Hedging is Generally Good in a Cultural Sense

Lil’ Wayne is unhedged to Jay Z’s hedged. The danger is being a Lil’ Wayne who is too steadfastly a hardcore gangsta rapper. He has the “back the ‘f’ up” diamond-grill-mouthpiece. He has the menacing lyrics. He abuses drugs, including codeine cough syrup[i]. He gloats about his time in prison; he gets into mean confrontations with people. He is a true gangsta. The dirty secret is that his fanbase includes a lot of wannabes. It includes a lot of types who enjoy the voyeurism of being a Lil’ Wayne acolyte. I suspect Lil’ Wayne knows that he'd be better off developing more boutique cred, like Jay Z, in addition to his curriculum vitae in street cred. But Weezy just can’t help but be pushed, and goaded and socially pressured by fans and commentators alike to remain one-dimensional, and as a consequence a fringe performer in the broader pop-rap-electronic oeuvre today. Jay Z is hedged, as he may not be the most cutting edge performer or lyricist, he mitigates the risk of obsoletion with new content, tours, and convention-defying-corporate-but-edgy-enough partnerships, aggressively engaging his wide fanbase, using new media to reach new audiences. Of course, being life partners with the likes of Beyoncé doesn’t hurt! And in terms of the upside, he is taking a corporate approach to harvesting and augmenting any and all revenue streams related to his content. And, of course he is a brand unto himself, if scientists with peer-reviewed publications can enthusiastically make themselves entertaining public intellectuals, conveying highly technical concepts into plainspeak, why shan’t Jay Z take the grit of the streets to the sparkle of 5th Avenue? Why not be Both/And and do it large[ii]?


[i]{C} Emery, Andrew. "Lil' Wayne's Seizures: Is Cough Syrup the Cause?" The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 27 Mar. 2013. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.

[ii] @pmarca (Marc Andreesen). 6th March 2014. Corollary: It is becoming much more important for math/science/tech people to be able to explain things to non-math/science/tech people. <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Corollary: It is becoming much more important for math/science/tech people to be able to explain things to non-math/science/tech people.</p>&mdash; Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) <a href="https://twitter.com/pmarca/statuses/441777933892341760">March 7, 2014</a></blockquote>

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