Steve Jobs, G.I. Joe, & Master P

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The abundance of Hip Hop-based commercials we saw last year is proof that the culture is officially a part of the American quilt. While some of those commercials caused artists & fans alike to cry “Foul!” (including Black Sheep for not authorizing Kia Motors to use their song), the phenomenon of acceptance is actually quite a bit bigger than the music itself. 2012’s open-arm policy toward rap music is what cats were looking toward back in the early 90’s, when The Source magazine had to host it’s own awards show because White America some people weren’t ready to recognize rap music as art & it’s rappers as musicians. (Think about that for a moment.)

There was a time – before every rapper had to be sellable brand – when it was imperative that a rap act not get involved with the marketing & promotions of consumer products, because Hip Hop wasn’t yet a capitalist state. MC’s literally made songs dedicated to the notion of never becoming cogs to any institutionalizing machine. Rap music rebelled against a lot of things during those years, but not for nothing, let the record show that never was Hip Hop’s voice & sentiment more independent than before Puff Daddy held the back gate open, allowing the mainstream market sharks to industrialize our culture. Once they cleared the proverbial fields & landscapes, & replaced them with revenue-generating money machines, the natural, organic system of things slowly began to die off. The internets provided the final mule kick, allowing everything to be used as a vehicle to further pimp one’s self out into the galaxy.

These days, what we have is an anarchist rap music industry (complete with murderers & drug kingpins) & rap songs being made into commercials strictly in the name of fiscal profiteering. Shout out to Chrysler, McDonald’s, Sprite, Kia, Geico, Apple, & a host of others who’ve “borrowed” or “interpolated” Hip Hop’s likeness without paying it backward. & thanks to that “sincere form of flattery,” rappers don’t have to sell out any more. Companies can buy, rent, lease, or even manufacture rap songs if need be, which is a fine line to cross. For example, I love the rapping Aflac commercials, because I don’t take offense to their parody of rap music. But if the ducks were genuinely imitating rappers in a way that blurred the line between character & caricature, I’m sure I’d feel differently.

I haven’t heard the term sell-out in the rap community since every MC began to came into the game as a set: complete with a clothing line, designer liquor labels, & an independent recording house. Word to the Steve Jobs doll, before long, rappers will have G.I. Joe-esque action figures on Walmart store shelves, especially with the action hero lives most rap dudes seem to personify nowadays.

Don’t quote me, but I see Master P on the Home Shopping Network – selling whatever he can etch ” NO LIMIT” on – before he’s totally done with Hip Hop. No shots, just observations.

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6 comments on “Steve Jobs, G.I. Joe, & Master P

  1. markdub7 says:

    Yo…I did NOT know that Kia used that Black Sheep song w/o getting their approval. I hope they sue and get some BIG checks. How the fugg….shouldn’t they have lawyers advising them on shit like that? Who thought that that was a good idea? Or did they just think that Black Sheep were bums, and wouldn’t be able to get a lawyer who could handle their lawyer in court? Big effin balls….

    Like

  2. Nagan says:

    hope y’all had a good holiday break

    ya the term sellout, i wish i heard it more (strange as it may seem) *shakes impotent fist at the sky* most cats making a name sell out now days but it’s par for the course. and it bores the shit outta me. i’m all for getting paid for your work and such, but if it’s been heard too many times before….

    always own your masters if ya trying for rap riches

    Like

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