Over the past 48 hours the business side of the Hip Hop Internets havr been ringing with chatter of the impending purchase of Beats Electronics by Apple. Initial reports said that when the deal is officially closed it would make Dr Dre the first Hip Hop Billionaire. In a culture that loves grand and boastful titles this would be the king of all claims that a business man could make. Digging deeper into the numbers we learn that Dre’s 25% ownership of Beats, after taxes will landing him at about $800, 000, 000 but let’s not split hairs. As a guy that has never held a $10,000 stack before I’m not here to count the next man’s money. The predominant thought I’ve had since hearing of the Apple/Beats deal was the following. Does this really mean anything for Hip Hop?
This deal is a big thing for someone who is a part of the Hip Hop community yes that is true and that’s a great thing. It’s like seeing a family member that reaches mega success. You’re happy and proud for them, but does that directly make it a big thing for you? Hip Hop no longer needs to prove its financial clout. Everything sold to you is pushed with varying degrees of Hip Hop sprinkled on it. It may be Jay-Z, Puffy, Dre, 50 Cent, Eminem, etc,etc….these people make moves and it’s inspirational on one level but what in Hip Hop has really benefited from Jay-Z’s dealing with the Nets, 50 getting millions off Vitamin water or Puff with Revolt TV? I speak on Hip Hop not as the business it now is but the culture that still is the heart of it all. I’ve seen people call Dr Dre’s accomplishments historic for Hip Hop. How so? How is this anything we didn’t know or didn’t see coming by now?
I personally will give my moment to salute big business but in terms of this Hip Hop thing I can only big up ultra massive money deals to a point if they are not improving the overall Hip Hop landscape. Why are we still begging for content that depicts Hip Hop in a better light? Why are we still seeing the same degrading elements that we grew up with as kids but without the counter active positive images? Why is Hip Hop on an ever-growing stage yet forcing no change in the mainstream dynamic? A few years ago when Jay-Z, 50 and Puffy ended up on the Forbes list together all we got from it was a lackluster “I Get Money” remix song. I have no interest in listening to you tell me how rich you are. I got it the first time.
Let’s be 100% clear here. I remember watching what Dre had to overcome. You don’t reach a value of $800 million dollars by luck. I will never short change people that earn big things, but for the love of this culture, this lifestyle I will not be pacified with bank account braggadocio. Media controls the world. Period. With that said the number of people who cash checks off the 24/7 bashing of culture and people is very problematic to me. It’s funny, I see folk constantly attack Tyler Perry and his movies. I get that his creative formula doesn’t fit for everyone but the man puts out more attempts of positive images than most mainstream Hip Hop outlets combined.
This is a historic moment for Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Hip Hop just happens to be in the room watching it all happen.
Jason Francis | The Social Media Samurai