Chapter 9: ‘One time I’ma show you how to get rich!’ Rap music, wealth and the rise of the hip-hop mogul
In little more than two decades, rap music, and its associated hip-hop culture, has gone from underground phenomenon to a multimillion-dollar business. It has gained a ubiquitous presence and lasting foothold in the market economy, achieved transnational acceptance, and co-opted the mainstream music industry to generate huge sums of money. In 2000, it was estimated that rap music generated US$1.8 billion in sales in the United States alone (Kun, 2002), and in 2006 US$1.3 billion, equivalent to 11.4 per cent of the entire US music market (Miller-Young, 2008). But hip-hop culture also extends beyond music and dance; it is not merely a form of entertainment but has become a lifestyle, helping to break down the separation between pop culture and daily life (Jenkins, 2011), influencing fashion and consumption of a wide range of lifestyle goods. As Miller-Young (2008) argues, hip-hop has become the main form of legibility for African American culture, and one that has diasporic and global effects. As a well-established industry with considerable economic power, hip-hop has created significant economic opportunities for recording artists, producers and entrepreneurs (Cox Edmondson, 2008).
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