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August 2005

Posts from July 2005

Pimp My Kicks!

Poet/writer hardCore of 3rd Eye Open dropped some serious knowledge on my entry about rappers nabbing car/sneakers endorsements, which is related to this POST about rappers and hip-hop marketing. Read below what the "advertising pimps" think about hip-hop:

From the mighty words of hardCore:

Peep game, being that I'm in advertising let me give you a little inside peek at how advertising pimps are looking at hip hop. For years companies have been sponsoring rappers on the low low. Nike has what they call "Nike athletes", people who wear their gear exclusively. And even though that entertainer didn't have their own shoe, seeing them in countless videos and appearances wearing Nikes made its point.

1) When a "rapper" signs any kind of deal with a major corporation, for the most part, they are looking to use the signing as major PR, and if the artist has a hot song out, they'll promote a tour or something of minimal cost like that to get the company's name out.

2) Then there are commercials. Most of the TV ads that include rappers are diversity efforts, meaning they'll get play mainly on BET, and certain programming on mainstream TV geared toward African-Americans -- like Soul Train or The Essence Music Awards, or some Black show on UPN. Very rarely, almost never, will you see a rapper in a mainstream commercial -- when you do, it's memorable. Think [of] LL Cool J's and Run-DMC's Dr. Pepper commercial -- that was a mainstream commercial targeting a much bigger audience than hip hop.

3) Now you have rappers with their own shoes and cars named after them. Yet, those cars are always novelty cars, and those shoes, are usually treated as such too. For the corporations it's a win-win. If the rapper stays out of jail, and has a hit song, the company rides out the windfall, and enjoys [the] sales boost amongst young African-Americans. If the rapper gets in trouble, or if the product line fails, they sever ties with him, and his commercial, or print ad, or radio commercial never sees the light of day.
[Example: Pharrell Williams and Reebok. Pharrell's ice cream sneakers are wick-wick wack! -- Trent]

Using the borrowed interest of the hot celebrity of the moment is just a cheap trick advertiser to gain their products attention. But whereas major money and thought goes behind developing the brands athletes endorse, the scope in which companies view these hip-hop artists is very small and short term.

Don't be fooled into thinking some company understands African-Americans because they [signed] a deal with some hot artist. Look at their history with our market. Ask yourself how often in the past have you seen Black people in their commercials. Do research about their minority hiring within their company. Because if you don't, and you rush the store to buy some shoe with a rapper's name on it, when you leave that store, understand that you've just been pimped!


This, Era, Post Is, Era, Wicked Haht!

How ah ya?

I swiped this from No Frontin'. I took the personalized "Best Places To Live" test (via RealEstateJournal), which picks the best cities for you based on your preferences of weather, quality of life, traffic conditions and other key elements. Below are my "Top 11" results. The first number is the rank, the second is the percentage match, third (in bold) is the city and fourth is the city's population:

01 -- 100 -- Boston, Mass. -- 3,263,060
02 -- 95 -- Long Island, New York -- 2,660,285
03 -- 93 -- San Francisco, Calif. -- 1,655,454
04 -- 92 -- Washington, DC -- 4,563,123
05 -- 92 -- New York, New York -- 8,643,43
06 -- 86 -- Pittsburgh, Pa. -- 2,379,411
07 -- 85 -- Chicago -- 7,733,876
08 -- 83 -- Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. -- 2,765,116
09 -- 82 -- Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif. -- 9,127,751
10 -- 82 -- Bergen-Passaic, NJ -- 1,311,331
11 -- 81 -- Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, NJ -- 1,091,097

It looks like my personality is more suited for the east and midwest, according to this survey. Boston might be the place for me since I am Irish (**wink, wink**) and I do love clam chowda.

I have never been to San Francisco, so I might travel there and see how they put it down. Minni-Apple (aka Minneapolis) is a cool city, but their winters are brutal. But here's one recommendation: Chiang Mai Thai is the best Thai restaurant in the twin cities. Yup!

Wicked Cool!


Out Of Control?

I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man . . ."
-- Jay-Z

Blogger Tracy Clayton (of Mixed Reviews) wrote at Hip-Hop Blogs that rappers such as 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit and most recently Nelly, are becoming the new athletes as they're now endorsing their own sneaker lines. But while those rappers are selling their soles for sneaker deals, it looks like Missy Elliott -- who herself has a sneaker deal with Adidas -- is going to drive pass them in her new jeep, "beep, beep" vrrrroom.

Chrysler Group is in talks with Missy Elliott to expand the promotion of the automaker's new Jeep Commander -- the SUV that appears in the rapstress' "Lose Control" video -- in an effort to paint a street-smart attitude for the vehicle. The pact would include Missy contributing new music to a 30-second spot that's set to be shown to dealers in September.

Yes, folks, cars will be the next big thing for rhyme-spitters to endorse. As Reebok becomes the home for rappers to hock kicks, Chrysler is setting themselves up to be the goto place to cruise for a SUV.

Turn on the television and you will hear Kool Keith spitting rhymes about an "adrenaline rush" in a car commercial for Chrysler's Dodge Charger. Mos Def's spoken-word rhetoric is featured in an ad for the GMC Envoy Denali, as well. Rhyme-slingers who couldn't nab sneakers deals -- mostly indie-rap stalwarts -- will jump in and snatch up this lucrative market, fo' sho. I wouldn't be surprise to see Little Brother, Common, Cam'ron (and his Dip Set crew) spitting bars for [name your favorite car here] in a TV ad. Will luxury car companies like Bentley, Cadillac and Jaguar follow suit? I know that producers like Prince Paul and DJ Shadow have contributed music for Jaguar commericals, but I haven't seen nor heard a rapper pitch the luxury vehicles (other than in their glossy videos).

Dang, imagine rap sensation Mike Jones in a Cadillac car commerical. Here's the treatment:

"Back Then'" instrumental comes on . . .

Chickenhead: "Whose Cadillac Escolade(sic) is that?"
Corny Nigga: "It's Mike Jones's"
Chickenhead: "Who?"
Corny Nigga: "Mike Jones"

Announcer: Whenever Mike is tippin' on fo-fos, he's cruising in a Cadillac Escalade. Smooth interior, dual-side air bags, supreme handling, road-side suspension and customized signature spinners. Yeeeah, now that's gangsta.

Mike Jones pulls up in the car. Stops. And the window rolls down.

Mike: "Back then, they didn't want me, now I'm hot they're all on me. Buy this car, bitches."

Fade to black

End of commerical.

So, Tracy posed this question: Will hip-hop artist now tone down their lyrics and attempt to go more mainstream and/or pop in light of lucrative endorsements?

No doubt. Ka-ching!

And to fuel Tracy's argument even more -- Jay-Z is set to appear on Topps' 2005-2006 basketball trading cards. Jigga's mug will be featured in the 2005-2006 Topps NBA card series as a Rookie Card, a Relic Card and an Autographed Card. The collection arrives in stores Aug. 24.

Jigga a NBA rookie? Nah, kid. I think he's the new Jordan.

Hip-hop is big business, baby. Hate it or love it.


Don't Knock The Hustle

Like a Pimp: Terrence Howard

"Man, it's hard out here for a pimp . . . "

Hip-Hop is in the news -- some of its good and some of its bad.

Hustle & Flow, starring Terrence Howard and Ludacris, had a solid opening weekend, hustlin' up an estimated $8.1 million to finish in seventh place. Meanwhile, the film director's Craig Brewer recently inked a two-year production deal with Paramount Pictures. The first film under the pact is the previously announced Black Snake Moan, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci.

Terrence Howard will probably nab a Best Actor nomination for his performance in Hustle & Flow. And don't knock Terrence's hustle either -- homeboy has three more movies coming out this year. Pimpin' is in his vein, beeyotch!

Two employees from the Source magazine allegedly were involved in a shootout at a club in New York Saturday night that left three men hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds. According to reports, the five men were embroiled in a heated argument over rap music, which then spilled outside of the club and into a full-scale brawl. The two suspects allegedly then pulled out guns and started firing at the three victims.

They called this tragic incident a hip-hop shooting. Now if these two alleged gunmen were stock brokers, would they have called this a Wall Street shooting? I think not. Nevertheless, this is a messed-up situation. No one should ever get shot-up over rap music. Let's keep it positive, folks.

The Diddster -- P. Diddy for the clueless -- is working hard to make sure his Bad Boy record label and his Sean John fashion company are financially successful this year: The 411 on P. Diddy's Empire

'90s female gangsta rapper Boss is taking another stab at the rap game. I was a big fan of Boss back in the days when she released her debut album Born Gangstaz. That track "Deeper" was on heavy rotation in my boom box. I liked her more than her fellow rhyme-spitter Yo-Yo. Read It: Same As the Old Boss
(Hat tip to Funk Digi)

Props to journalist Jeff Chang on winning the prestigious American Book Award for literary excellence for his page-turning, hip-hop history book Can't Stop Won't Stop.

Smooth jazz artists like Gerald Albright, Roy Hargrove, Ledisi and others have raided the vaults of Def Jam Records and reworked several of the label's classics for the upcoming tribute CD Def Jazz (due Aug. 9). Among the tracks covered include Ledisi's version of Oran "Juice" Jones' "The Rain," Roy's reworking of Method Man's "All I Need" and Gerald's take of Slick Rick's "Hey Young World."

This is kinda hot. This collection reminds me of those Hidden Beach's "Unwrapped" compilations. But there are some glarling omissions on "Def Jazz." Where's Public Enemy's "Don't Believe the Hype"? And instead of reworking LL Cool J's "Doin It" why not cover his classic banger, "Big 'Ol Butt" (Just Joking). The list is endless, of course, so here's wishing that "Def Jazz, Vol. 2" and "Vol. 3" are in the works.

Rap Quotes of the Week: Hip-Hop 101

"D, it's not a game out [here]. They don't respect old school artist[s] the way they used to. I rap because it's how I pay my bills. I can't get a job in McDonald's and have a kid telling me, 'Kane, let me get a burger and some fries, and no half steppin' with that either.'"
-- Big Daddy Kane

(via D-Nice's blog)

"I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man . . ."
-- Jay-Z


Booty Call

(Bootylicious model Amber/ Photo credit:

This is so true.

Excerpted from the archives of journalist Jimi Izrael:

Niggas drop their wives and trade up for a mo' betta booty, never realizing that some of the ghetto onions of today are the flat double-wides of tomorrow. It's important to find a sister with an ass that will age well -- but how can you tell? Here's a hint: if you wanna know how your woman's ass is gonna age, you gotta meet the future in-laws. When her moms gets up to refresh the beverages, sneak a peek at her pooter. Mom's butt is no crystal ball, but it's a helluva good indicator. Just be sure not to stare -- your girl will catch you out there, besides the fact Dad keeps a strap right under his dinner napkin. Damn. More Kool Aid? Hell yeah, Ma.