People have often said, "Money can't buy happiness." What they fail to mention is how money can make life much easier. People with money are often viewed as powerful, respected, and secure with the financial freedom to live the life they want. It's no wonder that money has always been a popular topic in music.
Whether it's a song about stacking, saving, or getting paid what one is worth, artists know that money makes the world go round. From Gwen Stefani's "Rich Girl" to Donna Summer's "She Works Hard for the Money," here are 25 songs about the almighty dollar.
“For the Love of Money” is one of the most recognized singles from the soul group The O’Jays. The trio worked with the legendary songwriting-production duo Gamble and Huff, and the song easily draws listeners in with a funky guitar bass line. “For the Love of Money” reflects how money can sometimes make people do crazy things.
In 2007, 50 Cent released his third album, Curtis, and teamed up with producer Apex on “I Get Money.” 50 Cent doesn’t shy away from letting the world know about his wealth and any hustle that helped make him a bit richer. He details everything from investment deals, to world travels, to his car collection.
Donna Summer’s 1983 hit single “She Works Hard for the Money” showcases people doing what they need to do to make a living. It’s one of Summer’s most notable singles, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2012, Kendrick Lamar released his critically acclaimed debut album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. While the album follows a storyline, Lamar and Jay Rock team up on "Money Trees" to reflect on the temptation of having money.
In 2015, Rihanna released her cocky yet enticing single “BBHMM.” The singer wants to ensure people aren’t shortchanging her; the hook is a play on words referencing a line from ODB’s single “Got Your Money.” Rihanna encourages listeners to get paid and what they are rightfully owed.
In 1997, Diddy released his debut album, No Way Out. He teamed up with The Lox and Lil Kim on his third single, “It’s All About the Benjamins.” The slang term “Benjamins” has always been used in reference to $100 bills. On the track, Diddy and The Family detail living life as the rich and the famous.
Pink Floyd’s 1973 single “Money” uses the sounds of coins jingling and a cash register to help drive the song home for listeners. The group highlights how money can sometimes make people act evil and will do anything to get it. “Money” became a top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2008, Lil Wayne released his sixth studio album, The Carter III, which garnered five singles, including the T-Pain-assisted track “Got Money.” On the hook, Wayne and T-Pain stress that if one is rich, there’s nothing wrong with flaunting it at times, such as going to the club and making it rain.
Hip-hop collective Wu-Tang Clan struck gold with their iconic single “C.R.E.A.M.,” an acronym for “cash rules everything around me.” While group member Raekwon highlights his upbringing in the first verse, Inspectah Deck stresses life as a hustler who wants to make money.
In 1976, pop group ABBA released their fourth album, Arrival, which featured the single “Money, Money, Money.” The song is about a woman who works hard but feels like she still doesn’t make enough cash. Due to her low funds, she dreams about marrying a wealthy man to have an easier yet prosperous life.
In 1997, pop duo Hall & Oates released their hit single “Rich Girl.” On the track, the duo reflects on a girl who comes from a wealthy family. Although the song mentions a girl, the duo confirmed that the song was written about a man who was an heir to his family’s restaurant business.
In 1998, rap trio The Lox teamed up with DMX and Lil’ Kim on their hit single “Money, Power & Respect.” In the song intro, Lil Kim is heard stating that once people get rich, they respect them more — making wealth and status the song's theme.
When Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars teamed up on their 2010 single “Billionaire,” they had listeners worldwide screaming the song’s sentiments of being wealthy. The reggae-pop song has McCoy and Mars detailing everything they would do living a billionaire lifestyle, such as landing a Forbes magazine cover next to Oprah Winfrey and helping cities in need after getting hit by natural disasters.
In 2004, No Doubt’s lead singer Gwen Stefani decided to venture into a solo career and released her debut album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. She teamed up with rapper Eve on the Dr. Dre-produced single “Rich Girl.” On the track, Stefani reflects on her dreams of being wealthy and the things she would do with her riches. On the hook, she sings, “No man could test me, impress me / My cash flow would never end / ‘Cause I’d have all the money in the world / If I was a wealthy girl.”
In 2010, Aloe Blacc released his sophomore album, Good Things, led by the single “I Need a Dollar.” On the track, Blacc tells the story of a man who lost his job and needs money to help him make a living. “I Need a Dollar” became the intro track on the HBO show How to Make It in America.
Money can buy many things, but certain things are not for sale. That’s what The Beatles stress in their 1964 hit song “Can’t Buy Me Love.” They reflect on how money can buy any material thing, but what they really want is something that can't be bought: love. “Can’t Buy Me Love” became a No. 1 single across many Billboard song charts.
In 1999, girl group Destiny’s Child released their critically acclaimed sophomore album, The Writing’s on the Wall. They teamed up with singer-songwriter Kandi Burruss on the lead single “Bills, Bills, Bills.” The group tells the story of how a woman sees her relationship going well until her partner slowly starts making her pay for everything. She knows she deserves a man who can help take care of her and not just rely on her for money.
Although rock band The Brains released “Money Changes Everything” in 1978, pop singer Cyndi Lauper popularized it with her cover a few years later. On the track, Cyndi tells the story about leaving her partner for a wealthier man.
In 1990, rock band AC/DC released their highest-charting U.S. single with “Moneytalks.” The band highlights luxuries money can buy on the track, such as hotel rooms, suits, chauffeurs, and a mansion.
Barrett Strong’s 1959 single “Money (That’s What I Want)” became the first hit song for Motown Records. On the track, Strong highlights having other things in life such as love is fine, but he’d rather have money — and lots of it. The song was covered by bands such as The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Flying Lizards.
On Kanye West's 2005 single "Gold Digger," Jamie Foxx paints the image that he was used by a woman who only wanted him for his money. West then details a gold digger's behavior, such as having kids for child support payments and using their partner's money to get plastic surgery.
Fans have seen Cardi B’s rise in hip-hop since her days on VH1’s Love and Hip-Hop. After the success of her debut album, Invasion of Privacy, she released “Money” as a one-off single. On the track, Cardi references that she wants money, so she can wear the finest jewelry and board private jets.
In 2018, J. Cole released his sixth studio album, KOD, which garnered two singles, including “ATM.” While some listeners may think the title refers to a bank machine, Cole uses it as an acronym for “addicted to money.” Throughout the track, Cole highlights his relationship with money.
In 1985, pop duo Pet Shop Boys released their hit single “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money).” On the track, the protagonist tells the story of being broke and planning a cash-grab scheme with his friend. The song peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In August 2022, producer Calvin Harris released his highly anticipated album Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2. He teamed up with rapper 21 Savage on the album’s second single, “New Money," where they reference the luxuries of a wealthy lifestyle.
Mya Singleton is a freelance writer and photographer based in Los Angeles. Her work has also been featured on The Sports Fan Journal and AXS. Feel free to follow her talking all things music on Twitter @MyaMelody7.
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