ADRIAN YOUNGE on being sampled twice on MCHG “It’s counter-intuitive” [Countdown to 2042]

In our MIXLY original series “Countdown to 2042″ we sit down with experts in their field to hear their take on diversity and how we should prepare for 2042 – the year where the population will be at its most mixed, according to the US Census Bureau. Here Adrian Younge, a producer, arranger, composer, film editor & entertainment lawyer speaks on his music making process and how it resulted in him being sampled twice on Jay Z’s platinum selling album “Magna Carta Holy Grail”.

Harry Belafonte Not Backing Down in Jay Z Beef

If you haven’t been following the beef between rapper Jay Z and civil rights-era icon Harry Belafonte, it seems it’s not too late to start. For those who haven’t been watching the spat, the feud began with awkwardly quoted statements made by Belafonte about the role and responsibilities of black celebrities today.

…I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyonce, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black.

Jay Z responded on his recent album “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” telling the widely-venerated 86-year old to “Respect these youngins boy, it’s my time now.” He followed that up in an interview to Rap Radar with the following explanation.

I’m offended by that because first of all, and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am. Just like Obama’s is. Obama provides hope.

Now, Mr. Belafonte has clarified his position in an interview with “Only the Uber Urban.” However, this clarification doesn’t soften the historic figure’s position one bit. He has the same message for modern black celebrities, and the Carter clan, as he has from the start. Check out the video to see what Mr. Belafonte has to say, and let us know what you think of this slow burning feud in the comments. Will Jay answer back? Is Belafonte right about today’s black celebrities?
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Brands caught up in Pop-Culture Crisis? Steve Stoute weighs in

At MMXLII when consecutively Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and Tyler, the Creator got caught in scandals involving their brand endorsement we were all ears. We even asked the readers in the Rick Ross case if the responsibility lay more with the artists or the brand, and 70% agreed that ” No matter what Rick Ross’ image may be, a glorification of rape should be an automatic stripping of endorsements”. Steve Stoute – the author of The Tanning of America- who is behind some of the biggest deals that have associated rap  artists with brands, weighs  in, in a blogpost for Ad Age . Here are some highlights:

Using rappers and rock stars for awareness campaigns is certainly nothing new, but if marketers were thinking strategically, they’d approach these relationships as partnering with another brand, not an individual.

Brands need to remember that they’re not buying an artist. They are acquiring the participation of a branded personality who has created his or her brand by being consistent with fans. This is a bond.

As someone who has negotiated deals between musicians and brands, I believe that success can come from taking the following actions:

  1. Spend more time with due diligence and background research. Put all the lyrics and content on the table and review them.
  2. Develop a stronger strategic rationale for these partnerships. Answer this question: “Why is this relationship being entered into?”
  3. Avoid being selectively risk-averse.
  4. Recognize that the artist is a brand and a human being—that things are going to happen.
  5. Don’t drop the artist at the first hint of a scandal. You own the relationship and are culpable, too. Find out how to make the moment something valuable for both parties.

It hardly seems fair, then, that as soon as a brand deal comes under scrutiny, the artist is pilloried in the press while the people who made the deal happen hide in the shadow of the big shiny logo and move on with their lives.

And the truth is, there has never been a scandal with an artist that has brought down a major consumer corporation. On the other hand, when you unceremoniously abandon an artist because of a scandal, you might want to consider the sentiments of the consumers you were targeting when you partnered with him. That type of action has impact on brand health, too.

Jay-Z vs the White House…Again

This morning hip-hop artist/mogul Jay-Z released a new song called “Open Letter” that sent the internet in a frenzy. Jay addresses some politicians as well as his recent trip to Cuba. A representative from the White House challenged some of Jay-Z’s lines. In our opinion he’s taking the lyrics literally [even though he downplays it as just a song] when Jay-Z says he has White House clearance. We believe that line alludes more to the fact he is friends with the President more so than the White House clearing his Cuba trip. Details after the jump. Read More