We wrote earlier about how important endorsements from rappers were. The star power, influence, and effect that rappers hold in the world of marketing is undeniable. Rappers have consistently shown how to use their brands, status, and popularity to influence trends, brands, and sales of products — ranging from apparel (think Run DMC and Adidas in the ’80s), cars (Lost Boyz et al. with Lexus’, BMWs, Jeeps, and Mercedes-Benzes in the ’90s). In 2015, hip hop duo Atmosphere, of Minneapolis, MN, made a video powered by solar energy. We need more celebrities and influencers to push renewables and EVs. We recently suggested why it would be such an awesome idea for high profile rappers like Diddy to hype the new Hummer EV. Well, a South African rapper, Da L.E.S, has taken the lead and just released a new single called “Elon Musk.”
This track from Da L.E.S is a major win. L.E.S is an industry heavyweight with a fan base spanning the African continent. The catchy hook & lyrics will help elevate awareness levels on the continent. The track, which was co-produced by Zimbabwean producer GT Beatz, incorporates elements from the flavor of the moment, the South African “Amapiano” music genre.
According to Wikipedia, Amapiano is a hybrid of deep house, jazz, and lounge music characterized by synths, airy pads, and wide basslines. The genre is currently dominating the South African music scene and has been brought to prominence by artists such as Shasha and producers like Kabza De Small. This crossover effect will mean that the song will appeal to a wider audience and not just the usual hip hop crowd. Had it not been for the Covid-19 induced lockdowns and restrictions, this song would have been getting heavy rotation in clubs across the continent.
Da L.E.S has just released the “visualizer” following the trend in the Afro Beats industry of releasing an animated video before the full video. A visualizer is an animated music video often released as a prelude to the full music video. In Da L.E.S’ Elon Musk visualizer and also on the song’s cover, the Tesla Cybertruck features prominently. Could this start a trend where the Cybertruck becomes one of the iconic cars of hip hop culture? The Cybertruck definitely looks “gangsta.” Customer engagement is always critical, and good old rap songs and videos can still play a huge role in setting trends and help in driving adoption of consumer goods and automobiles. Cars have always been an integral part of hip-hop culture, so let’s see how far this goes.
Perhaps it’s fitting that a South African rapper releases the song “Elon Musk,” as Elon was born in Pretoria, South Africa. Teslas aren’t on sale yet in South Africa, but you can get a Tesla Powerwall in South Africa to help you beat the occasional power cuts. We have also seen the star power of the Tesla brand in Kenya where the Model X has been creating a buzz, so the Telsa brand is gaining traction on the continent. It has also been a very good year for Elon Musk. Fortune Magazine has named Elon Musk as its Businessperson of the Year for 2020 and he is also now the second richest person in the world. Elon once made an appearance on the popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory in 2015. More features in the hip hop industry and in the music scene in general will help supercharge awareness into the electric mobility scene. We hope Da L.E.S manages to get his hands on some Telsa Model X’s or something for the full video when it comes out.
Many thanks to Katherine Keango for some wonderful insights.