I finished "The Tanning of America: How Hip Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy" over vacation. It's OK. I give it 3/5 stars as a rating. I recommend it for marketers who are unfamiliar with the influence of Hip Hop and Urban culture on what's cool for everyone. Hip hop has created a great deal of what's cool and it is fascinating to learn how it started and how the influence continues today.
@SteveStoute clearly knows what he is talking about and is highly credible. He literally invented some of the tactics for artists and brand partnerships that are commonplace today. Stoute also has a good eye for what is be both cool and credible. This is where some marketers get it wrong... attaching your brand to a star or opinion leader can be a wonderful thing but if there isn't an authentic and credible brand connection, the relationship ultimately won't be worth much for either party. I liked when Stoute talked about stuff he worked on directly or that his firm did. His observations on his own work or work close to his was the best content in the book.
I did not enjoy when Stoute want far afield from his home territory. I'm not interested in his assessment of "New Coke" for example. Every marketer in the universe already knows about that story. It doesn't need to be retold in a book that is focused on Tanning. Also, I'm not particularly interested in Stoute's views on New Coke or other stories unrelated to tanning or his work. He wasn't connected to it and isn't credible when talking about it. Another pet peeve for me is Stoute's overuse of the word "unapologetically". Stoute LOVES the word unapolegetic and says it a lot in the book. I can imagine speaking with him and having him say it 10-20 times during an hour conversation. The word is overused in this book and thus has less impact than I expect Stoute hoped it would. I appreciate the conversational tone of much of the book but I'm unapologetic in saying that the word unapologetic was used WAY too much.
I have to give @SteveStoute credit for his marketing innovation and excellent intuition in creating the right partnerships between opinion leaders and brands. Go ahead and give this book a read if you're into the subject. The book is not amazing but it is good. I appreciate the work Stoute put into it and his willingness to share his views on Hip Hop's influence with the world.