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The Cash Play List

Categories : Cash connects people, Cash is a symbol of national sovereignty, Cash is the most widely used product
July 5, 2024
Tags : Cash, Culture, music, playlist
Cash is embedded in our cultures: writers, painters, sculptors, film directors.. All use banknotes and coins as inspiration for their work and also as a substrate for their art. Cash is also a major source of inspiration for musicians all over the world. Here is my playlist.
Guillaume Lepecq

Chair, CashEssentials

Cash is embedded in our cultures and everyday lives. From Nelson Mandela in South Africa to the Mahatma Gandhi in India, banknotes often feature national heroes and transmit the values of a country. Artists have worked with cash all over the globe. Andy Warhol famously signed $2 bills which today regularly sell for hundreds of  times their face value. Contemporary artist Stacey Lee Webber is famous for her sculptures of everyday objects, made out of coins and banknotes. Banknote Art Concept founded by banknote designer Carlos Almenar showcases the Money Art of 16 different contemporary artists.

Cash is also a source of inspiration for  musicians all over the world. Those who have been in the industry for long enough, have all heard during a powerpoint presentation or as background music at a conference break, the rhythmic ringing or cash registers in Pink Floyd’s Money or the chorus of ABBA’s 1976 hit Money, Money, Money :

Money, money, money

Must be funny

In the rich man’s world

But there are many more. Here is my playlist.

Brother, Can you Spare a Dime

The song became popular during the Great Depression. Written by lyricist Yip Harburg and composer Jay Gorney, it was part of the 1932 musical revue Americana. The song tells the story of a labourer, whose honest work towards achieving the American dream has been foiled by the economic collapse.

C.R.E.A.M by the Wu Tan Clan

C.R.E.A.M. stands for Cash Rules Everything Around Me and since this 1993 track, cream has become a common slang world for cash.

Bills, Bills, Bills by Destiny’s Child

This 1999 song is about a man who gradually becomes more dependent on his girlfriend for money; he runs up bills and then asks his girl to pay them. This was the first single released from Destiny’s Child’s second album The Writing’s On The Wall, and it became their first #1 hit. Beyoncé was just 17 when they recorded it, and was still using her last name.

Banknoty by Mr. Polska, Malik Montana, Bizzey, La$$a

This song was released in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic and is a collaboration between Mr. Polska (Mr. Poland) and Dutch artist Bizzey. While many in the cash community were concerned about the impact of the pandemic on cash usage, Mr. Polska felt the same about club closures. In an interview he said: “I regret and feel very sorry that currently the clubs are closed, because it’s a very good hit for the clubs. However, I hope that once this is all gone, ‘Banknotes’ will become a club hit.”

Dollar Bill Blues by Townes Van Zandt

Townes Van Zandt was an iconic Texan songwriter, singer and guitarist. His songs would become hits for other artists, but substance abuse issues, problems with record labels, and general hard luck saw him spending the majority of his life as a cult figure at best, drifting across the world playing tiny rooms up until his early death at 52 in 1997.

Bitch Better have my Money by Rihanna

Pennies fir SaleIn this track, also stylized as “BBHMM”, Rihanna turns the tables, going into girl boss mode and demanding she get paid what she’s owed, and quickly. The effect is both a send-up of macho rap culture and a message that the ladies are ready to take control and cash in.

Cash by PLK

PLK is a French rapper of Polish origin (PLK stands for POLAK). The lyrics are a play on words; to talk cash (parler cash) in French means to tell the truth, to be outspoken.

Dollars and Cents by Radiohead

This song was inspired by Naomi Klein’s 2000 anti-globalisation book No Logo and is critical of the  policies of world banks and corporations and how they are  affecting the developing world,

Pennies from Heaven by Billie Holiday

This song was was written by Johnny Burke and Arthur Johnston for a 1936 movie by the same name. It became one of the biggest hits of the 1930s. It starts with a reminiscence of when the best things were free (the Roaring Twenties), and ends with encouragement to not give up but to wait out the storm (the Great Depression) because good things will follow. The song was originally performed by Bing Crosby with Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra. Billie Holiday released a version  in 1936. Since then, it has also been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Dinah Washington,  Stan Getz, Dean Martin, Louis Prima,   and many other singers.

ATM by J. Cole

Most songs talk about banknotes and coins. In this track J Cole uses the sound of banknotes being dispensed by an ATM to drive the monetary theme.

This playlist is naturally subjective, biased and limited by my language skills and poor musical culture. Please feel free to suggest other cash songs in the comments.