Chamillionaire Coming to Stanford

Is hip-hop dead? Or, at least, is the old business plan of going (triple) platinum dead? Chamillionaire and Quincy Jones III will be the headliners of this Wednesday’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders (ETL) seminar, talking about “Innovation in a Changing Music Industry.” The ETL seminars are, according to their website:

A weekly speaker series that brings innovation leaders from business, finance, technology, education, and philanthropy, to share their insights with aspiring entrepreneurs from all over the world.

Chamillionaire, a rapper perhaps best known for his single “Ridin’,” is also a more political figure than one perhaps might expect. In addition to songs like “Ridin’,” which is about transporting drugs, Chamillionaire also has released songs like “The Morning News” and “The Evening News,” which discuss current events and have a decidedly political bent. In “Morning News,” he raps:

I can’t hate to see a black man, and I don’t hate to see a black hand/Crawling into that cookie jar cause there’s plenty of dough up in that, man/When you’re black and you educated, own people say “You ain’t black, man!”/ Maybe black in your appearance but really whiter than Batman

Tough to pin down exactly, perhaps, but certainly an interesting character and decent rapper (if one can forgive him the fact that he rhymed “man” with itself three times in a row).

Quincy Jones III (QD3) is a music producer who grew up largely in Sweden. In this day where it seems, in hip-hop at least, that a club hit is what it takes to succeed, good production (the beat behind the rap) is crucial. For this reason, music production is both lucrative and intimately connected to business side of the music industry. It will be very interesting to see what QD3 has to say about where he sees the future of music going, particularly in terms of where revenue will be coming from. Will radio still be a big revenue source? Will concerts replace CD sales? Can piracy be stemmed in any meaningful way? If you’re interested in these questions, come see the event at 4:30 PM this Wednesday at Memorial Auditorium. It’s free for Stanford students and staff and $15-$20 for the general public.

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