Can You Really "Plank on a Million"?

Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 24 2011 3:12 PM

Can You Really "Plank on a Million"?

Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne continues to rule the Billboard charts, having sold enough copies to certify it as gold as its Riccardo Tisci-designed cover. Much has been made of the album’s gross materialism, which sees the rappers namedropping “Benzes, Louboutins, Basquiats, and sundry other signifiers of wealth” as Seth Colter Walls described it in Slate. But perhaps the rappers’ most extravagant display of wealth comes when Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter brags of “planking on a million”—in other words, of his ability to rest face-down, hands at his sides, and stiff as a two-by-four on a million dollars in cash. Can you really plank on a million dollars?

Easily—as long as you use one of the smaller denominations. Ten $100,000 Woodrow Wilsons wouldn’t support the six-foot-tall rapper at all. Jay-Z could arrange ten thousand $100 bills (the preferred currency of rappers) into a suitcase-sized stack that would bear the hip-hop star, but the short pile wouldn’t look very impressive. If Jay wanted to achieve the kind of perilous heights that make for the best planking photos, only $1 notes would do the trick.

Every U.S. note is approximately .0043 inches thick, and a stack of a hundred notes is about .43 inches high. So using $100 bills, Carter could pile his cheese five bills wide and two bills long, or approximately 1.02 feet wide, 1.08 feet long, and 4.3 inches high. The stack would be about the size of a couple of reams of copier paper, and many have planked on less.

Using $1 dollar bills would, of course, make for the highest and most spectacular platform. A million $1 bills could be stacked into a single pile over 350 feet high (assuming it didn’t just blow over), or form a square-foot stack over 35 feet high. Still, if Jay wanted to plank with the full luxury of head, neck, and back support, even with singles he could only plank a few feet off the ground.

Toying with this kind of cash would be no trouble for the Roc-A-Fella mogul. The rapper and “business, man” is currently the biggest earner in hip-hop, pulling in an estimated $37 million in the past year alone. Planking on a million is easy—if you have the cash.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?