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The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy
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The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  248 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
The business marketing genius at the forefront of today's entertainment marketing revolution helps corporate America get hip to today's new consumer-the tan generation - by learning from hip-hop and youth culture.

"He is the conduit between corporate America and rap and the streets-he speaks both languages." -Jay-Z

"It's amazing to see the direct impact that black music
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 8th 2011 by Gotham (first published June 9th 2011)
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Mar 27, 2012 bfred rated it did not like it
I have a lot of respect for the Commissioner, but this is one of the most poorly written non-fiction books I have ever read. Coming from someone who supposedly witnessed so much of hip-hop's evolution first hand, it's frustrating to hear how canned and generic his retelling of history is. From a marketing perspective, he brings up some broad ideas but never effectively illustrates them with examples. In the end, he comes off as a self-aggrandizing simpleton who has stumbled into success by havin ...more
Melissa Phung
Nov 10, 2011 Melissa Phung rated it really liked it
After Pharrell recommended The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy on Twitter, I instantly knew that this book would be would be authentic, professional, and fascinating. Steve Stoute, the founder of Translation Consultation and Brand Imaging, specializes in connecting corporate brands with the community of hip-hop, which is refers to as “urban.” However, he advocates about how it is more than using the popularity of different artists, wher ...more
Jun 05, 2013 Nathan rated it liked it
About 75 pages into this book I realized that I had been expecting something much different than what I was actually getting from Stoute. I had very high hopes for this book and was hoping for more reflection upon hip-hop's relationship with our culture rather than simply what it has caused us to buy. After reworking my expectations for the book I was able to take it for what it was and found it to be a pleasant and interesting read.

My main issues with the book were that it sometimes seemed lik
Jun 12, 2012 Ian rated it really liked it
Wasn't sure at first but music & marketing expert, Steve Stoute's book on the lessons corporate and even political America can learn from the US evolution to a more 'poly-ethnic' cultural society is well worth your time.

Stoute's background in hip-hop lends real credibility when he outlines how that music and it's surrounding culture has been instrumental in that evolution, a process he calls 'tanning.' Even more impressive is Stoute's grasp of marketing and advertising thinking, especially
Mar 09, 2014 Kitty rated it it was amazing
I'd like to thank Steve Stoute for writing what has been plain to me for so long. Hip hop has altered the mental landscape of this country, and everywhere else in the world that has been touched by it. More importantly, the way African Americans (specifically speaking about those of us descendants of African slaves in the USA) have influenced our country, by just being ourselves. No one wants to be us, but everyone wants to be like us. Every art form we've created has been absorbed into mass cul ...more
Izzie Driftwood
Oct 27, 2011 Izzie Driftwood rated it it was amazing
Shelves: interest-piqued
Definitely a business book at times, the author does a great job integrating history & personal experiences to show what he calls "tanning" (roughly the breakdown of race as a qualifier, replaced by culture). An interesting read, it puts a lot into perspective & provides a guideline for ad execs & marketers going after the millenials (like myself) who grew up with hip hop in the air and less awareness of race as a defining boundary marker.
Mar 25, 2016 Sergio rated it really liked it
It's rare, I write a review for a book even rarer I put a complete co-sign on something. This book was a pleasure to read Start to Finish. Highly recommend it.
Dec 31, 2011 Souris rated it liked it
Mandatory reading for all hustlers of culture.
Mar 14, 2012 LiteraryMarie rated it really liked it
Steve Stoute, founder and CEO Translation Consulting & Brand Imaging, is one of the most credible sources to discuss tanning. He has a diverse background in the music industry, successful at brand marketing, and is in tune to the new generation of consumers. Steve Stoute was also inducted into the Advertising Hall of Achievement. His clients include McDonald's, State Farm, Target, Jay-Z and Reebok, Lady Gaga and MAC Cosmetics. He is also the managing director and CEO of popular hair and body ...more
Feiz Najmi
Apr 24, 2014 Feiz Najmi rated it it was amazing
A provoking and insightful look into hip hop culture, it's growth throughout the world and especially it's impact on the way business is conducted.
As an old school hip hoppa I feel a sense of pride that despite the many setbacks hip hop has delivered on it's promise-a universal culture. And the author shows this through many examples how it's mantra of stay true to yourself has helped grow and shape many iconic brands and finally how it delivered a Black President.
He highlights that America be
Oct 31, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it
Give him 2 thumbs up. Quite informative, expressed numerous examples on the effect of connecting relative businesses for the benefit of the investors and the public. Hip-Hop influenced. Took what he learned, be it street-knowledge, the music industry (dj, management, production) and put it to use in building a career for himself, reaching new heights in the advertising field, in which he started up his own agency. Through networking and continued drive for learning, Stoute's business endeavors n ...more
Briana Ford
I was excited about this book because of some of the rave reviews. It was good, but I think the expectations were set a little high. It started out strong, of course beginning with the history of hip hop. Then somewhere along the way, things got a bit repetitive. There were many good examples and case studies presented, including names you know and maybe some you don't. I enjoyed the narration by Kerry Washington, and I wish I would've counted the number of times Steve wrote "aspiration" or "asp ...more
Feb 23, 2014 Kenda rated it it was amazing
Everything about this book was golden. I loved getting a true insiders look into the way Hip Hop has changed America and the world. I am casually interested in the marketing aspect of it. I really loved the "1520 Sedgwick to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" chapter. It is my favorite chapter. I love the way Stoute writes this story. It doesn't feel like a history book but it is. It is a historical accurate depiction of how the world ins no longer a black and white place. Great read for any fan of Hip H ...more
A unique approach to the formation of cultural beliefs of Millenials and beyond. Being no fan of hip-hop myself, I found this book revealing because it doesn't focus on what separates hip-hop from other forms of music, but on its elements that are relevant across all ethnicities and social classes, mainly aspiration.

The book also features insightful thoughts and stories from industry leaders in music and marketing. Anyone who's interested in culture and marketing and the interaction between them
Jan 07, 2012 Kirsten rated it really liked it
I picked up this book more because of the connection to hip-hop than because I care marketing. Hip-hop was all over and so was marketing. I enjoyed his writing style and the interludes he threw out there. I learned an awful lot about how executives are viewing the general public - or at least, how they should be. Those with marketing background or even an appreciation for hip-hop/popular culture would certainly enjoy this book.
Kojo Baffoe
May 01, 2014 Kojo Baffoe rated it really liked it
While focused on America, the globalisation of this idea of tanning makes it relevant to anyone who deals with advertising, marketing, etc. by being extremely conscious about our evolution, Stoute forces you to take a step back and truly look at your space honestly. It reinforced my own thinking while also opening me to perspectives that I hadn't seen or struggled to articulate. I would love to share it with the many marketers and brands I interact with.
May 31, 2012 Sebri rated it liked it
The content of the book was mostly interesting. Some parts annoying as they came of like "i invented the internet." However the story telling of the deals that he researched, was told about, or was part of are GREAT. I do feel like style-wise that this read like a really good first draft of a book. He should have had better editors so that it read a little more smoothly.
Rushay Booysen
Jan 07, 2012 Rushay Booysen rated it really liked it
Very informative book written by former hip hop exec Steve Stoute.The books focus was mainly on marketing but proofed very informative in showing us the path that hip hop has taken and how it influenced purchasing.I can still recall when hip hop was limited to a few ears and how people asked me what "crap" im listening to,guess what the whole world is absorbed in it someway or the other
Jan 17, 2016 Sonia rated it really liked it
Very great marketing book, its tell a lot about how companies got the way how they are today. People should read the background on products before they buy them, especially blacks because that's who marketing people target just like they said in the book cause they know we will buy anything and will not save a dime and have nothing to our name in the end. Sad
Jul 20, 2016 Cheryl marked it as started-may-finish
I was so excited about Stoute and this book, I pre-ordered it.
Sat down the day it came out and started reading.
Now, it sits there taunting me, waiting for me to carve Reading Time out of my day.
Unfortunately, there was no audiobook available. So consumption will be s l o w .
Mar 02, 2015 SeanW rated it it was ok
Not what I expected.. As a fan of Steve Stoute I've watched most of his interviews online and respected his perspective on things but this book seem very "general" to me. Maybe it's me, read it and tell me what you think.
Tim O'Hearn
Oct 07, 2015 Tim O'Hearn rated it liked it
Countless paragraphs are punctuated with Stoute's attempts to convince you of the prevalence of "Tanning". The anecdotes throughout the book are invaluable, and the writing style isn't bad, though it strikes me as self-serving.
Natrina Lawson
Everything you ever wanted to know about the connection and intersectionality between, retail music, race and hip hop culture.
Andrea Ward
Oct 19, 2015 Andrea Ward rated it really liked it
I'm always intrigued about new businesses & marketing strategies. This book outlined how the hip-hop culture changed the way marketing is done. An interesting read for me!
John Schumacher
May 18, 2015 John Schumacher rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. I enjoy everything about the premise. I just couldn't get into it. The name-dropping throughout the book was distracting, and the actual stories were very shallow.
Varanaadu rated it really liked it
May 18, 2014
William Smith jr.
William Smith jr. rated it it was amazing
Aug 29, 2014
Jerry Ferguson
Jerry Ferguson rated it really liked it
Jun 27, 2013
Richie Miranda
Richie Miranda rated it it was amazing
Jan 21, 2012
Jonathan Jon
Jonathan Jon rated it liked it
Mar 01, 2012
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VH1's The Tanning of America Series 1 2 Feb 26, 2014 03:46PM  
  • Know What I Mean? Reflections On Hip Hop
  • The Vibe History of Hip Hop
  • The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop--and Why It Matters
  • Hip Hop Matters: Politics, Pop Culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of a Movement
  • How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop, The Machine Speaks
  • And It Don't Stop: The Best American Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years
  • The Big Payback
  • That's the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader
  • Why White Kids Love Hip Hop: Wankstas, Wiggers, Wannabes, and the New Reality of Race in America
  • One Day It'll All Make Sense
  • It's Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Rise of the Post-Hip-Hop Generation
  • The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther
  • The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't, and Why
  • Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies
  • The Grey Album: Music, Shadows, Lies
  • Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop
  • Devil Sent the Rain: Music and Writing in Desperate America
  • Dirty South: OutKast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop

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