Posted by Dave
Rap News Network
6/23/2005 10:31:13 AM
Tags and topics realted to this article include Mos Def.
So I'm sitting at home half watching the NBA finals half watching my newborn daughter stir in her crib. Well maybe 75% daughter 25% game(Defense is boring and daughters are a blessing) but that's two topics that'll have to wait because suddenly 100% attention went right to the screen at the unmistakable voice and cadence of none other than the Mighty MosDef. Now I could listen to Mos rap about paint drying and it would still be fly so it wasn't until this commercial was over that it sunk in what I just witnessed. In one sixty second spot for the GM Danali, Mos Def crossed the thin line from the entrepreneurial spirit of Hip-hop to total sellout and worst of all hypocrite. Before I get into why, I need to reiterate my respect for Mos' career to date and his up til now ability to separate his art from his hustle so to speak. It is because of this respect that I'm writing this.
With that said, let me explain why this really left a terrible taste in my mouth by an artist who in my eyes has lost his integrity. It has to do with my favorite song off his album Black on Both Sides "New World Water". In this song Mos rails against large corporations for their exploitation of the earth and warns of the upcoming crisis that will soon be upon us when the earth’s resources are no longer enough to sustain us. "F*%$ a bank, I need a 20 year water tank" is one of the lines made sadly ironic by his current endorsement. There's allot of talk these days about the limited subject matter in rap music, with NWW Mos Def distanced himself from the pack and showed hip-hop potential as a means for fighting the power on a global scale.
The GM Denali is among the biggest SUVs on the market today and is built solely for style and status. There is no illusion that this is bought by construction crews or taken on safari where there are no roads. A quote from the GM site "The Denali name has become synonymous with style, luxury and performance" backs up my assertion. It's the use of such an environmentally unfriendly vehicle as a status symbol that flies in the face of mos everything mos def had previously stood for. Even without the environmental hypocrisy this endorsement doesn't coincide with Mos' place in the Hip-Hop world as an alternative to the rampant materialism that permeates our culture. But I guess that's a place that was given to him and not asked for so I'll stick to the obvious.
Here's a link to GM's site and an article they have posted regarding their new pitchman.
GM appears to be completely shameless in what they are attempting to do. Sell Denali's to blacks using Mos Def's credibility in that community. I hope at this point that a backlash from his fan base will help him see the light. You do not deliver your community to corporations. There are names for people who do that. Until Mos Def breaks his ties to GM he's a part of rap history to me not it's future.
There are many layers to this. It's both insulting to his fans and hypocritical in more ways than I've hit on. I left those out to give you guys a start to a discussion I hope will ensue.
Below is the article and press release from GM
GMC Introduces New Diversity Advertising Campaigns
DETROIT (May 2, 2005) – The GMC division of General Motors Corporation announced today the details of new advertising plans featuring the recently launched Envoy Denali that target specific consumers in diverse markets. A new, original television advertisement targeted at African American consumers is set to launch on May 7, with the first peak at GMC's largest ever Spanish language campaign aimed at the Hispanic market breaking on May 12.
"We aren't simply translating our general market ads into Spanish or using
Find out more about Mos Def. Other items you may find on Mos Def include updates, news, multimedia, chat, links and more. Click here...