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why copywriting + hip hop go hand in hand

Popquiz: What do hip hop + copywriting have in common? Neon Moose gives you the skinny below (+ yes this is one of the reasons why I loooove hip hop).

1. CREATIVITY. All good copywriting starts with creativity.

Steve Jobs apparently said, “Creativity is just connecting things.” AKA creativity is about connecting two separate ideas that logically would not go together up until that moment.

The best copywriting often connects two familiar things to a new, refreshing and ingenious idea. Ditto for hip hop. Rappers need creativity to write a song. Not just any song. One full of cadence, cleverness, creativity and punchlines.

2. STORYTELL. Two words: lyrical geniuses. That’s right, a rapper’s word play is phenomenal. And so is a copywriter’s. Both rapper and copywriter have an impressive knack to weave words, phrases and puns into a story. And use rhythm, rhyme and double entendres like no other.

Example: Pusha T on “Nostalgia” "Twenty plus years of selling Johnson & Johnson/I started out as a baby face monster/No wonder there's diaper rash on my conscience/My teething ring was numbed by the nonsense..."

Or Jay Z on Swagger Like Us “You can pay for school, but you can’t buy class”.


3. CONNECT. They connect with their audience. Much like a copywriter needs to connect with the audience to sell the product/service/whatever, a rapper spits rhymes and connects by rapping about real life issues that people relate too.

4. TONE OF VOICE. A powerful tone of voice in copywriting is needed - and the same goes for hip hop. Think Public Enemy, N.W.A., Tupac, Nas, KRS One, Lupe Fiasco – all of which are known for their strong political views.

Detroit rapper and activist Royce da 5'9'' has been quoted saying ‘hip-hop artists in the '80s pushed the envelope and became the voice of the streets.’ Which brings us to my next point…

5. CALL TO ACTION. When it comes to copywriting, a call to action is a key component. When it comes to hop hop (especially socially conscious hop hop), the aforementioned rappers used their platform to bring attention to societal issues and take action (think Nas’ "One Mic" song).

Whether it was Boogie Down Productions’ KRS-One breaking down the journey of the cow from the slaughterhouse to your dinner plate, or Doug E Fresh speaking about the sensitive topic of reproductive rights, hip-hop has always been the genre where no subject is off-limits and a call to action comes in play.

6. INFLUENCE. Great copy can make a product or brand become influential and dominate the market. Trailblazing brands include Dyson, Coke, Apple and Amazon (yes, they’ve all featured GREAT COPY!). And so can a rapper’s influence - where the early 90s rappers’ music dominated and to this day, continues to move people.

Takeaway? Listen to hip hop 

Neon Moose is an Adelaide based creative with over 18+ years of experience in social media, marketing, PR and copywriting.


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