Over the summer, Steve Stoute, the CEO of the brand-marketing firm Translation, went to Wimbledon with his friend and business partner, the rapper Jay-Z, to cheer on Rafael Nadal during the Spaniard’s fourth-round battle with Juan Martín Del Potro. With the match tied in the third set, BBC cameras spotted them. “The man is still here,” said BBC tennis analyst Boris Becker in his heavy German accent. “The Jigga Man, that’s what they call him—Shawn Carter.”
Where most viewers saw a star-sighting. Mr. Stoute saw a “tanning moment.”
Mr. Stoute, in his recent book The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy (2011, Gotham Books), defined “tanning” as “the catalytic force majeure that went beyond musical boundaries and into the psyche of young America.” That’s a pretty thick slice of marketing-speak, but the gist of it is simple: hip-hop has radically changed culture and corporate America.
And Mr. Stoute has had a central role in the transformation. Read More