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JAY Z & STEVE STOUTE Talk About “Tanning Of America” & The World Through Hip-Hop [Part 2]

Filed under : Entertainment

Hey Y’all!


Former music executive, now-turned marketing executive, Steve Stoute continues pushing his new book, “The Tanning Of America: How the Culture of Hip-Hop Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy,”

Excerpt from Chapter Two: “Hard Knock Life”

Yes, it’s true that in the past the idea of pushing brands would have been seen as inauthentic, or something you did after your career peaked, or as some kind of selling out. But no longer. Why not? Why wasn’t it selling out for rappers to embrace and promote Versace when it would have been seen that way for rock ‘n’ roll and R&B icons or pop superstars? Well, one reason, as we saw with “My Adidas,” was that it’s not a sellout when it’s authentic to your taste and style anyway and you’re already doing product placement for free. It was part of the art and far from selling out; Andy Warhol proved that when he painted iconic pop art portraits of products like Campbell’s soup cans, paying homage to one of the most classic, enduring American brands ever.

When I asked Jay-Z for his insights, he pointed out that many of the rock musicians had come from sustainable backgrounds, seeking acclaim for their talent and a level of cool that playing music gave them. For rappers coming out of the projects, getting paid and bettering yourself is part of gaining credibility. Jay reminded me also that it’s not selling out when a kid in the projects sees a guy rapping about Sprite or the Gap because they know he’ll be getting the money and that feeds his or her own aspiration. It’s not that being acknowledged for talent and great work isn’t desirable, but getting paid trumps those goals. I agree. I don’t think many hip-hop fans ever subscribed to the concept of selling out, not when you come from nothing and a deal can become part of your rags-to-riches success story.

Recall the first episode of “The Tanning Effect” where he sat down with Jay Z to talk about the impact of hip hop on culture, fashion, attitude, swagger, everything….


Check out the 2nd installation of HuffPost Black Voices ongoing video series, “The Tanning Effect”.

The Tanning Effect Interview Part Deux (2):


Making Hip-Hop Stars into Status Symbols, Steve Stoute is the advertising dude who makes big deals happen for Jay Z, Beyonce and others….

farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.

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