We're in the basement, learning to print
All of it's hot!
10, 20, 30 million ready to be spent
We're stackin' 'em against the wall
Those gangster presidents
Livin' simple and trying to get by
But honey, prices have shot through the sky

So I fixed up the basement with
What I was a-workin' with
Stocked it full of jelly jars
And heavy equipment
We're in the basement...
10, 20, 30 million dollars
Ready to be spent

Walk into the bank, try to pass that trash
Teller sees and says

Lyrics submitted by Ice

Legal Tender Lyrics as written by Catherine Elizabeth Pierson Robert Waldrop

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., SENTRIC MUSIC

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Legal Tender song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentJust a nice little song about counterfeiting money... Actually I think it's a very well constructed song when, combined with the synth is a great example of '80s music. Great song!
    lighthumoron March 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti don't get it...a song about counterfeiting money!!! yah!

    well good song anyways..

    Although @ the end "all conterfiet" sounds like "on Cannabis" ....wait up grass=cannabis....nah
    cruzon August 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is inspired not so much by actual counterfeiters, as by movies about them—and, I think, especially the Burt Lancaster comedy "Mister 880", based on the real-life case of Edward Mueller.

    Mueller didn't counterfeit millions of dollars, and he didn't get caught trying to pass bills to a bank and take off in a Jeep—but everything else fits. He was "living simple, and trying to get by", and failing. As a junk collector, he'd accumulated some old but professional printing equipment, which he installed in the basement, and used to start printing money. He stored his ink in jelly jars. He began printing just a few dollars at a time to pay his expenses, making sure never to pass bills at the same shop twice. His counterfeiting was terrible (he didn't even spell "Washington" right), and at one point in either the Burt Lancaster movie or the other movie based on Mueller but gender-swapped that I forget the name of, one of the shopkeepers calls it trash and compares it to grass. He got away with it for years just because a guy passing $1 at one shop at $2 at another shop a week later just isn't the Secret Service's top priority.

    Also, I love the line "those gangster presidents". It just doesn't have the same connotations post-Ice Cube as it did in 1983, when "dead presidents" was still ironic retro-1940s slang used by investment-banker yuppies.
    falcotronon May 08, 2019   Link

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