From The Vault: Gwen Guthrie – ‘Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent’

Published: Sunday 19th Jul 2015 by Joe

“Bill collectors at my door, what can you do for me?”

This week From The Vault journey’s back to the era when Gwen Guthrie let the world know that there was “no romance without finance.”

Today’s pick is the late chanteuse’s classic anthem ‘Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent.’

Written and produced by Guthrie, ‘Rent’ is a R&B song which sassily details how she is only interested in the matters of the heart if it comes with advantages of the cha-ching variety. An ancestor of sorts to Destiny’s Child’s ‘Bills, Bills, Bills’, the track was a minor hit in the US where it reached #42 but fared better in the UK where it was a Top 5 smash.

Filled with faux-subliminal messages like “BUY”, “SPEND”, “MONEY”, the music video showcases footage of men at actual work as well as projections of dollar bills, fancy cars and even a yacht.

Though the message feels somewhat dated in a post Girl Power, Independent Women world, we applaud Guthrie for getting herself out there and stand behind such a bold statement.

Rest In Peace, Gwen!

Your thoughts?

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  1. Marcuz July 19, 2015

    My JAM!

  2. DMWN July 19, 2015

    Like the silly ass Clinton-era born queens that congregate here know anything about this. They barely recall anything before 9/11. They were still watching cartoons when Rihanna came out.

  3. maluce July 19, 2015

    A message that’s still valid, today. Take notes guys…



    • Legendtina July 19, 2015

      Not necessarily. If you need a man to provide for your financial needs in 2015 then you need to correct your life. Not to say that men shouldn’t be bringing in a form of income….

      • maluce July 20, 2015

        Total misunderstanding of what I’m saying…

        My point is, never lay up for free, whether you have your own or not.

  4. Raina July 19, 2015

    This was a #1 Hit on the R&B (Black Singles it was called then) chart. It was #42 POP. Please correct that.

  5. Legendtina July 19, 2015

    This song’s message is incredibly outdated. I’m glad “I need a man to take care of me” type songs like this are a thing in the past. They really do send the wrong message. If bill collectors are at your door, pay them with the money you earned for yourself.

    • Avi July 19, 2015

      No it’s not. The message here is that I’m not going to be with a grown man who can’t do his part, pull his share or take care of business. The message is not at all outdated and is as relevant today as it was then. No woman should want a man who she has to support.

    • maluce July 20, 2015

      your clearly someone that lays around for a wet ass only. lol

  6. RICHIE_RICH July 19, 2015

    The drag killed this last night at the spot. You kids don’t know no shiit about this song.

    I love the gays of the 80s and 90s and early 2000s.


  7. RealNegro July 19, 2015

    Born in the 80’s and never heard it. This song sucks!

    • RICHIE_RICH July 19, 2015

      Was it 1989? The lies you tell!!!!

  8. Jadore July 20, 2015

    This is still my jam! My sister and I still quote this song, jokingly of course. I think in some ways it’s still relevant today. Though it’s best to not rely on a man to pay your rent, finding someone to settle down with that’s not a complete deadbeat is what a lot of women look for.

  9. JOHNVIDAL July 20, 2015

    Well at least TGJ is doind real From The Vault posts lately. I mean, doing them for songs which are 7 years old is not fun and it´s normally repetitive.
    That said, I´ve never heard this song. But good job TGJ. With the huge amount of great songs we had in the 80s and 90s you can do so much better still.

  10. Dossome July 20, 2015

    “You gotta have a J-O-B,If you wanna BE WITH ME” was my favorite line from the song.It’s not about depending on a man to take care of your financial needs,it’s more about being with someone who can comfortably take care of himself

  11. Truth July 20, 2015

    Sistas was about REAL TALK back then. “Ain’t nothing going on but the rent…” “You got to have a J-O-B if you wanna be with me.” These days it’s become too glossy and fake, near airheaded cookie cutter bimbos like Kim Kardashian thinking that they are Renaissance women. Eff ‘girl power’ when the gas man is trying to turn you off. That fool you keep letting in your house every night need to start ponying up some cash to pay bills if he’s gonna hang around as much as he wants to. This is timeless. RIP Gwen.

  12. JDE97 July 20, 2015

    People kill me trying to be sanctimonious while completely missing the point. Everything Gwen is saying in this song is real talk. It’s not about depending on a man to pay your bills for you, it’s about expecting a man to pull his weight in the relationship and not letting him take advantage of the situation or get away with doing/adding nothing. It was songs like this actually laid the foundation for “Girl Power,” and singers like Gwen did it without sounding like corny little girls who were really just wannabe’s.

    That being said, I’m glad the vault went back further than 90s for a change. 80s music was better. Give me the 1985-1989 music scene over anything.

  13. Mike November 17, 2016

    … and yet nobody has taken notice that a melodic part of the chorus was used for the dub remix of Mariah Carey’s “Make it Happen” back in 1992.

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