Social Media and Hip hop - The Great Analogy

Prominent digital thinker Jonathan Akwue described a great analogy in his keynote speech at the Likeminds conference in Exeter a couple of months back. What is going on social media is very similar to the formation of the Hip hop culture of the 80s onwards.

He talked about social media as a sort of remix culture where content from many different places is combined and distributed.

It also potentially gives people who were previously voiceless a voice. He also made the point that when such people are given a voice we need to be ready to hear what they have to say and we might not like it!

I wanted to take this analogy further as I see a lot of similarities. For instance, take the issue of 'so-called self appointed social media gurus'; these are the equivalent of 'wack mcs' who jack other people's lyrics to make a quick buck. There is an unwritten rule in social media which is similar to hiphop and it goes a l'tle sumthin' like this:

"Keep it real! Aint no room for fake mcs!"

The social media story for someone starting out can often seem like a classic 'rag-to-riches' story where you go from nothing to making it big. Many a Hip hop video has been known to have MCs sporting jewellry, other bling-bling, women and talking about they became ghetto superstars! It all sounds a bit like Notorious BIG's tune 'Juicy'. How true this reality is always a matter of debate though.

Then there are the 'haters'. These are people who's main agenda is to rip your reputation to shreds and show you the maximum disrepect possible. These people may be jealous competitors or people who just do not like you. The internet and social media has many playa haters who hate seeing others with talent rise and shine brite. Whether it is hating on individual or company brand. They love stir things up and get a attention!

Eminem dealt with a MC playa hater very well in his battle rap at the end of 8 Mile by disarming the other MC 'disses' before he had a chance to use them. (if you are easily offended by explicit language please do not click link and watch video). Eminem knows the other MC will try and bring up his background. Eminem shrewdly disarms this and shows up the other MC and his crew.

When it came to the other MC's turn to take centre stage with his rap he has absolutely nothing to say. You often have to be as sharp-witted as Eminem is when protecting a companies online reputation or just generally dealing with haters online in real-time!

Ultimately good social media and Hip hop is definitely about 'being fresh', keeping it real', 'coming with your own style' and 'not biting other people's rhymes'! These are all things the late rapper Guru from Gang Starr always did very well! Social media could learn a lot from him...

RIP Guru....