Justin Bieber, Jay-Z, & Kim Kardashian All Owe Thanks To Author Steve Stoute

October 21, 2011 1:07 pm
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Author, marketer, and former record executive, Steve Stoute, may not be a household name, but his clients are some of the biggest in the world. Stoute is known for work such as McDonald’s, “I’m Lovin’ It,” campaign with Justin Timberlake, Tommy Hilfiger‘s, “True Star” fragrance with Beyonce, and Reebok’s S. Carter shoe with Jay-Z.

During his career at Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Stoute helped to produce Eminem‘s “The Real Slim Shady LP” and has worked with high profile stars like Mariah Carey, Nas, Mary J. Blige, Will Smith, Eve, U2 and Limp Bizkit.

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In his new book, “The Tanning of America”, out now, Stoute explores the positive impact hip-hop has had on our society. Stoute claims that hip-hop has created a colorless lens for consumers to engage with artists. The racial background of a music producer or performer no longer matters, the audience embraces it based on its own merit.

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While playing the trivia game, “Buzz,” on his Playstation – which includes songs written by Stoute himself – we got an inside look at how this iconic marketer and record executive views the media. Check out four celebrities who Stoute believes exemplify trend setting and social impact at its finest.

1. Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber‘s rise to fame demonstrates the power of social media due to his discovery off of YouTube. Recently, Stoute revealed why Justin Bieber is a great example of “tanning.”

He says about the teen sensation, “I think that Justin Bieber represents the next generation. Forget him as an artist and what his music represents, I think he as a mindset represents how the next generation of teenagers and millennials will look at the world.”

Bieber appeals to the hip-hop community – due in large part to his association with Usher – and teen girls, who can’t get enough of his catchy music and infamous hair. Stoute believes Bieber helps fans to forget about color when it comes to pop culture.

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“He’s a kid who grew up loving hip-hop, who picked up a guitar and was sort of democratic in the way he saw the world. He didn’t allow the last generation of stereotypes to determine his music or that he wanted to Dougie or do whatever he wanted to do,” Stoute said. “I think that he represents the next generation of this colorless world.”

2. Taylor Swift & Kanye West

While we all gasped in horror as Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift‘s acceptance speech for “Best Female Video” at the 2009 “Video Music Awards,” Stoute believes West positively impacted Swift’s career through that now infamous act.

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“If it wasn’t for that moment, I don’t think she would have launched. She would have sold records. She had hits, but it’s not about hit records. Flo Rida has hit records. Taylor emotionally connected to America at the exact same time because everybody felt sorry for her,” he said. “I think that she should thank Kanye. However unfortunate the situation is, he did a lot to help her career.”

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In essence, Swift has been able to expand her fan base because of her association with West. Stoute believes this was exemplified due to her recent performance with T.I. on her ‘Speak Now’ tour.

“To me that says a lot about her understanding of the value of being cool and what it means to be cool. This is America’s sweetheart and she brings a guy on stage two days after he got out of jail,” said Stoute.

3. Jay-Z



When it comes to Jay-Z’s career, Stoute has been there to witness the launch of Reebok S. Carter, (which sold 10,000 pairs in the first hour), to giving Jay the beats for ‘Still D.R.E.’ off Dr. Dre’s ‘Chronic 2001.’ To Stoute, Jay-Z has had an unparalleled impact on pop culture.

“Even when Jay-Z wasn’t the most popular guy, he knew how to tap into this under current of culture. When it came to guys drinking Cristal, I give him a lot of credit for it. Or guys wearing button up shirts or throwback jerseys, he really created trends,” Stoute said.

The admiration Stoute has for Jay-Z and his career is clearly reciprocated by the rapper.

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“Stoute is the conduit between corporate America and rap and the streets – he speaks both languages,” Jay-Z said in praise of Stoute and his new book.

4. The Kardashians

Stoute believes ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ demonstrates the generational conflict that occurs within the theory of tanning. Older viewers don’t see the show as family programming due to the risqué appearance of Kim Kardashian.

“People say, ‘The Kardashians isn’t family programming, you’re crazy, she shows her breasts.’ What are you talking about? It is family programming,” said Stoute. “It’s not family programming for the ‘Leave It To Beaver’ guys. But it’s family programming for that 25-year-old married couple who has a 2-year-old son. They watch it.”

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Stoute says it’s difficult for advertisers to agree to air commercials during “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” because of the controversial topics presented on the show. Yet, the success of the Kardashian franchise has dominantly been fueled by younger viewers. The Kardashian influence on pop culture is undeniable. From clothing lines to multiple television shows and book deals, “Kardashian Khaos” is a phenomenon that many fans embrace.

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While the aforementioned celebrities have created immense influence in the pop culture sphere with their music, television shows and projects, the tanning of America has been affected by multiple hip hop legends like Run DMC, Tupac, Biggie and more.

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Stoute recalled that it used to be difficult to get radio stations to play rap music, but they slowly began to bend their ways as hip-hop became less taboo and more mainstream.

“All of a sudden it was like you know what forget cross urban, I’m the KIIS in LA, I’m playing rap, I’m playing Nelly,” he said.

To hear more of Stoute’s legendary work with celebrities from studio sessions with Jay-Z to the Super Bowl commercial that changed his life, pick up a copy of “The Tanning of America” here.


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