To many, rap music represents the antithesis of responsibility. The genre often glorifies violence, drugs and petty vendettas. But many rap fans are quick to point out that the music can have a positive message as well, and one fan was willing to put his money where his mouth is.
Detroit-based real estate investor Robert Shumake has produced Take the Land: Elements of Real Estate, a rap album about homeownership. The album features the voices of many wellknown artists such as Umar Bin Hassan, M-1, Jessica Care Moore and, in one of his last recordings, Proof, the recently slain rapper from the group D12.
Proof was shot at a Detroit club April 11, during an argument with a bouncer. The shooting gained widespread media attention because the rapper Eminem has credited Proof with jump-starting his career.
If anyone should know about the importance of home ownership, it's Shumake. As a child, Shumake and his family were homeless, eventually becoming squatters in a run-down home with no heat. Today, at just 37, he owns one of Michigan's top real estate development and investment firms, Inheritance Investment Group.
But despite his success Shumake, who is African-American, says he was troubled by the fact that too few African Americans own homes. So, he put a call out to rappers asking them to submit demos, giving them free reign to talk about homeownership however they wanted.
Take the Land has 13 tracks, which all deal with different aspects of real estate. Proceeds from the sale of the CD will go to the Robert S. Shumake Foundation, a non-profit organization that distributes college scholarships in conjunction with the United Negro College Fund.
“For a while there, we sort of felt her spirit in the apartment.”
Billionaire David Koch, who is selling his New York City apartment for $32 million, referring to the former owner, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
“It is like Canary Wharf was a few years ago…the place was a bit of a ghost town. Now, there is not a square foot left in the precinct.”
Graham Lovett, managing partner at Clifford Chance, comparing London's Canary Wharf to the Dubai International Financial Centre in Legal Week
“I think there's a convergence taking place. We've seen it already with Mexico converging with the US, and I suspect Brazil is going to converge with Mexico on several levels.”
Gary Garrabrant, chief executive officer of Equity International, speaking at the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit
“We're going to do something bold. I think the world will pay attention to our project.”
Feng Lun, a Chinese real estate tycoon and owner of the Vantone Group, discussing plans to open a business and cultural “China Center” in the World Trade Center, as quoted in the New York Times
“I think the REIT market and lodging market have woken up to what's going on…so there's not nearly the arbitrage that has existed in the past between the public and private values.”
Jonathan Gray, senior managing director of Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, at NYU's Annual REIT symposium
“It's the best seat in the house.”
overlooking the Atlanta Motor Speedway, as quoted in a New York Times article about the proliferation of apartments adjacent to Nascar race tracks
“Why is the Atlantic Yards project different from all other real estate development projects?”
From “A Very Brooklyn Seder,” posted online at www.leathertomato.com, which uses the Four Questions of Passover to criticize the development of the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, New York