Call it Rapper's Delight.
A Louisiana State University graduate’s rap video about his sheer joy after finally paying back his student loan has gone viral. “Sallie Mae Back,” by rapper Dee-1, has received more than five million hits since it was posted online earlier this month, and even prompted lender Sallie Mae to congratulate the video’s star in a tweet:
Dee-1 (aka David Augustine), is a former middle school math teacher who had trouble paying off his student loans even when he took on a second job to make ends meet. Augustine's insanely catchy riffs on “Sallie Mae Back” detail his debt journey, including months and months of barely making minimum payments, working late, living off noodles, and avoiding phone calls from one of America’s largest student loan lenders:
Needed tuition, needed room & boardHad to pay for books, so I took out loans to feed the boyGraduated wasn’t making quite enough to pay them backWent into default, messed my credit up, check my EquifaxI ain’t proud of that…ain’t drownin’ that…I got two jobs really got on my grind…In the game right now, my time to shine.Starting paying those loans back one at a time.Got them down, down, down ’til I paid them all off.
When he landed a recording contract with RCA, Augustine simply wanted to pay off his loans,telling CNN, "I was like, how should I spend this? Most rappers buy a new car; they go ball out; they take a vacation; they go buy new jewelry. I wanted to break the stereotypes of how people normally spend them — and get out of debt."
Describing his debts as a “dark cloud” after graduation, Augustine explained that his song is meant to “give people hope when it comes to their financial situation, whether they're in debt and it's looking bleak and they don't make enough to make monthly payments on time, I wanted to give them hope and give them something to look forward to.”
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“We’re fans and the message is a good one," Rick Castellano of Sallie Mae told NBC News. "Paying back student loans may not always feel easy but with perseverance, it’s achievable. Congrats Dee-1 on this true accomplishment.”