I had to y’all. For those of you who still eat that garbage, don’t take it personal. I to had a love affair with the tasty but unhealthy fast food chicken chain. I remember when they first came on the scene. Being a lil kid in Brooklyn NY, I would pester my mother relentlessly to one day take us there, I naively assumed that my favorite cartoon CHARACTER at the time had ingeniously started selling chicken and I would have to check it out, ASAP! But I do remember thinking “If this is POPEYE’S chicken, how come they don’t sell any spinach?” Wasn’t the wonderful vegetable packed with nutrients essential to healthy living, the very thing Popeye used to kick Brutus’s ass and get his chick, Olive Oil back in almost every episode? “Well why don’t they have any, Ma” I asked. She responded that it wasn’t the same as the cartoon; they just used the name to sell it to us. That was my first experience with direct Marketing and Promotion.

I dislike Popeye’s not only because they sell unhealthy, cheap food, mostly in poor economic areas, but also those horrendouscommercials. We’ve all seen em, for example, the 1 with the older BLACK lady, who wants you to believe she is in every location, somewhere in the back, happily “fryin up some chicken, FOR yall” I’ve done the research and we are not the originators of “Fried Chicken” even though, Historically we (blacks) are considered to be. For the record, Popeyes was started by Al Copeland, a white guy from Louisiana, who also bought Church’s Chicken in 1982. Which brings me to 2012-13. An era that is dominated by hip-hop, not because we sell the most records, that hasn’t happened since 2001, but because we “the hip-hop generation” consume the most! Most records now a days are nothing short of commercials. With your favorite rapper proudly boasting about what he has and buys, while throwing it back into your face that you can’t and probably never will be able to afford any of it.

The major corporations began taking notice in the 80’s. RUNDMC famously made 20,000 people hold up their ADDIDAS in Madison Square Garden and it was officially on and poppin. It took time though and there was some resistance. Timberland let it be known they didn’t give a daam how many “rappers” flaunted and named dropped the boot company they were not made for “us” and didn’t want to be associated with hip-hop publically, but didn’t mind the boost in profits for the fledgling corp. Cristal Champagne dissed us to! After rappers started making real money and hanging with Hollywood stars, they began to get a taste of what the wealthy enjoy. Street cats with large amounts of cash to blow in clubs too were hip to the fancy, sweet tasting drink. But it was the rappers that made it famous to “us”, the consumer.Did Cristal thank us? NO. Jay-Z, a smart dude, began to take notice. He saw the power in his own lyrics and how what HE endorsed could sway his listeners one way or another. Steve Stout, who some of you may remember was cracked in the head by Puffy with a Cristal bottle! (say word,), some years back, is now the liaison between Big Corp USA and the hip-hop world. Him and Jay work together on a number of Ad deals, including Budweiser beer. I can’t knock the hustle (no pun) one bit. He has the Nets thing poppin too. You couldn’t write a better story. Local kid, blows up in the rap world, comes back, and brings an NBA team a few short blocks from the very projects he grew up and sold drugs in. The 4040 clubs, the list goes on. He owns none of them is the face we identify with, so they pay him well. Even Ice Cube, the hardcore political gangsta rapper, now has a deal with Coors beer.Rappers have essentially said, “If you can’t beat em, join em.” Cut me a check. Ciroc is not owned by Puffy, he has a share in the profits, which now have skyrocketed 500% since he got involved a few years ago.

Dr.Dre topped the Forbes list this year, without dropping one record anybody cared about due to the deal he made with Beats By Dre headphones and HTC. Most music videos are sly advertising tools, with product placement throughout. If you see a bottle of liquor deliberately displayed, somebody got a check. But your not getting a dime, in-fact you’re spending hard earned cash, for cds, mp3s, concertsetc.… Can we blame them though? We, the people, are too easily accepting and dismissive of the messages being sent to our children and us. Rappers are capitalist and it takes money to maintain the lifestyles they brag about. Bills got to be paid. All it takes is one MC to name drop on one of his hits, and people run to the mall or the bar and spend money they don’t have to feel like their “in”, or validated. Sure, it’s your paper, spend it how you may. But while you copping them new Js for 250$, ask yourself, do you really like the high priced sneaker? Or did somebody tell you, you liked them.



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