The Most Consumerist of Tunes
Of all the genres of music, which is the most obsessed with consumer culture? If perusing the radio dial, on what station would one likely the most references to products available on store shelves? Of all forms, rap music is the most obsessed with consumer culture and in the most popular of its songs one hears references to things on sale and the aspirations that only come from a culture of having more.
Rap songs frequently reference expensive products like cars, drinks and homes. It often includes the rapper bragging of his or her new-found wealth and ability to patronize someone with the benefits of these riches. Herein lies the greatest irony: how can a a music form that works to celebrate individuality and rebellious actions brag of having stuff? Consumer culture is the least individualizing force in society and yet so many of rap’s popular performances not only feature but celebrate having things.
Despite criticisms of the corporate music industry that focus on cheesy pop tunes and artless songs, rap music is by far more commercially focused. Despite a framing of gangster/ rebel/ powerful individuals cast as ideal audience and artist the form is highly inclined to common perks of wealth. Fancy cars and things might easily connect to bubble gum tunes but it is inside rap music that one finds more obsession with stuff.