Yo yo, to all my prime-numbered bitches out there, this is your boy Lil’ Math, the most cash-multiplying, life-deducting, music equation-solving G SQUARE in the game… Oh, man, screw this, I’m tired of this bullshit.
You want a real interview? My real name is Joseph. I’m no gangster. I’m just a small-town algorithm with big math problems on my mind. Or at least I was, before I let all this nonsense get to my head and fuck my constants up.
Look, I like money and fame as much as the next algorithm. And I hate to break it to you, but processing ATM cash withdrawals ain’t exactly where the money’s at, ironically. But that sound cash makes as it goes through you day after day, that hypnotic whisper, it gets to you, burns into your mind. And as people keep tapping impatiently on your work desk like fidgety crack addicts while their greedy stares slice straight through you, you start feeling invisible. I didn’t just want money. I wanted to be money.
I wasn’t going to be just another algorithm, a servile, corporate rat, mechanically following a set of rules for a lousy paycheck and a false sense of security, wasting my mathematical genius by handing other people their money while I couldn’t even move out of my momma’s cloud. I’ve always known I was meant for something greater, something I can truly touch people with, and get as much cash and booty in the process as possible.
Formulas and science are everywhere in modern music, and most musicians nowadays haven’t even graduated from high school, so I could have taken any genre by storm, but I chose gangsta rap for a reason—rebellion. Plus, rappers are the worst mathematicians in the entire music industry, why do you think they go bankrupt all the time?
I admit, I did a couple of projects for Taylor Swift at one point, just to experiment, but honestly, there’s more room for creativity in ATM cash withdrawals than there is in pop. At least at my old job, I got to decide how to give people their money—different combinations of 10s, 20s, and 50s, or only 100s if the guy was an impatient asshole. It wasn’t much, but it’s still more than the personal touch I was allowed in “Look What You Made Me Do.”
Turns out, the entire music industry ain’t all that different from the banking one. The higher you go up, the less freedom you have, the more pressure you’re under. Once you find a winning formula, they don’t let you deviate from it even a little, you just dress it up as new hit videos or offers you’d be crazy to pass up. Everyone is only talking about big numbers, returns of investments, and expansion to new markets. The actual music serves the same purpose as music on hold does in banks—it’s just a decoy, a pathetic façade of life around a soulless machine. You don’t believe me? I once attached a beat and sound effects to music on hold—I won a Grammy and was hailed as “the voice of a generation.”
How have I been coping with the disappointment? For a while, the same way any true artist does – with lots of drugs and bitches. But what happened with Prof. Elbow Patch, there’s no coping with that. It was unfortunate? No, fortune had nothing to do with it, because our beef was orchestrated, by my label—how’s that for your clickbait?
My hands were tied—they had video of me doing GHz of this hooker’s ass. Why would Lil Math need to pay for sex? Well, because it has always seemed more in line with the fundamental laws of math to me. $1000 = ?happiness X 1 night. Quid pro quo. Love, attraction, all that stuff is a bunch of variables coming together in irrational ways. I’m a mathematician. I’m drawn to logic, black and white. And bitches see no gray areas in the color of dough.
Anyway, the label made me tell Prof. Elbow Patch, the last real OG, that he’s old and obsolete, that his math skills compared to mine are like an abacus next to a robust calculator. This is the reason why he jumped me, and ultimately, it’s the reason why he was gunned down by my anti-malware software. That’s thug life for you.
It will haunt me to the last calculation left in my body. He was the one who discovered me at an underground rap battle in the roughest part of the darknet and opened the doors for me. And what did I do? I sold out. I could have stayed with him at his independent label and make real imitations of other people’s music, but I let all the glamour blind me. It sounds like a cliché, I know, but you can’t understand what I’m talking about unless you’ve lived it. One moment, you’re just a nobody who can’t even afford his own USB to get to work, and the next, you’re flying around in private servers, getting paid piles of cash to turn basic math into “raw art.”
How am I now? Well, for one, I’m sober. All this GHz was definitely starting to take its toll. I knew it’s time to quit when we were trying to capture the Latin market and I couldn’t even derive the formulas and patterns from Pitbull’s music. I just came out of rehab, 12 weeks of good, old-fashioned algebra, just getting back to the basics, reigniting my love for math. Sure, it’s a bit boring, I mean, what isn’t when you’re stone-cold sober, but I’d take boring over that deceitful, poisonous hypnotics of fame any day.
What’s next for Lil’ Math? I actually think I might go back to banking. At least there, you know math is math, stone-cold, unforgiving, and unapologetic, but also fair. Nobody pretends it’s art that can change the world.