Hustling is a gift that’s needed more than ever with the ever-rising economic instability of our formal economies. Raphael Wright, author of How 2 Hustle (Plug’d Media LLC 2014), is trying to offer a bit of knowledge and motivation to those who truly have hustle in their blood and have to use it to survive.
What were your motivations behind writing a how-to manual on street hustling?
My purposes behind writing How 2 Hustle were to reach out directly to those in the game trying to survive, while at the same time trying to bridge the gap between the scholarly world and the streets, so that more can be done to help these people who have to work outside of the formal economy. Also, I wish to clear up so much of the confusion that has taken over our game. I want to motivate, educate and bring the art of hustling back to proper perspective.
Confusion in the Hustle Game? Go more into detail.
Well, the media has misrepresented hustling and hustlers for a long time, making it out to be something that is innately criminal. This is so far from the truth. Most people hustle out of desperation, and because they lack opportunity in the formal economy, they become self-starting and self-reliant, taking matters into their own hands to survive.
When you speak of media, who do you believe are specifically responsible for this confusion?
First, before I answer that, I believe that there has been a lack of education on street economics and other forms of alternative economic measures. I think that this is the direct cause for the infiltration of the game. Also, there have been many fake hustlers who have influence, like many rappers, who have put forward the belief that hustling is somehow fun and exciting, which has led many to enter the hustle game not for money, but for fun, excitement and status. I believe that this is working backwards and I had to address that in How 2 Hustle. But to answer the question, when I say the media, I speak of the entities behind the news that we hear, like special interest groups, the government and corporations who own our news outlets.
As far as the media, they paint hustlers and hustling as something people shouldn’t do, as though we are all criminals who chose a life of crime. The reality is that there is a massive population of people worldwide who will walk up to the door of the formal economy and will either be denied access at the door or will be allowed to enter, only to be taken advantage of. Either way, hustling provides a viable alternative for these people and this is something that the power elite will never understand. Speaking from experience, I know many great people who hustle, engaging in ventures that are not criminal, just off-the-books.
To write a book about hustling means that you have either hustled before, or studied hustling extensively. Which would apply to you?
Both. Off the top, I am a hustler first. I have been engaged in self-starting and self-reliant work since my early teens. I did very well hustling so I have a lot of real insight. As a researcher, I did most of my research while in the field directly. I studied my peers when I was active in the game heavily. To start and ultimately finish How 2 Hustle, I revisited many of those who I knew who were still active, and examined their moves, strategies and practices to tie together everything that I wish to say to the public in my book.
My first ever hustle was candy, which I sold in my early teens. I sold candy bars and bags of Kool-Aid while in junior high. In high school, I did classroom and homework assignments for classmates, was a clothes booster and also made a ton of money selling knockoff Cartier glasses. In college, I sold college textbooks and flipped used cars, which I made more money doing that than anything else that I ever did.
You have not mentioned selling drugs? Were you against selling drugs then? Are you against selling drugs now?
I have sold drugs, but my other hustles were more lucrative. I was heavy into marijuana, but I was far more successful elsewhere. I want to show others that hustling does not consist solely on selling drugs, which has seemed to be the message today. As a result, I barely mention my active past.
I am not necessarily trying to steer people away from selling drugs. That is not a battle that I wish to fight. If that is your only opportunity, which can be the case sometimes, then who am I to tell you not to pursue it. Not to glorify the selling of illicit drugs, but once again the media has deceived us. Like Chris Rock said, “they don’t want people to buy our drugs. They want people to buy their drugs.” The largest percentages of addiction come from prescription drugs, not the poor drugs that they lead us to believe. The largest traffickers are not the street hustlers, but the pharmacies worldwide. Our “War on Drugs” have been designed so that competition (the special interests, like the government and pharmaceutical companies) can eliminate competition (the street hustlers), instead of tackling the real problem, which is battling addiction.
Well Said. Your book is a short read, sort of like a manual. Why did you choose to write in this format?
I was inspired by The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, which was written in a practical and concise way. It was straightforward and I wanted to do the same. If you really need to read a book like How 2 Hustle, you would not want to peel through hundreds of pages and complicated language to learn something. You would want instant information to help get you to the money as fast as possible.
Aside from How 2 Hustle, what else are you doing to push forward your agenda? What other projects should we look out for and what ways can people further connect with you?
I have started a clothing line called HustleMania, which is a fusion between professional wrestling, hip hop culture, and the daily grind. HustleMania Clothing is available at Big Cartel. From every sale that we generate from HustleMania, a portion of the proceeds will go towards micro-financing startups in the inner city, starting in Detroit and reaching outward. Also, as a servant to the inner city, I engage in outreach work to the poor and underrepresented populations in Detroit, trying to encourage them to take on alternative economic measures to secure their survival when needed. I have a dream of redeveloping the inner city into more powerful social economic living places, so I stay in the streets to achieve this.
Being a stable of entrepreneurship, I want to be a motivation to other hustlers, showing them that there is more to life than hustling and if the opportunity is offered to them to go legit, they should take that offer. It is not impossible for a lowly street hustler to go on to become huge business moguls. Look at Jay Z and others like him. I wish to be next on that list.
Connect with Raphael Wright
LinkedIn & Google +: Raphael Wright
Official How 2 Hustle Website: http://www.how-2-hustle.com/
HustleMania Clothing Site: http://hustlemaniaclothing.bigcartel.com/