Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments” As Business/Legal Advice

by V. Van Johnson III on October 26, 2011

At the outset, let me say that I do not condone illegal drug dealing. In fact, I find the practice reprehensible. My disdain for “hustling” notwithstanding, I am also a big fan of hip hop. And anyone who loves hip hop has some love for The Notorious B.I.G.

The other day, while driving and enjoying “Life After Death,” Biggie’s last studio album, I had an epiphany (or a really stupid idea, depending on your perspective). I decided that a 973-word critical analysis of Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments” as legal/business advice could be interesting.

Please feel free to let me know what you think unless you don’t like it. In that case, come back in a few weeks for my critical analysis of Biggie’s “Who Shot Ya” as a claim of self-defense.

Biggie’s “Ten Crack Commandments”: A “Critical Analysis” As Business/Legal Advice

1. Never let no one know how much dough you hold. While there aren’t any legal implications to letting others know how much dough you hold, it’s a good idea to keep your asset information confidential. If a competitor knows that you’re in a strong cash position and have market share, they may seriously consider a takeover. Depending on your business and the entity you’ve chosen, the takeover could be friendly, hostile, or even a reverse takeover. I’ll leave you to your research on the difference among the three.

2. Never let ‘em know your next move. It’s always a good idea to keep the competition in the dark about your future plans. Probably one of the best examples of consistently keeping everybody outside of their company deaf, dumb and blind is Apple, Inc. How do you manufacture a billion phones and keep people guessing about what’s new until it’s released?

3. Never trust no-bo-dy. Except your lawyer. If you can’t trust your lawyer, get a new one.

4. Never get high, on your own supply. I’m torn on this one. No, I’m not suggesting that getting high on your own supply is a good idea. To the contrary, it would clearly cut into profits and drugs are bad for you. No matter what you’re selling, dipping into inventory isn’t a good idea. However, in many jurisdictions, selling or distributing illegal substances carries stiffer penalties than using said substances. Therefore, there is at least some support for the proposition that getting high on your own supply could provide a defense to more serious charges. In the end, I’m going to defer to Big Poppa on this one. Think Pooky in “New Jack City” and I’m confident that you’ll know what to do. “I tried to kick… but that sh*t just be callin’ me man, it be callin’ me, man . . . I just got to go to it!”

5. Never sell no crack where you rest at. This is particularly true if you happen to live in a school, park, or church zone. In many jurisdictions this can lead to more severe sentencing. However, if you’re in a legitimate business, and I hope you are, many people tend to feel more comfortable doing business with someone local. Therefore, selling widgets where you rest at may be better for your business. This is a business decision best left to your best business judgment. (That’s lawyer-speak for “I have no idea and I’d prefer that you don’t blame me if things go wrong”).

6. That god da*n credit, dead it. I can’t add anything to this one. This is why your lawyer will most likely ask for a retainer BEFORE they start working on most matters.

7. This rule is so underrated–keep your family and business completely separated. Again, what can I add to this?

8. Never keep no weight on you. At first blush this could appear to be specific to drug dealing. But, let’s unwrap this one before we move on. If we replace “no” with
“unnecessary” and consider the implications of good supply chain management, the advice becomes applicable to many businesses. Keeping the minimum amount of inventory on hand to meet your customers’ needs is good for cash flow. Again, I’ll leave you to your own research and business judgment on this one. If your business is big enough, you may want to check out LLamasoft’s Supply Chain Guru®. I hear all the cool kids are using it.

9. If you ain’t gettin’ bags stay [away] from police. At times, “the vernacular” is simply impossible. Even after consulting, I’m not sure what “gettin’ bags” really means. I’m going to assume it has something to do with money or inventory, but I’m not positive.

It doesn’t really matter what business you’re in—if the authorities come knocking, most people will fold like a cheap church suit. Assume that anyone you’re dealing with will sell you out if the need arises. If you’re the one folding and you’re going to talk to the police or any government official in the context of an investigation, speak to your lawyer first. If they hit you with that “only guilty people need lawyers” stuff tell them I said only fools think that only guilty people go to jail.

10. A strong word called consignment . . . [forget it]. Consignment is the placing of any goods or materials in the possession of another, but retaining title (ownership) until the goods or materials are sold. Biggie’s objection to this business model wasn’t the model itself, but rather the consequences and repercussions of not getting the products sold. I’ll leave you to your best business judgment to determine if this model will work for your business. Suffice it to say, you should consider your potential consignor’s likely reaction if you’re not able to sell the goods.

Do let me know what you think. I did mention that I do not in any way condone drug dealing, right?

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