Hip Hop Hatin’ Part, 2: Mainstream Rap Going the Way of Disco?
by Winston "Stone" Ford
Though some dude at Bol’s XXL joint tried to hurt my feelings by calling me a…um, “another nigga who doesn???t even know what the fuck he???s talking about,” (or maybe I'm the “nigga who made a post looking at one week,” who knows?), I've decided to continue my Hip-Hop Hatin' series, this time focusing on marketing in hip-hop.
Hip-Hop is Dead.
Those aren’tmy words, so blame Nas for that. Its the title of the Queensbridge rapper’s latest album, but that might be the notion coming from Madison Avenue . Why is that? Because no one knows how to watch trends like the those dudes on Madison. And said dudes aren’triding the “gravy train” any more.
This week, Sprite abandoned its hip-hop ad campaign in favor of…well, damn, I don’teven know what they're doing now. AdAge says: Five cinema spots (four 30-second and one 60-second) feature creative that rapidly cuts from one bizarre scene to the next with special codes and visual rewards in between scenes. “Welcome to 'SubLYMONal' advertising,” declares a voice over for each spot. “For best results, do not blink.” WTF?
Add to that the fact that Reebok is abandoning their hip-hop themed “RBK” ad campaign, which featured such acts as 50 Cent and Pharrell. Although the campaign produced major profits for the company and led the shoe manufacturer to a dramatic turnaround, the powers that be decided to cut the rappers from their roster as well as get out of their NBA contract after they got bought out by Addias.
So instead of hearing 50 Cent pimping your favorite product, you might want to get used to seeing James Blunt on your TV screen.
I reminded you guys of this last week. And this week’s new Soundscan numbers are more of the same. I'm pretty sure that ya'll are looking at the Soundscan numbers and you're noticing that, even though you can’tfind a rock video on MTV2 these days, there is no rap CD in the top 10. In fact, the closest “hip-hop” CD that’s in the top 20 is Gnarls Barkley, and I'm only givin' them the benefit of the doubt since Cee Lo was in Goodie Mob.
I'm glad, because that ish was gettin' out of hand. You had JC Penny rippin' off “The Choice is Yours” featuring kids who weren’teven born when Black Sheep Dropped the track. Remember the Avis commercials that had the old people getting out of a Hummer with thumping DMX? Yes, hip-hop is a universal gold mine which can be used to market to people of all races, classes, religions and colors. But damn, these dudes didn’tjust jump the shark, they harpooned it.
As other bloggers are noting…this is not a one week blip but the beginnings of a downward trend in hip-hop marketing.
But before diss me again, please remember that this can only be good for hip-hop. With hip-hop broken up into so many sub-genres, niche marketing will come strong later this year. Without the mighty dollar in the way, people will stop chasing trends and begin to make real music again.
Or at least we hope.