Richmond’s P Money has been a gangsta rapper long enough to have told nearly every gritty, cash-hungry story from the street.
But the most compelling of all street survival stories is P Money’s own.
While most rappers struggling to make it in the music industry can return to the safety of their homes after a grinding studio session, P Money, born Randy Harrison, is homeless. In fact, the 37-year-old often sleeps in his Mercedes Benz at a San Pablo Avenue gas station, where he knows the owner.
Don’t judge P Money’s story by his album covers — the unsigned artist did not squander earnings on gold chains and expensive cars. When he isn’t in the studio, he’s been working full-time in maintenance at an East Oakland homeless shelter for several years, according to P Money’s manager, Joseph Sanchez.
Unfortunately last year, that job’s paycheck could not save P Money’s family from losing their home of 40-plus years. After his father was laid off following a workplace injury, the rapper had to take over the house bills, rent and even the cost his diabetic mother’s medications, Sanchez said.
Then early last year, the landlord decided to sell the property, and while P Money’s parents were fortunate to be able to relocate to a family member’s home, the artist has struggled to find affordable housing for himself.
It doesn’t help that the artist is also still mourning the recent loss of one of his best friends to gang violence.
But through it all, the artist’s positive, no-quit reaction has inspired.
“He’s a good guy; he’s not depressing or down on the situation, he’s upbeat,” Sanchez said. “He goes to work everyday. Sometimes he writes [music] while in his car. We just keep hustling and hoping something good will come out of it.”
Check out one of his more recent efforts (WARNING: Explicit Language)
P Money, who records at Legacy Studios in Richmond, has been involved in trap-style gangster rap since 2000 and has amassed 12 mixtapes (www.datpiff.com), and an album on iTunes called Bad News from tha Block. He and his crew are currently working on another mixtape and pushing an EP featuring four or five tracks.
The artist grew up in Richmond and was a talented 5-foot-7 basketball player who could dunk.
P Money has a message for his Richmond neighbors when it comes to music.
“I need you guys to go out and support the local artists,” he said in the video interview posted above. “I’m sick of riding in my car and I pull up and I hear you bumping Little Wayne, and you can learn every lyric but you can’t learn a Richmond artist. I think we need more support from the Bay, the radio stations and fans. You guys got to support us.”
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