw up the grammer, spelling, or both? I can't tell.

    ZING

    Left out "are"..should read as are our...but good value-add, thanks.


    Can you tell I'm bored OUT OF MY MIND today? I'm spell checking a blog. Damn, I'm embarassed.

    Get busy living

  • Nobama88's picture

    Just imagine if those people who use check cashing places to cash every check stopped using them and used a real bank....they could take that 15% they were throwing out the window and oh I dont know, put it in a retirement account?

    Kind of off topic: I was watching CNN's Black in America some time ago. It was talking about how unfair it has to be because the black community doesnt save anywhere near what the white community does.

    The excuse CNN came up with was that the system is racist and white children are allowed to learn the basics of financing while blacks are not. Mmmm, marrmarrmarr excuses blame someone else marmarmarawr. Try saving not spending your money on Jordans, $300 pair of FUBU pants and new Iphones.

  • Nobama88's picture

    That being said.... I have wanted to open a check cashing place... thats got to be MONEY.

    Am I evil? :/

    *EDIT*

    For all you traders out there, just open one of these shops and market it as helping them save for retirement.

    They cash check with you. You take 5% for you. You take 10% of their pay check and put it into a investment account with you. You collect on fees from investing their money on top of the 5% from the initial check cashing. They get money put towards reitrement.

    Winning. (even if that is the lames idea ever haha)

  • In reply to Nobama88
    bfin's picture

    Nobama88:
    Just imagine if those people who use check cashing places to cash every check stopped using them and used a real bank....they could take that 15% they were throwing out the window and oh I dont know, put it in a retirement account?

    Kind of off topic: I was watching CNN's Black in America some time ago. It was talking about how unfair it has to be because the black community doesnt save anywhere near what the white community does.

    The excuse CNN came up with was that the system is racist and white children are allowed to learn the basics of financing while blacks are not. Mmmm, marrmarrmarr excuses blame someone else marmarmarawr. Try saving not spending your money on Jordans, $300 pair of FUBU pants and new Iphones.

    Watched it and thought the same thing. ridiculous.

    The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

    WSO is not your personal search function.

  • happypantsmcgee's picture

    Walmart already has that shit on lock. You can cash any payroll, federal, or tax return check for 3 bucks.

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • Nobama88's picture

    ^ ^ ^ ^

    Check into cash places are dominent in the ghetto.

  • In reply to Nobama88
    bfin's picture

    Nobama88:
    ^ ^ ^ ^

    Check into cash places are dominent in the ghetto.

    yes and they are usually right next to a package store or a bootleg clothing store... I wonder why....I say the chance both places are owned by the same people is pretty high

    The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

    WSO is not your personal search function.

  • In reply to bfin
    UFOinsider's picture

    blackfinancier:
    Nobama88:
    ^ ^ ^ ^

    Check into cash places are dominent in the ghetto.

    yes and they are usually right next to a package store or a bootleg clothing store... I wonder why....I say the chance both places are owned by the same people is pretty high


    And they're typically 'connected' or have guns in the store, at the very least, for self defence. Not a choice situation in life, but they are making money. Ever notice that those Cash 4 Gold type stores never get knocked over; why is that?

    Get busy living

  • In reply to UFOinsider
    bfin's picture

    UFOinsider:
    blackfinancier:
    Nobama88:
    ^ ^ ^ ^

    Check into cash places are dominent in the ghetto.

    yes and they are usually right next to a package store or a bootleg clothing store... I wonder why....I say the chance both places are owned by the same people is pretty high


    And they're typically 'connected' or have guns in the store, at the very least, for self defence. Not a choice situation in life, but they are making money. Ever notice that those Cash 4 Gold type stores never get knocked over; why is that?

    You obviously aren't going to rob someone you know has a gun simple as that.

    The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

    WSO is not your personal search function.

  • In reply to Nobama88
    vadremc's picture

    Nobama88:
    Just imagine if those people who use check cashing places to cash every check stopped using them and used a real bank....they could take that 15% they were throwing out the window and oh I dont know, put it in a retirement account?

    Kind of off topic: I was watching CNN's Black in America some time ago. It was talking about how unfair it has to be because the black community doesnt save anywhere near what the white community does.

    The excuse CNN came up with was that the system is racist and white children are allowed to learn the basics of financing while blacks are not. Mmmm, marrmarrmarr excuses blame someone else marmarmarawr. Try saving not spending your money on Jordans, $300 pair of FUBU pants and new Iphones.

    Your paraphrasing is completely incorrect. CNN gave a much more complex reason for this. You should add a disclaimer.

    "Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

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  • In reply to Midas Mulligan Magoo
    cphbravo96's picture

    "The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant, it's just that they know so much that isn't so."
    - Ronald Reagan

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  • vadremc's picture

    "Cut the burger into thirds, place it on the fries, roll one up homey..." - Epic Meal Time

  • In reply to vadremc
    econ's picture