When Houston rapper Slim Thug recorded his anthem “I Run,” the lyric “Hard times got the whole United States stressin’/I’m writin’ a book, ‘How to Survive in a Recession” was just a line in a song. He wasn’t really working on a manuscript.
But pretty soon people began asking him when the book coming out. Then, as chance would have it, Slim ran into publisher Sequoia Di Angelo in Houston. (Literally. The two were jogging around Memorial Park.) The book Slim never planned to write, “How to Survive in a Recession,” came out July 21 as a 47-page e-book, garnering praise from the hip-hop community and bloggers alike, according to the MTV blog Rap Fix.

“How to Survive the Recession” is, as it sounds, a financial manifesto, and it begins with a list of “twenty-five financial rules to live by.” Among them: “Never have a Bentley with a Benz salary;” “never buy a house with unnecessary space;” and “every time you get a stack, put it up and live off the extra change.”

At a time when most rap and hip-hop lyrics glorify extravagance and ostenatious displays of wealth, Slim warns against buying expensive jewelry and taking lavish vacations. He also explains the importance of understanding the tax system–“Say you got a million dollar check; dudes think they actually got a million dollars. You got to pay damn near half of it to taxes. Know your taxes and math.” The basic theme of his book is that even successful people should live practically and within their means. As the rapper writes, “I always say if you can’t buy it THREE times over, you can’t afford it.”

Slim told the deejay’s on 97.9 Mad Hatta Morning Show that the inspiration for the book came from watching many young rappers lose big money due to poor financial management skills. “I am tired of seeing us losing in everything, we need to strive to get on top,” he said. “Most black people are born into nothing, then when we make it, we blow it and lose it.”

It’s a positive message to send to up-and-coming artists, and the good intentions have been well-recevied by the media. The Houston Press‘s Shea Serrano writes that while Slim writing a book “sounds as inviting as ‘Slim Thug built a suspension bridge’ or ‘Slim Thug will be performing your gallbladder surgery,'” the book is “good (fun good, not War And Peace good). And it is entertaining. …More importantly though, it is insightful.”

Khou.com writer Nakia Cooper agreed: “Giving much-needed advice like famed financial adviser Suze Orman, he decided to break it down in a language the hip-hop generation can speak. His book is humorous with great anecdotes, but has a solid, serious message for the younger generation.”