Tag Archives: globalization

It’s Not Selling Out, It’s Ca$hing In

Hip hop is far from the first culture to be infiltrated and subsequently mined for profit by corporations, but the trends, rhythms, fashions, and lifestyle of hip hop has global effect, from suburbanites in the Valley to hustlers in Brooklyn to cab drivers in Africa.

With a global audience, it was only a matter of time before corporations reached out to hip hop to validate their image.  To this end, corporate America has met with unparalleled success, securing rap godfather KRS-ONE and all-around mogul Jay-Z as two of their biggest spokesmen:

KRS-ONE Interview: Rap Merges with Major Brands

Jay-Z Co-Brand Director of Budweiser Select

As more hip-hop celebrities become spokespeople for brands, we see a dovetail with earlier trends (reference “Remix!”) and the artists’ answer to recording studios’ new 360 degree contracts.  As individual album sales may drop due to open source technologies, artists both become and represent brands.

Artists can certainly profit in this manner, but is this trend (a) good for the culture the artists propagate and/or (b) a risky attempt to trade on “street cred” for major companies?

Perhaps some other dons of hip hop, the Wu-Tang Clan, have the answer embedded in the lyrics to their banger “Protect Ya Neck”:

First of all, who’s your A&R
A mountain climber who plays an electric guitar?
But he don’t know the meaning of dope
When he’s lookin for a suit and tie rap
that’s cleaner than a bar of soap
And I’m the dirtiest thing in sight…


1. When worlds collide (e.g. hip hop culture and corporate America) in pursuit of a common goal (profit), at what point is the relationship between credibility and profit no longer linear and exponential?

2. How can businesses draw on the talents and experiences of artists to profit in a respectful and reciprocal manner?


Keep it Real.


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Liquid Ambition

With 97% of the world’s water undrinkable ocean and 3rd world nations (especially in Asia and Africa) suffering from a lack of potable water, access to clean water is an oft-overlooked problem Ripple Effects (see esp. 2nd to last paragraph). As one of the UN’s Millenium Development Goals, the UN aims to “reduce by half the amount of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water” Goal #7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability.

Led by Danish company Vestergaard Frandsen and their revolutionary LifeStraw, check out the following examples of innovators addressing global concerns in addition to bottom lines:



Healing Waters International

MetaVu, Inc.: Return on Environment (RoE)

Solar Water Purifier (click on “Solar Water Purifier” under Further Info.)


1. Is it possible for market based capitalism to drive profit via the solution of existing needs rather than manufactured wants? Which strategy is more profitable in the long term?

2. As the world becomes “flatter” and globalization demands not just awareness, but participation in addressing global crises, what role can your company play within its niche?


Donate some time, money, or your particular talents to an organization/project of global concern, even if acting on a local level.

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