Saturday, May 06, 2006
Profits of rage
I know, this is a very old-school, and not very original, pun. But it's what comes to mind as I try to catch up on my reading today, going through the December 15, 2005 issue of Rolling Stone, which attempts to assess the topic, "Hip Hop Now." As I read about Jay-Z and his clothing lines and his two Manhattan penthouses worth $17.5 million, I understand better why I have so much trouble getting interested in hip-hop these days. All the endorsements and the bling-bling and the bizness deals make the whole notion of "keeping it real" appear totally ludicrous, and so even when I hear great rap music, it just makes me long for the days of rap oppositionality and marginality. But maybe my idea that part of the pleasure of listening to creative tunes could be connected somehow to progressive politics is hopelessly naïve.
Here's one item from that Rolling Stone issue that really struck me: "Last year, brand names got mentioned nearly 1,000 times in the hip-hop-dominated Top Twenty singles chart, according to the San Francisco marketing firm Agenda. The year's most blatant product placement surfaced in Petey Pablo's massive hit 'Freek-a-Leek': 'Now I got to give a shout-out to Seagram's gin,' Pablo announced at the track's end,''cause I'm drinkin' it and they payin' me for it.'" The product placement deal was cut by Tony Rome of Maven Strategies.
I think I'll go indulge my melancholy and drink some Seagram's.