Brand Name Hip Hop
I'll probably be brief today. Not that I don't have a lot to say. I just haven't had the opportunity to flesh much of anything out. Anyway, over at Black Electorate there was a link to an article about name dropping in Hip Hop. Of particular interest to me was the following line:
Kanye West, on a track from his eagerly anticipated debut, College Dropout, goes a step further than Jay-Z's admission.
"The prettiest people do the ugliest things, for the road to riches and diamond rings," he raps over a Lauryn Hill sample. "We shine because they hate us, floss [flaunt] cos they degrade us. We trying to buy back our 40 acres. And for that paper look how low we stoop. Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigga in a coup ...
"We buy our way outta jail, but we can't buy freedom. We buy a lot of clothes, but we don't really need them. Things we buy to cover up what's inside. Cos they make us hate ourselves, and love their wealth."
which was a response to:
That idea of social status, as it pertains to hip-hop and branding, is a complicated one that may speak primarily to a deep insecurity, something Jay-Z shed light on in an exit interview (his recent release, The Black Album, is said to be his last) with The Village Voice.
"I've noticed that when people have had money for a long time, they never talk about it, they don't show it," he told Elizabeth Mendez Berry. "But I'm the same kid from that neighbourhood with that insecurity, who feels like if I get the car I'll feel better about myself because it's been too long feeling bad about myself. Lyor Cohen wears New Balances 80 days. If I wear Reeboks two times, I gotta get rid of 'em.
"I'll get there one day."
At present, Jay-Z is a one-man corporation. He no longer needs to name-drop Mercedes or Gucci, he can name-drop his own clothing line, Roca-Wear, his own shoes, Reebok's S. Carter Collection, and even his own vodka, Armadale. And, with his indisputable fame and riches, he has little to prove -- there's no need to overcompensate.
No doubt. Now how many shorties need to be deprogrammed because some artists need to validate himself? how many grown folks have crap credit because they wanted to look like those in the videos?