Pop singers and rappers love to brag about their footwear (from their Ugg boots to their Louboutins), million-dollar homes and expensive bling. These days tech entrepreneurs are surprisingly becoming the go-to people to name-drop in songs, with Bill Gates being the mogul of choice to reference.
Here are some of the best pop songs to reference Silicon Valley and its high-powered entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneur: Bill Gates, Microsoft
Song: “Formation” by Beyoncé
I might get your song played on the radio station, cause I slay
You just might be a black Bill Gates in the making, cause I slay
I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making
When Beyoncé dropped her newest single, “Formation,” right before the 2016 Super Bowl, her die-hard fan base – known as the Beyhive – was ecstatic. And one of the crowd’s favorite lines was when Queen Bey compared herself to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
However, the living legend isn’t the first (and likely won’t be the last) to mention the Silicon Valley billionaire.
Rappers also seem to love Bill Gates – arguably more than the cold, hard cash, strippers and brand name liquor (pass the Courvoisier, anyone?) many feature in their videos. Don’t believe us? Lil Wayne, known for his predilection for pole-dancing women, went so far as to name a song from his 2010 album after the man.
Not to be outdone: Outkast made sure to reference him in their song, putting a particular emphasis on his “dangling diamonds” and “Microsoftin’ ways” while Sean Paul referenced him in his hit song “Ever Blazin’.” Of course rap doesn’t have a monopoly on his name, My Chemical Romance (“Get Yourself High,” 2003) and Black Eyed Peas (“Someday,” 2010) gave the billionaire entrepreneur a shout out as well.
Entrepreneur: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
Song: “The Morning” by Raekwon, Kanye West (et al)
Burn another bush, then burn another we brothers
Love us or not, the Mark Zuckerbergs of the block
Hug a knot, staying rich, we was built for the guap
Kanye West and Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon are well known for their honest lyrics, so it comes as no surprise that they often mix real-life people into hit songs.
The duo referenced Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly in their 2012 single. They opted to leave out his company’s many accomplishments, but had no trouble mentioning his incredible wealth a.k.a. guap. Guap, for the uninitiated, is slang for a large amount of money.
Entrepreneur: Jack Dorsey, Twitter; Sergey Brin, Google (and a whole bunch of other tech entrepreneurs)
Song: “Go DJ” by Childish Gambino
You’ve been with me since the beginning
That’s about it, I’m sure there’s people I forgot
But, you’re appreciated regardless
Not everyone is familiar with Donald Glover’s musical work. The celebrity, also known on the music scene as Childish Gambino, is more famous for his comedic chops on “Community” and performances like the one in the award-winning movie “The Martian,” which showed the versatile actor’s serious side.
However, Glover has been making quite a name for himself as a recording artist with a well-received series of rap mixtapes. While most artists are content to name one famous entrepreneur, he made sure to reference several of the country’s top tech CEOs and venture capitalists in his 2014 song.
Entrepreneur: Deep Blue, IBM
Song: “Deep Blue” by Arcade Fire
You could never predict it
That it could see through you
Kasparov Deep Blue 1996
Including artificial intelligence in our list may be stretching the rules a bit, but this tech reference was too good to pass up. Alternative rock band Arcade Fire referenced Deep Blue, a chess-playing computer from the late ‘90s, on their 2010 album Suburb. The computer is primarily remembered for beating world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a highly publicized 1997 match.
Entrepreneur: Steve Jobs, Apple
Song: “That Oprah” by Swizz Beatz ft. Coldplay
Bill Gates, Steve Jobs,
My paper is very long, your paper is very soft
I am a big BOSS
Boy, get lost
Steve Jobs is still influencing the world from beyond the grave. The co-founder of Apple died in 2011, but artists won’t forget about him anytime soon. Apple’s products have been mentioned in several songs, including this hit collaboration between rapper Swizz Beatz and British band Coldplay, which was released in 2008.