In an effort to carry on the recent tide of anti-marketing sentiments I’ve been observing on the net, which seems to be a good way to assert one’s anti-corporately-influenced individualism (yes, I’m making up words), I would like to let the world know that I am a sensitive person who prefers not to be bombarded with advertisements that manipulate my senses and/or my sense of identity. That being said, I kind of dig this new 50cent commercial. More so because of the unapologetic undertone I perceive in the slogan but also because I know it afforded some hiphop-related individuals to get paid off of Reebok’s dispicable attempt to get themselves out of a whole, or should I say an abyss, that would have encapsulated their sneaker business had it not been for the sudden rise of an “identifiable” market that could, supposedly, be easily reached.

Thank goodness Rbk is now here to remind us “it’s all about the ballers, beats and hangin’ in the streets.” We should be grateful. HipPop and marketing are currently in a mutually beneficial relationship and, although I might poke fun and point out some inconsistencies or contradictions, I am in no way knocking it. Mickey Pant, ex-chief marketing officer of Reebok, and Jay-z made a great team:

Jay-z – According to his rap sheet, when he was 12 he shot his brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry.

Muktesh “Micky” Pant – According to a company press release, he stepped down from Reebok to start a yoga business and “pursue his life-long dream of establishing a business that connects him to his roots in India, a country where wellness of the mind, body and spirit is held in high regard and serves as the very essence of the Indian culture”

Anyway, HipPop and big business are here to make our world a better place, so to speak. And I happen to think it’s great that both sides are currently benefiting. Big money is coming off of its pedestal and embracing (or should I say piggy-backing?) what it can’t control, much like it did with past cultural revolutions. As a result Reebok, Pepsi, KFC and countless others get to sell some more of their products and the underclass, for lack of a softer word, normally associated with HipPop gets to cake-off. Not only that, they get to cake-off, live in mansions, travel, get laid, have kids and send their kids to the best schools. Tadow! Bladow! That’s the real-deal Holyfield. That’s the true benefit if you ask me. Yes, a retractable roof for your in-door, in-ground infinity-pool is dope, but I know (hope?) most people, including Ice-T (see MTV cribs), will agree that it does not outweigh the education your child will receive from going to the best private schools or the character your first-born will develop by being able to work to gain experience, instead of mopping floors solely to be able to afford $100 Nikes.

Man oh man (is that the expression I always hear on TV?), what a day we live in. United Paramount Network is on the rise, Mark Echo’s Yakira LLC is opening Ecko Unltd stores all over the country and the Board of Directors of Vivendi Universal seem to have no problem with the fact that ex-thug Jay-Z is running a big chunk of their music business. I guess they might be more concerned about the fact they had to reduce the amortization period for Universal Music Group’s recorded music catalog and music publishing copyrights from 20 to 15 years:

“This change in estimate resulted from the company’s annual impairment review of intangible assets at the end of 2003, which determined that estimated useful lives were shorter than originally anticipated, primarily as a result of the weakness of the global music market. As a result, the prospective amortization expense in 2004 was increased by €63 million.”

Sorry for the tangent. To me, right now anyway, a company like Ecko is a reflection of the upbringing of a class of society. Girlfriends is a great example of an oppressed people finally shining on TV. And 50cent appearing in millions of people’s homes, virtually laughing at the world is very gratifying. Although philosophically one can wonder about the loss the world will suffer when a sub-culture joins and becomes one with the popular culture, I think I need to get over that (yes, I’m trying to convince myself). Things do not last forever, or more than an instant. Rap/breakin’/free-basin’/robbin’/spray-paintin’ will never exist again as they did two decades ago. I’m still trying to make sense of things in my mind but I can’t help but feel optimistic (let’s hope I don’t crash). That’s not to say misrepresentations of this or any other subculture do not disturb me, but could this be progress?

On a similar note, Pepsi is going to get pimped by Rene McLean and his powersummit spin-off known as McLean Entertainment Group (or is it RPM Group?). According to Adrants, McLean & Co. will “recruit top urban DJs to serve as “soda Ambassadors” promoting Pepsi products with on air mentions, club mentions, block parties, photo shoots, specialty mix tapes and other intertwined co-branded cross promotions.”

Sources: prohiphop, adrants 1, adrants 2, find articles, powersummit, rbk streets, 50cent commercial, rapdirt, imediaconnection, smartmoney, eckounltd, vivendi universal, upn