I can’t tell what was hotter last week: the Internet or New York City.
I was bummed that OZY Fest in Central Park was canceled due to the heat although it was obviously the right call. What a dope concept: thought leaders, musicians, celebrity chefs, and sports stars all in one “idea gumbo.” Maybe next time the pot won’t boil over…
Arizona Iced Tea’s second installment of the Bodega collaboration series went off despite the weather, though still not as planned. Last year’s “Great Buy 99” pop-up was phenomenal but this year they took it too far. It had all of the hype and none of the creativity. They sold a limited number of Arizona-inspired Adidas kicks at $0.99 and caused a frenzy on the streets. A good example of a flash sale gone wrong.
The Internet had a flawed craze of its own this week, in the form of FaceApp. Everyone got to see the older version of themselves while playing right into the dirty hands of private data collecting biometrics companies. Access to the pictures in your camera roll? Are you joking!?!! The fact that it’s a private Russian company is alarming, but that’s secondary to the fundamental forfeiture of rights that this app demands. We need less social media vulnerability going into the 2020 election cycle, not more. There are no silver linings, only opportunities in crisis, so maybe the discussion around privacy & data risk will finally be had. The fine print ain’t fine with me!
Someone took the hype and did it right, though, and that was team Nas. The Lost Tapes II dropped following a tremendous awareness-building campaign. This album came at me from every direction: Apple Music push notifications, snipes on the streets, and all kinds of cuts in my Instafeeds. The scavenger hunt really caught my attention, laddering up to winners getting access to a secret release party at my favorite art exhibit of the summer, Beyond The Streets in Brooklyn. This was the perfect place to throw down considering the cover art was masterfully created by street sculptor, Daniel Arsham. 20 copies of the artwork are going for $10,000 each and all of the proceeds are going to charity.
The party also featured a taping of the hit podcast and Revolt TV show, Drink Champs. Elliott Wilson’s tweet summed up the power of what took place that night: “Nas put out an album at 45, on a label he has equity in (Mass Appeal), then did an interview with Nore on a platform that Nore created (Drink Champs) that’s partnered with Puff (Revolt TV) and paired the release with Tidal…and not to mention at the ultimate graffiti exhibit…Hip Hop is aging beautifully.” The fact that Nas remains relevant with songs he recorded this long ago is a testament not just to his ability in the booth, but his marketing savvy. Then there’s the arena tour this summer with a top 5 album on the charts. Legend.
We finally got some relief in the form of rain, but the heat is still on. I’ll see you at RapCon this week (National Sawdust in Williamsburg, 2 pm – 6 pm) where I’m leading a discussion on deconstructing marketing in the modern era. I’m excited to see the independent hip-hop scene rising up to continue shaping culture!