Photo: Aaron J. Thornton, Getty
  /  04.25.2022

As the world continues to evolve, the music industry is following right behind. Tysen Jay Bolding, known professionally as Money Man, has been involved in the music industry since signing with Cash Money in 2017. After releasing three solid mixtapes with the label in less than six months, the Atlanta rapper paid $250,000 to walk away from his contract in hopes of receiving 100% profit from his music. While his label did not agree with his decision, Money Man’s next move was his best to come.

After returning to his label Black Circle Family, Money Man decided to partner with distributor EMPIRE for his new music. This opportunity worked in his favor, especially since he’d climbed the Billboard Charts four times since May of 2019. His hit single “24” featuring QC megastar Lil Baby later brought in over 61 million views on Youtube.

Besides his music career reaching monumental numbers, Money Man began to get involved in cryptocurrency before the world caught up. In November of 2020, he became the first artist to receive a seven-figure advance for his next project in cryptocurrency, specifically bitcoin, from EMPIRE and its CEO Ghazi. From NFTs to speaking at crypto conferences around the United States, Money Man is no longer only known as a rapper, but can now be considered a crypto expert.

In honor of Financial Literacy Month, we decided to take some time to learn more about cryptocurrency and why it’s so important to get involved. Check out our full interview below. 

In 2013, what was the driving factor for you to finally get invested in cryptocurrency? 

The driving factor, I really can’t say because 2013 cryptocurrency was more on the dark side. It wasn’t really for everybody like it is now.

Has your career as an artist prepared you in any way for your crypto journey? 

No, the streets prepared me for that — and the internet. Cryptocurrency was more for criminals and swipers. The average person didn’t know anything about crypto. It was only people who were trying to be under the radar. Crypto started as an infamous form of payment where the government couldn’t track you. So, it was on the internet and it was money that couldn’t be tracked or centralized by the government.

Help me with the lingo — crypto, coins, tokens, ICOs. What is the difference between all of them? 

Crypto is short for encrypted. The crypto community started as a whole to encrypt their money if you get what I’m saying. If you encrypt a site, the site is encrypted where only people with a certain knowledge of it can read it. But now, it spreads out to be the currency for everybody. Crypto and tokens and things of that nature can sometimes be the same. You can have community tokens where somebody made a token or meme coins, things of that nature. So everything is kind of the same but it’s different.

A lot of people struggle with knowing how much to invest. How do you decide how much to put into cryptocurrency on a limited budget? 

I suggest DCA. DCA is a dollar-cost average, which means you don’t put all your money in at once. Dollar-cost average is if you get a paycheck for $500 a week, then you would be putting in $25, $30. Like I said, never invest what you can’t afford to lose because nothing in life is guaranteed. Also, you want to time the market. Right now we can be in a bear market. Every 4 years there’s a bear market rather than what we call halving. During the halving, they cut a lot of the coins in half which makes the price of the coins rise up and go higher. This means more profit for you. But it’s a patience game. Once you invest, you have to wait a while unless you know how to really time the market. When you know it’s at a low and you know a bull market is coming.The bull market is opposite of the bear market, which means everything is going crazy and all the money is running up.

Now that you’re better informed on financial literacy, what are some things in your career that you wish you knew about earlier on? 

I wish I would have put way more money into crypto because crypto is just at historic amounts. Coins that were $.01 went up to $5. So that’s a thousand x or more. So I wish I would have dumped damn near all my money into crypto and then snatched my money out in terms of profit. But, I made enough so I can’t complain.

But as far as rap, my rap career went slowly. Most people’s careers rise to the top real fast, and then you fall harder because you rise so fast, that you never had the chance to stay grounded. My career is still going up, I never had a peak yet. So as far as money, I always knew how to handle money. I knew how to handle money when I was 13 years old. It’s nothing I look back on with handling money. I don’t splurge or have vices or things of that nature.

During the pandemic, you created a telegram chat called “Big Crypto Money” with over 56,000 members. Why did you create this group? What do you hope this chat develops into one day? 

I created the group to inform people about the transition of what I feel money is going through. Then you know, versus them on the different types of cryptos. A lot of people just know dogecoin and bitcoin — so I kind of created the chat just to let them know there are thousands of other coins you can make money on. Also, I’m trying to control the market. 

I want to be able to have the type of influence where I can tell 60,000 people to invest in this coin, and we all make money together — as opposed to people just going into something blind. Just like the way they did AMC during the pandemic, which had about 40 to 50,000 people get together and all invest their money together and move the price. Then they were able to snatch their money out and become millionaires together. I want to be able to have the same influence and power.

As the first artist ever in history to receive Bitcoin payment for their advance, was it difficult to convince EMPIRE to pay you in cryptocurrency? What are the pros and cons of the payment method? 

 No. It was difficult for EMPIRE to convince me because I already had a lot of bitcoin, and Bitcoin was at its highest point. Bitcoin was at $69K, which is an all-time high. We all know you don’t take money at an all-time high. But what I did was I bent and I took it anyway because money couldn’t pay for that type of promotion. That type of promotion put me in all types of financial doors. It didn’t just make me look like a dumb rapper. I knew not to take it at an all-time high, but it just so happened I had to take it at an all-time high because of the timing of my album. I actually lost on that deal, but you can say I won because of the promotion.

What are some financial tips you would suggest for new artists as their career begins to pick up? 

You want to find ways to make your own income because if someone else is putting up most of the income or majority of the income for you, then they control your whole career. That’s the worst thing that can happen for an artist or a creator. Creators like to do stuff on their own time and control their own careers. But if you have someone putting up all the money for you, then you’re going to have a horrible time because they’re going to control everything because they put up all the money.

I talk to young people like 14, 15. You need to be ready to establish how you’re going to make money or create an income when you’re really young. Not when you turn 21 or 18 when you think life gets serious. You need to start around 14 or 15 figuring out what you’re going to do. You’re really supposed to start younger than that, but I don’t want to be hard on anybody. In American society, we start late. We want to figure things out once we turn 18,19, 20 … all the way up to 25. You’re supposed to have your career path in mind around 12, 13 and 14. 

NBA players start playing basketball at 7 years old. It’s very seldom that you get an NBA player who starts playing at 17. You do have exceptions to the rules, but most NBA players are playing from 11 years old, 10 years old and 9 years old. Guess what? They’re multimillionaires by the time they’re 22, 23. So the earlier you start, the better off you are.

More and more artists are beginning to get involved with NTFs and the metaverse. What are your thoughts on NFTs, and why are they a good investment? 

90% of NFTs are not a good investment. Most NFTs are losing money. Only NFTs with solid communities are making money. For example Bored Apes or, like, World of Women and things of that nature. You want to research the NFTs you’re getting into. A lot of NFTs have hype as soon as they launch, then they come crashing down. It’s just like crypto, everything works in cycles. First, bitcoin going up, then altcoins, then you got metaverse and gaming coins, then you have NFTs. 

So NFTs are popping because bitcoins are down right now. The money flows through every single sector, and then it leaves up out of there. NFTs will come crashing down in a minute, and only the ones with proper utility will be worth some money. Anything digital is a long-term investment. Digital is taking over the world. 

While many are charging for their knowledge, you continue to educate the public for free. Why is that? 

I feel like people who are in charge of their knowledge never make money off of the knowledge they are giving the people. They make money off of the people just paying them, and the people never make money. I could show you how to do this, and I get thousands of people to pay me $100 and I make a million dollars. I got rich off the people, I didn’t get rich off of what I’m teaching you, so it kinda doesn’t make sense to me. I got rich off of what I’m telling you, so I don’t have to charge you for it. Some things I will be charging you for, but like I said I got rich off of the things I’m telling you — so I don’t have to charge.

Most people have to charge because they didn’t get rich off of the things they are telling you. People don’t use common sense. They just pay for something that they think will work for them and they don’t miss the money. It’s just $100, but really they’re making someone rich right in front of their face.

Your most recent project Blockchain was crypto-inspired. Will every project you release always be crypto-inspired? 

Yeah because my name is Money Man, and I’m dealing with money type shit. My next song is called ‘Whale Games’ because you know we move the market. As far as urban crypto goes I move the market, so I would be considered a whale in the urban community. So I call my next EP Whale Games, which drops on the 29th, so make sure everyone picks it up. But ‘Whale Game’ is the new one because you know its whales and crypto, Wolves Of Wall Street, but we mess with the males.

Many artists hope to follow in your footsteps, for example, Meek Mill who has expressed his frustration with his label. Do artists reach out to you for support and wisdom?

Up-and-coming artists do, but artists who are already established probably don’t want me to know their finances, which I understand. But, with the relationship I have with certain labels, it would probably be in their best interest to reach out because that’s what I do. I solve problems as far as contracts and things of that nature. I write my own contract, I do a lot of my own lawyer work. I only bring lawyers in when I’m dealing with real big labels and fifty-page contracts that I might not understand. But for the most part, I try not to get into those situations.

Artists always believe, well, they did it to him, they won’t do it to me. They do it to everyone — it’s been happening since the beginning of music. So, until people start reaching out to knowledgeable people, it is going to keep happening. Every artist complains. I haven’t seen one artist who doesn’t complain.

I’m always open to someone’s counsel or someone helping me out because I listen. I learn from other people’s mistakes. I put on Twitter one time, ‘Most people say, ‘Nah I gotta learn from my own mistake.’ So you gotta let people learn from their own mistakes.

Top three books everyone should read in their lifetime?

‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ — I definitely read it twice. ‘The Power Of No’ is one. The third one … I don’t know … I can’t say the third one.

What advice can you give to artists who are in a bad space with their labels but are looking to profit from their music? 

You just have to work it out the best way you can. That’s when the gift of gab has to come. Record labels can have you in contracts for life. Artists need to get together and form some type of entity that record labels cant break or get between all the artists. It’s not like record labels have five or 10 thriving artists making millions every year — it’s one or two per label. Then, they switch them out after a certain amount of time

Artists just need to come together and go with their own distribution or invest with independent labels. Major labels need to make money because they’re fronting most of the bill, but they don’t need to be killing artists. It needs to be some sort of 50/50 royalty rate. It’s always fair to break bread with someone who’s putting up money for you. But they’re getting outrageous, they’re really getting over. They’re making billions of dollars off our backs. 


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