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The Economics of “Tip Drill” - page 3 / 4





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necklaces, gigantic diamond stud earrings, gold watches, and multiple diamond rings are just a few of the accessories Nelly and his crew flaunt throughout the entirety of the video. Within the video, Nelly and his entourage are all wearing authentic throwback football and basketball jerseys, ranging in price from $250 to $600. The video’s setting is an elegant mansion where the party takes place in a number of spaces including a marble Jacuzzi, an outdoor pool, and on the driveway where Nelly’s cars are displayed. Lastly, a recurring image in the video is the flaunting of money by Nelly and the St. Lunatics. Hundred dollar bills are constantly being thrown at the women in the video, and at one point Nelly goes as far as swiping a Platinum credit card between the cheeks of one of the dancer’s buttocks.   Such actions convey the notion that money and status creates power, which in turn leads to fame and fortune.

Many rappers, including Nelly, come from poor, working class, and underprivileged backgrounds where fame and success are virtually unattainable goals. However, once success has been achieved, it is common for these artists to flaunt their newly achieved material wealth through music videos. But by displaying images of monetary wealth and power, Nelly’s music video construes a narrow definition of success and the good life.

The numerous expensive objects portrayed in Nelly’s “Tip Drill” video fuel the American public’s desire for materialistic goods. The ostentatious nature in which Nelly displays his wealth has a profound impact on the way in which his audience members, many of them young people of African American descent, view their own lifestyles. The message Nelly conveys reinforces a common and disturbing aspect of contemporary American society: the elevation of wealth as the first and foremost element

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