At a local computer store I saw a video on BET by A$AP Rocky’ called Fashion Killa. In this song he lists all kinds of products used by rich people. I had heard about such songs and how hiphop artists were using their songs for product placements but I had never heard an actual song full of this. I won’t repeat the lyrics because I don’t want to promote that kind of thinking to my fan.
Granted, this is only one song but it is an example of a conscious choice that this young man made. BET also made a choice in presenting his music to their viewing public. Music can express ideas about conspicuous consumption on a level beyond the means of average citizens. Or it can offer hope and inspiration. I wrote a few months ago about the need to write songs about the wars, the killings of innocent people on the street, songs that expressed ideas about the state of our society. A man was recently released after spending more than 30 years in prison for a crime which he did not commit. The original witness against him almost certainly lied while changing her story. And her relatives were prevented from revealing that she had lied.
It’s a story that sounds a little like that of Rubin Hurricane Carter, whose story was popularized by Bob Dylan. Why not write songs about the Angola prisoners locked away? Herman Wallace of the Angola 3 was briefly released from prison after more than 40 years served for a crime he did not commit. He died a day later while the state persecutor fought for a way to try and return him to prison. No one sings of Angola and the lives stolen from families.
Instead, there is the promotion of luxury. This may sound socialistic but it is definitely time for music to serve the needs of ordinary people. The kind of music you hear from Pete Seeger and the kind we sometimes heard during the Vietnam War.Music for people, not for products!
- No product placement in One Direction’s video for Best Song Ever? (brandsandfilms.com)
- Not-So-Subtle Product Placement (ngodshall.wordpress.com)
- Shameless, product placement-laden Gravity takes in record-breaking October haul (stubhillnews.com)