Last night (November 17), the annual ADCOLOR Conference kicked off with an exciting keynote discussion, “50 Years and Rising: Celebrating Five Decades of Hip-Hop’s Evolution From Subculture to THE Culture,” presented by Cashmere.Monks. The panel featured incredible speakers including GRAMMY-Award winning rap legend and Mass Appeal partner Nas; Mass Appeal CEO and entrepreneur Peter Bittenbender; and Cashmere’s President & Chief Creative Officer Ryan Ford, who was the moderator.
The panel touched on a number of relevant topics in hip-hop and its impact on culture.
When he was asked why brands felt like they couldn’t speak to the “new face of America,” Nas responded by saying “People still don’t get it, and it leaves artists like me to create dialogue… be the middle person, and bridge that gap.”
The King’s Disease rapper also spoke on the importance of women in hip hop. “Hip hop has been male dominated for a long time… doors are opening slowly, and should be opening faster.”
After a recent uncontrollable outbreak of violence and deaths among notable hip hop artists, he chimed in on the responsibility in the room for the culture.
“It’s important for the younger generation to realize that it’s not easy to come out of the neighborhoods they might have come from… The younger generation needs to know that they are now an important person to this world; you have to survive, and cut off old habits. It doesn’t make you soft if you don’t hang in the ‘hood.” He added, “I don’t know how we get that message out to the younger generation of artists, that we have to be more responsible… there should be rules and guidelines of how to be a hip hop artist. It has to happen, otherwise we’re going to hear about something in another week.”
He gave one more bit of advice on the topic. “Artists need a team of people around them that are experienced professionals… you can’t wait for the record company to care, we have to care about our future.”
Peter Bittenbender offered his opinion on what’s missing from brands and artists. “I think they are missing consistency… Hip hop has had to rebrand over and over and over, so it won’t always be that easy and overnight.”
He also provided us a preview of what to expect from the HipHop50 Platform in 2023.
“Live experiences all next year, from park jams – the essence of hip hop – to paying tribute to the past, present and future of hip hop. There will also be an incredible multi-night celebration of hip hop culture with one of the greatest groups in hip hop backing it, at a legendary venue in NY.”
We’re sure more gems will be dropped as the conference runs all weekend long, with panels alongside Keke Palmer, Ryan Coogler, Issa Rae and many more. It culminates with the ADCOLOR Awards on Sunday, November 20.