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The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy Hardcover – September 8, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Stoute advises a revolutionary concept for business leaders: Have a little fun along the way.” — Essence

“This book is well worth the investment.” — Ebony

“Thoughtful and relevant. It should be required reading for advertising executives, especially those who count themselves among the Baby Boomer generation.” — Forbes.com

“He’s the conduit between corporate America and rap and the street, and the music industry generally,…he speaks both languages.” — Jay-Z

“Steve is credible in the music and entertainment worlds. Then he can switch gears, walk into the boardroom of a Fortune 500 company and speak his ideas in a way they can understand.” — Dennis Baldwin, Reebok’s top marketer

“[He’s] the right guy for guiding brands in using the record industry to reach youth culture in a credible way.” — Jimmy Iovine, CEO of Interscope Geffen Records

“The man who converts urban entertainment into corporate dollars.” — Complex

“In the loud, boastful world of urban culture, Steve Stoute has become a quiet but powerful force. And big corporations are betting he can deliver more bang for their bucks.” — Vibe

“Steve Stoute is making hot sellers out of cold brands.” — Business Week

“Stephen Stoute understands the value of the celebrity sell.” — Black Enterprise

“Stoute has masterminded an impressive array of brand/artist hookups.” — Advertising Age

About the Author

Advertising Hall of Achievement inductee Steve Stoute is the founder and CEO of the leading brand-marketing firm Translation. He is also the managing director and CEO of hair-and-body-care line Carol’s Daughter, and has appeared in the critically acclaimed book and HBO series The Black List.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (September 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592404812
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592404810
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked up this book because of a recommendation from my brother. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth at which hip-hop and urban sensibilities have shaped American and westernized culture as a whole. Steve Stoute brings a level of professionalism and authenticity, coincidentally two very important topics outlined in this book, to tales of the struggles of early hip-hop and the trials of its artists to be recognized as such. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to have a fresh, unbiased opinion on the history of marketing and culture as well as the effects of "tanning" on American and the world as a whole.
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By dubs on January 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is extremely well written and you can tell Stoute is an intelligent and creative person. In depth discussions about pop culture and various marketing ventures that have affected culture over the last 20 or so years. Very informative, recommended to anyone with an interest in hip hop, pop culture or marketing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fascinating story, from the first to the last page, especially when you've been involved in marketing (professionally) and hip-hop (as an avid listener) throughout the period Steve Stoute describes.
The book contains a fascinating mix of personal experience, case histories, musical references to actually prove that he title is correct - America has tanned.
Reading tip: listen to the songs he cites as you read along (I was happy to have most of them in my library).
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Format: Hardcover
I was really disappointed in this real-life look into how America began to embrace hip-hop culture. I thought it missed some key players in hip hop, namely Public Enemy and GrandMaster Flash. Though they do a nod to them, I thought that they were much more influential in getting the word out to teens & the general public about what was actually going on in the poor, black communities vs. N.W.A. who should get some credit, but whose songs spoke more about the police vs. the real problem of the black communities: corporate greed, alcoholism & other drugs to induce genocide, etc. To quote Public Enemy's song Rebirth, "....These days you can't see who's in cahoots 'Cause now the KKK wears three-piece suits..." I think the message that P.E. sent out was more important vs. just the police, whom everyone was rapping about. Same for Grandmaster Flash....early on he spoke more of about what was going on in the community with his song "The Message".

The book did a decent job of speaking to Run-DMC & how they changed the game for hip-hop, but there wasn't enough nod to black women rappers (Salt 'n' Pepa, Queen Latifah, or Sister Souljah, to name a few) or white rappers (Beastie Boys, for example) who also helped to get listeners to cross over to hip-hop. I mean Run-DMC & Beastie Boys toured together for several months during the summer of '86 & '87, yet there was no mention of this, as I think this thoroughly helped to get both black & white teens at the time listening to all forms of rap, including house music which began it's birth around the same time as hip-hop was emerging.

I also think this book gives way too much credit to P. Diddy for selling merchandise & becoming a brand. Russell Simmons, Run-DMC, and LL Cool J were doing this LONG before P.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not a bad examination of how hip hop culture has had an effect on marketing, corporate sales tactics, business and life in general. Steve Stoute is a businessman, marketing firm manager and former record executive who is a proponent of hip hop, but it should be remembered that the hip hop generation of young people coming up today are too fluid and intelligible to be commodified as Stoute might have you believe here. Otherwise, good if not a very good book.
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Format: Hardcover
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 care line Carol's Daughter. Enough receipts? Yes.

"Tanning of America" is an informative must-read for entrepreneurs, businessmen and women, and established companies who want to understand how to appeal to today's consumers. It's also an interesting read for hip-hop lovers and marketing gurus. I learned a lot of tips that will help improve my own brand, as well as enjoy an interview with Eminem, stories of Jay-Z and Run D.M.C., and the history of hip-hop. This book is a cost-effective lesson!

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I didn't know what to expect out of this book, I bought it as a recommendation from VC Ben Horowitz of a16z.

This is by far the best book on marketing I've read yet. The importance of cultural influences and historical context intertwined with an authentic voice are the keys to Stoute's Midas touch and deep understanding in what makes things cool to the masses.

This is a book that mixes history, real life experiences and interesting case studies that can be applied to the marketing principles of any brand in any country around the world.

If you end up reading Tanning and get a lot out of it, another similar book I recommend that you may enjoy would be Marc Ecko's book Unlabeled. Both books followed a similar arc and a similar story in which they both observed and rode the wave of hip hop culture to the shores of power, money and success. @walkeen
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