“I’m From Rags to Riches’: The Death of Jay” RESPONSE

This article reminds me of how Jay-Z would constantly say he’s retiring from rap but then he’d always return with an album. However, this couple years f he has said nothing about retiring yet I have literally only heard 2 or 3 new verses from him which actually saddens me a bit to the fact that he might actually be done for good.

Over the years Jay-Z has definitely changed and it has definitely also angered some of his fans who believe he got worse over the years. But honestly Jay-Z is just rapping about the life he is living, he can’t keep rapping about “selling bricks” when he doesn’t even do that anymore. One of my favorite lines from him have to be “Niggas want my old shit, buy my old albums” because it’s true. If you’re complain about liking the old Jay-Z better well than go listen to his older stuff.

However, I do not like the article title “Death of Jay-Z”. HOV is not dead all he has done is matured over the years into becoming a successful business man. Jay-Z is the ultimate hustler when it came to the rap game as his rags to riches story was no joke and it kills me to see all these trash rappers like Lil Yacthy, Lil Uzi and Lil whatever be so successful in Hip-Hop. I feel that they are almost undeserving of their success.

One of my favorite verses from him in a while has to be from Drug Dealers Anonymous where he is basically just laughing when Tomi Lauren calls out Beyonce for her controversial halftime show performance and calls out her husband, Jay-Z, to be a drug dealer. Basically just mocking her by sampling what she said in the song. The entire verse is about his 14 year drug dealing past and basically him just flexing how rich he is and it’s great. He even threw in a line about “Damn Daniel” like who new Jay was so hip to whats popping’ on social media, he’s literally the last rapper in the world that I would expect such a reference from.


Interactivity and Video Games

Karen Collins brings up some good points about interactivity of video games, especially between the creator and consumer. While in other mediums the creator simply creates something and the consumer merely experiences it, with video games the creator creates and the consumer not only experiences it but also participates in partially creating their own experiences. Collins uses sound as an example, where the player’s character might change the music depending on where they walked or what they did. Other media only hold the consumer’s partial attention, like a television show or radio station playing the background. With a video game, people give their full attention because it is not only engaging physically but also mentally.

Video game music can make or break a game and people do not realize how important music can be. Only video games have looping songs and these tunes have nice to listen to but also not grate on the player’s nerves as they continue playing. Video game sound is also important in the design of games. Horror games, for example, rely heavily on sound for their experience. In horror games, spooky sounds play off screen which is great for instilling tension and unease into players. Or when the monster appears the music picks up as the player attempts to escape. The monster is not only chasing the player’s character, but also the player themself. The more invested players are into their game, the more the character feels like an extension of themselves.


Night Club Royale

The article Night Club Royale by Josh Ells is cool and entertaining article. It is very insightful on the nightlife of E.D.M. music in Las Vegas. When most people hear or think Las Vegas they often think slot machines, poker games and chips but many people are unaware of the major financial impact of nightclubs. Although nightclubs have always played a part in Vegas entertainment, they are becoming more and more popular. This is a growing part of the Vegas industry that is having a major financial impact as well as a social effect.

Jesse Waits, a manager for XS nightclub at Encore resort in Las Vegas explains the financial importance of nightclubs in Las Vegas. XS nightclub is one of the top-grossing nightclubs in the country and at the time of the article was bringing in a million dollars a night. The key factor for the success of XS and other popular nightclubs in Vegas are the DJ’s who DJ the parties. The top E.D.M. DJ’s perform at these casinos such as Afrojack, Calvin Harris, Deadmau5 and David Guetta.

The competition between hotel resorts in Vegas to land these DJ’s is so competitive that it is basically a bidding war. In 2011 when E.D.M. was just hitting the Vegas scene and not very popular yet in America DJ’s like Afrojack had contracts that paid $50,000 a show. Currently, top DJ’s such as Afrojack are being paid anywhere from $250,000 – $500,000 a show. As the success of a DJ increases so does his or her demand to perform at nightclubs. This drives up the cost for casinos to book these DJ’s and as Waits explains its very hard to afford to keep the best DJ’s when you have competing casinos bidding on the DJ’s as well. This increase in pay for DJ’s shows how important they are for casinos and their nightlife.

When a club like XS can afford to pay a DJ $150,000 to play music for one evening and it be profitable for them the nightclub parties generate a lot of revenue. A Grey Goose bottle that cost $45 retail has a %1000 mark up in clubs such as XS. Big spenders buy $500,000 worth of alcohol in one evening at these parties. Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas who also DJ’s at the Wynn said “What makes a hit in pop music is how many times a song gets played on the radio. A hit in d.j.-land is how much alcohol is bought.” A DJ has a direct impact on the crowed and how much a crowed will spend on drinks and entertainment. If a club books a reputable dj it will bring in a bigger crowed, the club will charge more for admission and bottles and as a status quo people will pay these ridiculous prices. A major source of revenue for casinos is the club nightlife thanks to E.D.M music and their Elite DJs.

I find this article very interesting because it displays the drastic change in nightlife celebration. I feel in the past people used to focus more on the cultural aspect of music and the enjoyment of the simple things such as dancing and the actual music. In todays society the party scene is much more materialized. Now its become about who purchases the most bottles of alcohol, the biggest bottles, who spends the most money, who can land the biggest DJ etc. This kind of takes away from the actual appreciation of the music and the socializing aspect of the nightlight.


Michael Bull’s “The Audio-Visual iPod” Response

I think Bull’s article is very interesting because he speaks of iPod users trying to aestheticise their everyday routine and I never really thought about it that way. There are even memes that many people can relate to that have to do with the aesthetic of listening to music in the car on a rainy day drive, and looking out the window as if you’re part of a movie. It always bothered me to be able to hear outside noise or when my earphone falls out slightly and lets outside noise seep in, and I never really understood why. He discusses a case study with a man named Jason and calls him enlightened, and he is absolutely correct because Jason is able to understand that he is aestheticising the real world and using his imagination: “his is an audio-visual mastery of the world.”

I do wish Bull spent more time speaking of why music seems to affect our mood, but I guess that has to do with us trying to transform our world into a utopia. I believe it’s our mood that affects how our music makes transforms our utopia. I agree with him wholeheartedly when he speaks of us “iPod users” loving being able to control our real life experience, whereas in the real world we cannot.


“I’m From Rags To Riches”: The Death of Jay-Z

I totally agree with the authors perspective of Jay-Z portraying a certain image in his videos to transition himself from “the game” to becoming a corporate citizen.  Jay-Z displayed his new identity when he promoted in his Black Album that he doesn’t wear jersey but instead crisp jeans with button-ups.  I believe Jay-Z knows that in Hip-Hop artist are rarely granted distances from the roles they play in their music videos or even Hip-Hop performances.  Usually, if you act like a thug in a video it is because you want to show that you are a thug.  Jay-Z knew that whatever character he portrayed in his music video is how the public would perceive him.

If you date back to 1998 and his famous “Hard Knock Life” record, the music video portrays a community where people knew and understood one another.  Some examples would be people riding bikes, shooting craps, chatting on stoops and posting in the hood in Jigga mans fine ride.  Jay-Z claims to stretch out the game and put Jigga on top.  This sets him up to show the audience that he can do anything he puts his mind to or “change the game”.

Another form of transformation is the several names he chose- Jigga, Hova, Izzo and Sean Carter.  This is a clear display of his evaluation of growth and maturity.  He is transitioning to a corporate business man from a street thug while bringing his fans along with him.  A prime example of this is shown in the next album after “Can I Get A…”, it displays that their has been a metaphorical murder of Jay-Z and the return of Sean Carter. He is trying to show that the gangster may have retired but the hustler will last forever.  Change is not always something that we can control.

In his last videos Jay-Z looks at Hip-Hop as a tool and politics.  He pushes it forward by saying “no chrome on the wheels I’m a grownup for real”.  He knows his identity and so does the public.  He shows himself in his limo and all the pretty girls from the community join him.  He snaps his fingers and the city lights go out.  He introduces his fiancé as “the hottest chick in the game wearing my chain”.  Jay-Z displays that he went from rags to riches in his lyrics and his music videos.  He slowly makes this progressional transition into corporate and begins a new trend for other rappers.  I believe this was a stratigic move for Sean Carter because he knew the street life image could only go so far in corporate america.  He was able to notice this and capitalize on it.


Moving Beyond Pain by Bell Hooks Response

I really enjoyed this blog post and it’s discussion of Lemonade as something more than an album about Jay-Z being unfaithful. All I ever heard about Lemonade when it was released was “Oo Jay-Z better watch out” “Bey’s going in on Jay-Z” and a lot of other comments of that nature, besides people saying Lemonade was a masterpiece of visuals and music. Why did people discuss Jay-Z more than they spoke about Beyonce’s musical discussion about the way black female bodies are portrayed by mainstream media.

Unfortunately, I never saw Lemonade (the link to the stream on Blackboard didn’t work for me) but Beyoncé’s Lemonade : She Dreams in Both Worlds was basically a musical and visual analysis of Lemonade so I managed to get some gist about it. Although I do hope to watch it at some point, but I digress. It sounded like much more to me than about Jay-Z being unfaithful, and the way Bell Hooks analyzes it makes sense to me. Especially the way she sums up the blog post and the title of the song: “In that world, the making and drinking of lemonade will be a fresh and zestful delight, a real life mixture of the bitter and the sweet, and not a measure of our capacity to endure pain, but rather a celebration of our moving beyond pain.” Basically she’s summing up the fact that Bey wants equality, but knows it’ll take a while before it’s achieved. Yet, the fact that we (I believe it pertains to me as WOC but she is mostly referring to black women) can deal with and grow even with inequality, we are stronger for it. At least that is what I understood from Hooks.


“Solidarity Is For Miley Cyrus: The Racial Implications of Her VMA Performance” Response

I completely agree with the article, except for the implication that Miley did it on purpose. I’m not saying she did not explicitly say “I wanted my album to sound black,” what I’m saying is that it has a lot to do with the media.

We all know that black women and their bodies have been sexualized for years. Films would depict black women as cheaters that cannot control their sexuality. It’s also the idea of exoticism: they’re exotic (which is usually a word used for animals or plants), therefore they’re outsiders and can be treated a differently. So because of this, black women are looked down on and constantly being criticized for their bodies, and there’s definitely a problem when a Miley uses this idea as a means of changing herself and her image. She can appropriate their image and not have to deal with the repercussions–except for the repercussions of people who are calling her out.

What I’m really trying to say here is that can we really blame Miley for being a product of the media? The media says this is okay, like why didn’t anyone stop her from doing this while they were rehearsing? I’m also not saying we shouldn’t call her out for it, because we definitely should learn more and be able to discuss these issues. Why and how did Miley feel these things weren’t hurtful and inappropriate? My hope is that she has learned from it, but that does not stop other celebrities from appropriating black culture.

The media definitely needs to change and that is a whole other huge, almost unwinnable fight.

1 Comment

Solidarity is for Miley Cyrus: The Racial Implications of her VMA Performance RESPONSE

I remember watching her performance a couple years ago and thinking to myself “wow this isn’t the same girl from Disney Channel” but to an extent I understand that it’s okay to to want to change your image from being a good girl to being a young rebel instead. Although, I can see how the performance can be interpreted as racist especially by Miley saying she wants her next album to have a “black sound” and then proceeding to portray that sound through ratchet culture which is highly stereotypical. But does that mean white women can’t twerk?

It’s no secret however, that Black women are hyper sexualized in American entertainment which is practically shown in majority of rap videos. Watching music videos was probably Miley’s only way to experience “black culture” which is why her interpretation of it in her performance was so stereotypical, she simply didn’t know better.

Nonetheless, this definitely got people talking about her. I can even remember how badly Twitter blew up after the performance with enormous amounts of memes based on Miley’s awful twerking. It was a great marketing strategy for her upcoming album and probably even got her new fans. At the end of the day the music industry is a business in which you can turn publicity into profit and that’s exactly what Miley has done.




Marketing Music Videos

Reading about the marketing of gangnam style makes a lot of sense in terms of how certain things become popular on the internet. The internet judges subjects on how much of a meme they can become. Memes are an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation. Kpop generally consists of often handsome fit young men, usually in groups with members ranging from 2-3 to 10+. Psy as an artists is already an interesting artist, he doesn’t fit with what people normally associate with Kpop. He doesn’t exactly fit the “pretty-face mold of other artists in that genre.” What truly made his song so popular was the creative freedom people were allowed to do with his video.

Dae Ryun Chang’s article states a few important lessons companies could learn from Psy’s “Gangnam Style” video. One of them is “Make your product or brand more ownable.” The no copyright on the video and “Style” suffix of the song’s style played a big part in spreading among more people. This allowed people to create their own videos based on the music video while also adding their own style to it, making it their own. There was a long period of time when there was nothing but gangnam style parodies on youtube as everyone tried to cash in and get as many views as possible on the popular meme.

Another important lesson is “Be open-minded, but in a controlled way.” Psy’s crowdsourcing strategy was limited to the dancing community, so it allowed open creativity but only for the dancing community. The example he uses of crowdsourcing gone wrong, when Justin Bieber was voted to perform in North Korea, was probably one of the best examples of too much freedom in crowdsourcing. If I’ve learned anything from the internet it’s that while great things sometimes come out of it, most of the time it’s horrible and often unpredictable. Another example of crowdsourcing gone wrong is Lays’ Name Your Flavor contest, where people put outrageous words as flavors rather than picking flavors they’d actually want on chips.

Drake’s Hot Line Bling video is another example of a video that had controlled crowdsourcing and becoming ownable. People were making parodies of the video and making memes of his dance. This lead to the wide spread of his video and is a major part of the reason why his video became so popular.


Response to “DIY Democracy: The Direct Action Politics of US Punk” Response

Dawson Barrett’s article “DIY Democracy: The Direct Acton Politics of U.S Punk Collectives explains how the values of the punk market transcended over into politics. Barrett explains that those on the punk subculture aim to set themselves apart from the mainstream and have been able to do so because of how efficient it is. From my own understanding Iv deduced that through punk the younger generation was able to develop their own individual political views. The article states that, “… punk is often more successful in achieving what he calls the “subjective” aspects of politics, …, than in achieving the “objective” aspects…”. I understood this to mean that punk allows for its audience to develop an awareness of issues and the understand they role they play but it does help improve the overall problem. Barrett then goes on to take about punk as an institution that is essentially self-sufficient, “…the powerful for inclusion, the punk movement has built its own elaborate network of counter-institutions, including music venues, media, record labels, and distributors.” The punk movement is based on challenging the government and society by not conforming and embracing individuality; by establishing and creating its own community it separates itself from the mainstream.

Overall, I thought that this article provided an in depth look and understanding of what the driving forces behind the development of punk are. I found it particularly interesting that punk actually places a lot of emphasis on politics and the government; I personally have always understood punk to be about ‘sticking it to the man’ and showing that you don’t care. However, this article detailed the ways in which those involved in the punk movement were possible more politically aware than other groups or subcultures. Another point I found interesting was that from the outside looking in it would see that within punk there aren’t any rules that are to be followed, its seems more like a free for all but, because of political and social awareness there are rules that are involved to avoid issues within the group. In conclusion, though the goal of punk was to set itself apart, I found that it more or less abided by the same structure but allowed from more individuality.


Leave a comment