Real Money

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Real Money  Explicit Content
Ronald Wever - Real Money.png
Studio album by
Released 3 December 2009
Recorded May - November 2009
Studio Ladybird Studios
Genre Hip hopexperimental rap
Label Tone Deph • Polygon Records • Maze Music
Producer James Bartlett • Chunky CheezePhở Real • 2 Infinity
Ronald Wever chronology
'Think The System Cares?'
(2008)
Real Money  Explicit Content
(2009)
'So.S.'
(2011)
Singles from Real Money
  1. "15 Minutes (My First Award)"
    Released: 21 October 2009
  2. "26 Dollars"
    Released: 1 December 2009
  3. "Life and Death in Africa"
    Released: 11 January 2009

Real Money is the second album by Continental rapper Ronald Wever, released in 2009 by Tone Deph, Polygon Records and Maze Music. The album debuted at number one on the multiple album charts and subsequently sold 1,068,200 copies, making it one of the top albums of the year. The album became known for singles "26 Dollars", "Life and Death in Africa" and "15 Minutes (My First Award)", which was a major hit in the fall of 2009, igniting a feud between Wever and rapper Kanye West. Wever had not intended to create 15 Minutes (My First Award), nor really wanted the album to be defined mostly by the track, but has since become his biggest hit as of 2016.

Real Money dealt with the hardships of his youth, poverty and drugs, while at the same time interpolating that with the materialistic and money-driven excesses of the west vis-a-vis the poverty of the world. Drawing on

Released 3 December 2009, it became Wever's most successful hit, charting at number one on the Sunset–Billboard charts, including Sierra, Dixie and his native United Commonwealth, and making it to number one in New England, Rainier, and elsewhere for a total nine number 1 positions, and 18 top 10 rankings in total.

Background[edit | edit source]

Wever recorded 10-track album Think The System Cares? in 2008 and released it on 14 August that year. Coming on the heels of his father's death in January and an arrest for drugs which was overturned in court, he wrote an angry scathing "fuck you middle finger" album directed at his world. It brought him to the attention of numerous Chicago rap fans and the underground rap scene, but it was too far from and against the mainstream to be much of a success. Only 16.000 digital copies were sold prior to late 2009, and a run of just 4500 CD's was not completely sold. He would state that "I was angry, pissed at the world; I had just lost my father so what did they expect." An interview with Rolling Stone in 2011 revealed much more, he was ready to call it quits but was approached by songwriter and producer James Bartlett, who saw massive potential in his writing ability (and already seeing a top-notch rapper), to take time to center himself and take a breather; he also asked if they would collaborate on a subsequent album.

Wever made his way to Porciúncula to work for six months, and there came into contact with record producers and rappers at Tone Deph and Maze Music. Most importantly, he met the Asian-Sierran team of rapper Chunky Cheeze and DJ Phở Real, who would really help drive the development of an album.

Recording and production[edit | edit source]

Wanting to do something different, he enlisted Phở Real to give the album an electronic feel, but made it clear early on it would not include autotune.

15 Minutes (My First Award)[edit | edit source]

The fallout from the 2009 MTV Video Music Award scandal between Kanye West and Taylor Swift caused significant condemnation by celebrities, including Wever, who tweeted that Kanye had no right to do that, and that his tirade made all musicians there look bad. During the actual ceremony (on 13 September), he tweeted a picture of the incident with the comment "... and now her first award is Kanye West", which would inspire him to create a song on the event.

He recorded it over a couple of weekends, leading to the overall feel being somewhat rough. He created a song to try and bring up Taylor Swift and to lash out at Kanye for his actions. Wever admits it morphed into somewhat of a diss track, which (according to him) "was not what I intended, but felt right to do".

Composition[edit | edit source]

Concept[edit | edit source]

Real Money was, from the start (notwithstanding "15 Minutes") an album on his his childhood and upbringing, the hardship and struggles, and the money-first world view. According to Wever, "I dealt drugs not cause it was cool, or cause i wanted to roll in the money, i needed to help my fam. Was the only way i could make cash and survive, you know. I never had the car, the hoes, no Air Jordans or gold chains. I had a voice, but when you're 12 it don't get you nowhere, and that's where the drugs step in."

He explains that, while his parents did not approve of what he did, it was often the only income coming in, with his father being laid off frequently. Interviewed in Sierran magazine Divergent Beats, he stated "Sinatra said it best: 'That's life'. 'You ride [sic] high in April, shot down in May', cept I was never ridin' high. And many who ridin' high, where they end up? In the gutter, in the trash, cause all they did was spend spend spend, livin' the rich life."

Songs[edit | edit source]

26 Dollars is a song describing both his youth dealing drugs, interpolated with a critique on drug abuse and culture. its title from, and samples the guitar riff from the Velvet Underground song "I'm Waiting for the Man". It describes his hardships as a youth, dealing drugs to support his family, being arrested for it and trying to fin a way to help them out and not be in jail.

Release[edit | edit source]

On 21 October, "15 Minutes (My First Award)" was released, and within 24 hours had received just under 13.7 million views, and by the first week received 365,000 digital downloads (as of January 2017 has received 9.7 million downloads).

Real Money was released on 3 December to much hype and excitement. While there was much talk of the album in the underground scene and among rap and Wever fans, the release of "15 Minutes" and its subsequent success and significance made it one of the most anticipated albums of the year, across the world, certainly in Anglo-America.

"Life and Death in Africa", which had slowly been climbing the tracks, was released as a single on 11 January, much to the surprise of fans.

Singles[edit | edit source]

Reception[edit | edit source]

Magazine Divergent Beats called the album a mature, serious work, and a far cray from the brash "taking on the world" attitude of his first release. Badditude called it a "rap symphony", compared to such works as The Pretty Things' S.F. Sorrow and The Fat Boys album On and On.

Charts[edit | edit source]

Chart (2016) Peak
position
Anglo-American Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums (SunsetBillboard) 1
Appalachian Albums (Billboard Chicago) 1
Australian Albums (ARIA Charts) 8
Austrian Albums ((Ö3 Austria) 21
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders) 7
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia) 19
Brazorian Albums (Sunset Houston) 1
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI) 24
Danish Albums (Hitlisten) 3
Dixie Albums (Atlanta Beat) 1
Dutch Albums (Megacharts) 6
European Top 100 Albums 22
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista) 1
French Albums (SNEP) 5
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100) 9
Hudsonian Albums (Billboard New York) 1
Irish Albums (IRMA) 6
Italian Albums (FIMI) 24
Japanese Albums (Oricon) 27
Korean Albums (Gaon) 44
Missouri Albums (Billboard St. Louis) 1
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) 15
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista) 7
Rainier Albums (Sunset Seattle) 1
Sierran Albums (Sunset) 1
Spanish Albums (Promusicae) 66
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan) 31
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade) 26
UK Albums (OCC) 4