Hip-Hop and Social Media

May 29th, 2011

This may come as a surprise to some, but I really enjoy rap and hip-hop. One of my favorite rappers is Rick Ross, whose sonorous Bigge-esque raspy voice is wonderful to listen to. I’ve also noted to Ross, a/k/a @RickyRozay on Twitter, has been a social media fiend. I was pleasantly surprised to see a piece in Saturday’s Times profiling Ross, and his innovative use of Twitter to assemble his crew, Maybach Music Group.

Where did Mr. Ross meet his new friends, the members of Maybach Music Group? It’s 2011: he met them on the Internet.

Well, maybe that’s not where he met them, but it’s where they’re from, more or less, where they’ve achieved their greatest notoriety outside their hometowns. The new crew members — Pill, Meek Mill, Wale, among others — with heavy presences on hip-hop blogs, exemplify the modern way of getting attention.

Judging by the composition of Maybach Music Group, the speed with which it was assembled and the subsequent speed with which its album was released, it’s hard not to think that Mr. Ross used rap blogs as a scouting tool, as a virtual farm team, and also as an inspiration. The group’s rollout shows no fear of the Internet as a distribution platform or as a cannibalizer of sales: about half of the songs on “Maybach Music Group Presents: Self Made, Vol. 1” (Maybach Music Group/Warner Brothers) were made available online in the weeks before the album’s release.

Self Made looks like a sick album. Props to Ross for using social media to reinvent hip-hop.