photo by seatgeek

Mr. Flame (R) and Steve Aoki. photo: seatgeek

Waka Flocka Flame, in the seminal track “Rage the Night Away” with Steve Aoki at the helm, presents two seemingly contradictory ideas in an exhortative manner to his audience. In the very first line of the song, he proclaims, “We don’t give a damn about money/we alive right now/all we do is party/and get high right now,” while mere moments later, and practically in the same breath, he implores the listener to “make yo money stack” [sic]. While Waka could simply be illustrating his own inner thought process (perhaps a daily reminder to continue making his own “money stack”), his tone suggests, not a reflective inner monologue, but an urgent message. So I assume he is speaking to me, recommending that I earnestly dedicate myself to the task of making my, as it were, “money stack.”

It is also unclear whether he means that a person who is attempting to “make their money stack” should be more concerned with constructing a single stack of money, a “money stack,” which I call the Noun-Level Stack (NLS), or with obtaining an amount of money so significant that it “stacks,” referred to as Verb-Level Stacking (VLS).

noun-level stack

Noun-Level Stack

Verb-Level Stacking is not a “stack of money” being constructed; rather, it is “money that stacks.” To elaborate, achieving the VLS depends upon accruing an amount of money that is so great, the money is capable of being formed, and perhaps even forms itself, into haphazard “stacks” of perhaps indeterminate but necessarily substantial quantities, and earning money to this extent is to be considered “making” (“making” in the sense of “forcing”) your money “[to] stack” insofar as you are forcing your money to be capable of being stacked by having accumulated so much of it.

Now that the distinction is perfectly lucid, it may prove worthwhile to add the following as an afterthought: I say “necessarily substantial” due to the fact that a very small amount of banknotes, say anything less than 20 count, would hardly constitute a “stack” but rather a small pile, at best.

verb-level stacking

Potential Verb-Level Stacking

 

Continuing on, in light of the fact that this apparent missive follows his proclamation that “we” don’t “give a damn” about money, are we to conclude merely that Flockaveli is indeed giving frivolous, contradictory advice? Is he that mercurial, airy, irresponsible?

Or is he attempting to intimate to the listener that, in order to “party” to such an extent that one could be said to do nothing but party, it is necessary to accrue a “money stack,” such that the expenditures associated with the traditional partying lifestyle (alcohol, food, nice clothing, cover charges, et cetera) are provided for, not simply sufficiently but many times over? Based on the rest of the lyrics, we can dispense with the naive and frankly apologistic idea that Mr. Flame is referring to any other manner of partying lifestyle than this.

This raises the question, assuming Waka does want the listener to follow in his footsteps and do nothing but party, how does he reconcile the need to earn the money (whether that money is to be accrued into one “stack” or, due to its bulk, to be in the process of “stacking”) with the desire to do nothing but party? Mustn’t a person do things other than partying in order to earn or obtain his or her prerequisite stack or stacks?

I’m going to stand tippy-toes on a stack of my own here and assume that that idea is so self-evidently clumsy and ignorant of the vicissitudes of modern life that it is virtually impossible Flockaveli—a person who comes from that very same modern life—could have meant it that way.

Rather, we can gather not only from the lyrics but from the feel of the song—high energy, blistering harmonic heat, pounding, surrounding bass, and anthemic, inarguable vocal fluorishes, certainly not something to be sustained indefinitely throughout every second of one’s waking life—that this song, itself, represents the attitude that one adopts when one is truly living, and that things done independent of this attitude do not constitute “living” in the same meaningful sense.

Therefore, we can derive that, of course it is possible to “do” nothing but party while also engaging in activities (i.e. jobs/employment/income) that make partying possible through the production of, first, a “money stack,” and then, one hopes, adequate levels of additional income such that one’s “stack” transcends the Noun-Level Stack and achieves Verb-Level Stacking, preferably to stay.

In this scenario, theoretically time spent not living would decrease commensurate to the degree to which one’s “money stack” is being made in the case of NLS, or the degree to which one’s money is “stacking” in the case of the VLS. This is the ratio of “living” to “non-living” which Mr. Flame would have his listeners improve upon, and which he has exemplarily perfected.