Continuing its four-night run, Vh1 aired the third episode of the book-turned-documentary The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the New Rules of the Economy, which chronicles the movement of hip-hop culture into the mainstream. Here, 5 things you should've learned from Part Three. —Andrew Asare
1. The relationship between Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre extends beyond artist and record executive.
A partnership that goes beyond the Beats, the business relationship between Dr. Dre and Interscope Records founder Jimmy Iovine stems back from the earlier days of The Chronic. Propelling hip-hop further into the mainstream, Iovine was responsible for placing “Aint Nuthin’ But A G Thang” on MTV and Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg on the cover of Rolling Stone, dubbing them as the Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of Hip-Hop.
2. Hip-Hop helped Tommy Hilfiger dominate the '90s as the premier fashion brand for black youth.
Influenced by the saggy pants and oversized clothing he saw in Harlem, Hilfiger fashioned his clothing line into “street chic," a major tanning moment in fashion. His inspiration from the streets impacted him so much that he recruited hip-hop artists as models.
However, it wasn’t until Snoop came along and performed on Saturday Night Live, wearing a Hilfiger jersey, that the upscale brand was put on the proverbial map. “Snoop was on SNL wearing the jersey and the next day they sold out of Bloomingdales and it was the beginning of this phenomenon, so Snoop set it up for me,” said Hilfiger. "It was amazing."
3. Sean “Puffy” Combs carved a special lane for aspiring black record label executives.
Forever changing the model of the label exec, Puff made way for rappers and entrepreneurs to achieve corporate status. Going against the grain, the head-honcho of Bad Boy not only promoted records, but a lifestyle—using opulence as influence. The result: Bad Boy Records made over $100 million dollars one year and had staying power on the Billboard charts.
“I think what we did differently—myself and Jay Z—is that we understood our value, we understood our impact,” said Diddy. “[We understood that] you had to have that work ethic that you were going to make it out of your situation and become something better than what society had planned for you. And that was the attitude of hip-hop that we bought in the '90s.”
4. Hype Williams and Brett Ratner hold the titles as most revered hip-hop music video directors.
Before any old Joe grabbed a camera and used Final Cut Pro to cut music videos, directors Brett Ratner and Hype Williams were seen as the auteurs of hip-hop culture. Turning videos into mini-movies, Ratner says he was the first director to feature high fashion models—for Heavy D and The Boyz “Nuttin But Luv” Meanwhile, Williams provided "an authentic, street vision but showed aspiration," as Steve Stoute stated.
5. FUBU will go down in history as the brand that tricked The GAP.
Though product placement was a business tactic utilized by hip-hop and major corporations, FUBU executed this tactic most effectively. Turning a $30 million-dollar apparel line in into a $300 million dollar legacy, FUBU displayed their FB logo in a commercial via ambassador LL Cool J, a sly, strategic business move that not only helped their brand accelerate but skyrocketed The GAP sales for over two years.