Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
I listen to Rick Ross The Rapper’s music. His crew, not necessarily so much, but as for the Bawse, absolutely. For what’s it’s worth, I don’t put a lot of stock in rap songs to begin with, so the level of authenticity is not that big of a deal. All I know is what the rapper is “rapping” about. Anything that involves their personal life is off limits. Think about the way you felt towards Santa when your parents told you he wasn’t real. You felt betrayed. You felt like Santa just took a crap in your Fruity Pebbles. But, if you hadn’t built an imaginary relationship with him, you wouldn’t have even cared. The same theory should be applied to rappers, that way when their laundry gets aired out, the smell won’t be so offensive, so to speak.
Back to Ross, though. Or rather Reebok, in association with Ross.
Last week, a partnership between Rozay & Reebok was announced, & while plenty of people didn’t understand it, the (internet) chatter it stirred up was worth a thousand pop-ups ads. Rappers & tennis shoes go hand-in-hand, like Hip Hop & White kids, but the past two-ish decades have seen an upsurge of rappers making their own gear. Some still peddled another man’s wares for a paycheck, but generally speaking, the urbanwear market was dominated by the very stars who made it famous. Apparently, though, dressing like you hang out on the corner selling Crack has run it’s course, as evidenced by Lil Wayne’s decision to shill skateboard haberdashery. It’s important to note that Lil Wayne raps about gang violence & fratricide, so to take the profits from that & turn it into outfits for suburban kids is somewhat chuckle-worthy. But that’s for another day.
Reebok knows it will never be Nike. Going after the big name athletes is out of the equation for the time being. So, taking a page from a St. Ides ad campaign during the early (19)90’s, the shoe giant is taking the backdoor approach to soliciting young urbanites: hiring their favorite rapper. Whether or not Reebok wants us to know about their true M.O. is anybody’s guess, but it’s a genius move, nonetheless.
Listen, Rick Ross isn’t going to run too far. I’m no doctor, but I’ve been alive long enough to tell the difference between people who can’t sit still & those who dedicate energy to avoiding unnecessary movement. Ross would seem to be the latter. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Even before he gets his hands on Reebok money, he’s already able to afford a life rife with willing chicks & able-bodied weed holders. That said, the athletic angle is null & void in this case, unless they film commercials depicting him running for food, in which he could cross-advertise his restaurant. Or maybe he can run from the cops, although stopping to chat with them would be an easier sell, but you smell my colonge.
However you coin it, Ross is definitely winning, & I wouldn’t be surprised if Reebok starts a line of Big & Tall tracksuits (with matching sunglasses) bearing his signature. Or even better, his face.
One thing is for sure; corporate America doesn’t care what song you sing as long as you can contribute to the collection plate. For all the Hip Hop arguments involving Ross’ constant identity crisis, Reebok couldn’t care less. Whether he beat a charge or an inmate with a baton, all the wealthy people see is another way to get wealthier. Any personal matters he has are irrelevant. As much credit was people give white, green is indeed the most dominant color on Earth.
On one hand, this is no different that Adidas offering an endorsement deal to Run DMC. But on the other hand, Run DMC wore Adidas long before the paperwork. & basically made a free commercial for them. & they didn’t rap about the benefits of slanging ‘caine either, so maybe it is a little different.