Hip-hop and cryptocurrency; the problem with the minimum wage


In this edition of Mic Dispatch we explore how hip-hop artists are jumping into the new world of cryptocurrencies. Nas was an investor to Coinbase, the successful cryptocurrency trading platform, at the recent announcement by Akon that is creating a "cryptographic city" in Senegal, many in hip-hop are recognizing the potential for digital currencies to change society and the music industry.

Then, we spend time with Bridget Hughes, a 27-year-old girl who lost her job at McDonald's, where she earned $ 9.50 an hour. Hughes says that his responsibilities as a mother make it difficult for her to find and keep a job, especially one that pays her near the minimum wage. While searching for a job, Hughes protested with the national campaign of the poor to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour.

Orrin Campbell, rapper: I think now Silicon Valley realizes that hip-hip right now is at the center of culture and media, and so these companies reach cool rappers to be the face of their crypto-currency, and I think it's nice that these artists have these opportunities, but sometimes the project itself is not that sound.

Natasha Del Toro, more, Mic Dispatch : With an estimated value of $ 500 billion , the cryptocurrency could be the money of the future – and the rappers, from 50 Cent to Nas to Kanye West, are trying to cash out. But what is this relatively new form of digital money that offers so much potential to rap artists? The correspondent Chantel Simpson talks with some rappers to find out how they think the music industry could change.

Campbell: I think it is stupid that, like, there is this renaissance as the hip-hop artists supported or who begin their cryptocurrencies and realize that they crypt the Wild West digital. I hope there is a new wave of hip-hop artists who use cryptocurrencies to fund their careers and to change the world or the music industry somehow.

Chantel Simpson, correspondent (voiceover): [19659006] Cryptocurrencies are having a moment in hip-hop. These virtual coins, like bitcoin or ether, allow users to easily make transactions without the supervision of a bank or financial institution. Nas was an early investor in Coinbase, the successful cryptocurrency trading platform, to Nipsey Hussle who praises cryptocurrencies like the future, as in this video …

[Nipsey Hussle, rapper, in clip: We came to Amsterdam because there’s a city out here where the whole city is cryptocurrency friendly and this is an example of what’s going to happen in the rest of the world.] [19659005] Simpson (voiceover): Many in hip-hop are recognizing the potential of digital currencies for society and the music industry.

Shiv Madan, CEO and co-founder of Blockparty: [19659006] The hip-hop artists who practice cryptocurrency are – they seem natural enough because they are far-sighted, you know, I'm always looking for ways to interact with their fans and really do something different and unique. [19659004] I think they can be the real drivers of social change and mass adoption in cryptocurrency.

Simpson (voiceover): In addition to investing in cryptocurrencies, some rappers have created their own coins, allowing their fan base to invest in their work while ignoring even the traditional models of distribution and financing, like labels. Other artists, like Orrin, are using cryptos to finance a full-time music life.

Campbell: My musical style is like a progressive blend of, like, hip-hop and R & B. It's a bit dark. It is an experimental soundscapes on futuristic hip-hop beats.

Simpson (voiceover): Last fall, Orrin survived the money earned from day-trading cryptocurrencies.

Campbell: I stayed tuned and invested every day and, as, I transferred money from this platform to this platform, I bought this coin at this price, I sold it at a higher price. [19659004] Simpson: And do you think that the volatility of cryptocurrencies is what makes it more profitable?

Campbell: Surely, yes. There are days when, I woke up and bitcoin is at $ 6,000 and then within 1 is at $ 8,500. If you put $ 200 in, you could earn $ 150 in that price jump from $ 6,000 to $ 8,000.

Simpson (voiceover): Orrin states that he does enough for studio time, photo shoots, music videos and, of course, rent in New York. For an artist not signed like him, cryptocurrencies can potentially provide a direct line for fans to support it.

Campbell: If you wanted to raise funds on a platform like Indiegogo, they could take 5% of the many contributions you can make. But with cryptos, like, you could create a portal where people contribute with cryptocurrencies and, for example, the cost could be between one tenth and one dollar. There are fewer people taking a portion of your cake and, like, it's almost instantaneous.

Simpson: And for someone who has signed with a bigger label, it can be a lot harder for them to make the money they want.

Campbell: Surely, because the label is behind their backs, you know, managing their business, their money, their financial data, and as well, of course, they want to be compensated for the work they are doing for the artist, so he is another person in his pocket, in practice.

Simpson (voiceover): Barsun Jones also believes that cryptocurrencies can provide independent artists with much-needed benefits. Jones is the son of the late rapper Ol & # 39; Dirty Bastard, a member of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan group. At the beginning of this year, he announced that he is launching Dirty Coin, which will in part provide access to goods related to his father's inheritance.

But Barsun has greater aspirations for money.

Barsun Jones, founder of Dirty Coin: I'm going to give you the chance to learn how to run your business. This should be done even before you signed with a label, but you do not have time to do it when you try to be simply fed. Only the labels are almost scary because they will continue to take and will not tell you that they are taking.

Simpson: What happened to your father and the labels?

Jones: What happened to any artist and label. It did not work well, because the octopus was alone, you know, to grab all that the artist had at the time.

Simpson: And do you want Dirty Coin to help artists earn more?

Jones: Yes, certainly. This is the goal.

Simpson (voiceover): It is not clear how exactly Dirty Coin can help emerging artists. Barsun did not go into details, and there was no new information on when the currency would rise. But it is this kind of vagueness that makes many people skeptical of scrambled businesses or coins backed by hip-hop artists.

Aaron Brown, author and finance writer: I think it's a big red flag when a celebrity arrives and says, "Buy this thing from me" and it does not have a clear value for you. Not clear, do you join a fan club where you will have special access to tickets and backstage passes and things and will the guy come to your house and drink a drink? When people put it together and you're not sure what you're getting, you do not get anything.

Campbell: I think now Silicon Valley understands that hop right now is at the center of culture and media, and so these companies reach rappers cool to be the face of their crypto- currency. And I think it's nice that these artists get such opportunities, but sometimes the project itself is not so loud.

Simpson: How to detect a scam? [19659004] Campbell: You should read their white paper. It's like a Google document from one to maybe even like pages of information about what they want to do with the project, how they will really have this coin or this idea on the market and take it into people's hands. You should look at their Twitter, their Instagram and, above all, their Reddit. So if you see a lot of people and a lot of activity on Reddit, you know that, OK, this team is active, they are aware, they are engaging with their community.

Madan: There are many talented artists who are coming. They are not signed and, if they have enough fans, they can collect 50,000. It does not have to be in a $ 10 million ICO. It can be a small amount of money and create your own currency and over time, which increases in value because more people like them. You are trying to create an economy around you. It's a good time for hip-hop musicians to do it.

Brown: The cryptocurrencies do to exchange what the Internet does for information, but 5 to 10 years are missing from an adoption mass for when it will affect the lives of many people.

I think it will be very big.

I worry a lot about the people who invest in us today.

Campbell: The scrambled allowed me to be financially independent and helped me finance this trip. So I'm excited for the future, both for my music career and for the encrypted and the intersection between the two.

Del Toro: So you think that the cryptocurrency has the potential to revolutionize the American music industry and culture? Let us know what you think in the comments.

How can you make wages with a minimum salary of $ 7.25 the hour? Some advocates of workers' rights say it is not possible. They calculated that you need $ 15 an hour to cover your basic needs. Yet less than half of all US workers are doing what is considered a living wage – and women and black people are those who earn disproportionately less. Our correspondent Aaron Morrison talks to a minimum wage worker who is struggling to raise wages in Missouri.

Bridget Hughes, recently unemployed, former employee of McDonald & # 39; s: You are extremely good, Dezi and I appreciate it. Come here, Ray. I left you with dad so I can take your brother to school.

At the end of the day, when you work in the richest country in the world, you deserve to go home and pay your bills. You deserve to go home and feed your children.

Aaron Morrison, correspondent (voiceover): While unemployment is at a minimum of 18 years, the poverty rate is about 12.7%. There are about 40.6 million people.

Hughes: My childhood was very similar to my adult life: to go without food, without electricity. This is what I'm trying to break is generational poverty.

Morrison (voiceover): In the spring, twenty-seven-year-old Bridget Hughes lost her job at McDonald's, where she was earning $ 9.50 an hour. Hughes says that his responsibilities as a mother make it difficult to find and keep a job, especially one that pays it near the minimum wage.

Hughes: Says: "What are you looking for?" So I practically put "cashier". These are the jobs that are easier for me to get now. For example, I have a grocery store down the street, I have restaurants down the street. I mean, this is a growing industry, so …

Honestly I had no trouble getting the interview. All the more reason I have problems in securing the job because I am honest with my employer, I let them know that I have children, I have children who have medical needs. So there are times when I can get a call and I will have to check out and look after my children or I may have to call because they are sick and I have no children. But then the employer worries about my reliability because of the children, which, for me, is discrimination because I'm a mother.

My mother was a low-wage worker too. So it was not my choice to leave school. It was not my choice to be forced to work at 16 instead of receiving an education. But even apart from that, I came back and received an education. I even have a medical degree in medical care. But I worked in those fields, still living in poverty, still qualified for food stamps.

Hughes (to his sons): Wear your shirt. Come on, we can not leave the ship today. You have to get up and go to school. Come on. Please stop fighting me. Wear the shirt.

Hughes (to Morrison): This is the problem we have because it's so hot here, so it does not sleep very well.

Hughes (to his sons): Next. Are you taking the shortcut?

Hughes: I have a bunch of legal fees, a car that needs to be repaired, an air conditioner that needs to be replaced and that has recently lost its job. So, the need for another is very terrible.

Hughes (to his son): Do you hear me, Tray? Your education is this successful tool for your future. So if you do not get an education, what do you think will happen? You will not be able to make a career. You'll have to do a low-wage job. And if you do not change things and change policies before you're my age, then we'll really be, we'll all go wrong. So do not you think it's much better to have your education? Yup?

Morrison (voiceover): Hughes says he struggles to take the time to take care of his children, take them to school and go to work. You can not afford the nursery.

Hughes: I do not want them to face the same problems I face. When I was in high school, I had to leave, find a job, help my parents, pay bills, help take care of my brothers and sisters. I do not want my children to go through the same thing.

It made me much more passionate to fight for a living wage, because I know that with these things I would not be faced with half the problems. It would solve so much in my life.

Morrison (voiceover): While searching for a job, Hughes also protested with the national campaign for the poor to raise the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour and allow to workers to unionize. Previous efforts to overcome a higher federal minimum wage have failed. And funding for security networks set up to help mothers and working families are frayed in recent years.

The Poor People campaign hopes to make this a medium term electoral problem.

Hughes: We live in the richest country in the world, yet we do not take care of our people. We are passing laws that are against our people, we are passing laws that hurt your everyday workers.

Doug Alpert, state coordinator, Poor People & # 39; s Campaign: Poor People & # 39; s Campaign is a rejuvenation of the campaign of the original poor people that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr 50 years ago, fighting racism, economic disparity and injustice and militarism.

[Hughes, at protest, in clip: When black lives are under attack, what do we do?]

[Protesters, in clip: Stand up, fight back!]

[Hughes, at rally, in clip: When immigrants are under attack, what do we do?]

Alpert: This piece of non-violent resistance is really the beginning. It is the catalyst for what will come. So our anticipation is among the next steps will include voter registration, voter mobilization.

It is about giving a voice to the poor. The poor workers we work with are people of dignity, people of courage.

These people work two or three jobs and still can not make ends meet. This is a pity. And we want to bring their stories back into the political narrative and report their problems on the front burner they belong to

[Protesters, in clip: Fifteen and a union! Fifteen and a union! Fifteen and a union!]

Morrison: You are confident that will be successful?

Hughes: Oh, I'm not confident. I know he will succeed. I know we will win. Because we have our strength in numbers. There are too many of us who live in poverty and too many of us who are tired and tired of having to face all this to fail.

Del Toro: So you think the federal minimum wages should be increased to $ 15 an hour? Why or why not? Leave us your thoughts on the show page and see you next week.

Watch episode 13 of Mic Dispatch – on Facebook Watch only.

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