The Rapper-cum-Mogul Phenomenon Strikes Unlikely Artist
50 Cent, Jay-Z, and Diddy are all names that get thrown around a lot when you're talking about parlaying those rapping dollar$ into a business venture like Sean John or Rocawear. These men made their money off spitting rhymes, then built actual businesses off their street cred, which gave way to personal empires of bling, cars, studios, and women — which they then turn around and write new raps about. Circle of life, folks.
But now there is a new contender for the hip hop artist/mogul title. Someone who took the money he made from his early 90s career and invested it into his own movie company, of all things. And he's white. And it's not Vanilla Ice.
Ex-Beastie Boy MCA/Nathaniel H??rnblow??r (n??e Adam Yauch) is delving into the sometimes-profitable, often bankrupting world of movie producing with the newest division of his company Oscilloscope. But mogul though he may be, Yauch comes off more like a Steely Dan fan than the guy who played bass on Paul's Boutique.
???I???m definitely one of those people that enjoys when individuals run businesses,??? Mr. Yauch said. ???I don???t buy my coffee from Starbucks.??? He laughed.
Yauch is just following that DIY-dad path that every aging alt-rocker goes through; as soon as the mid-life crisis hits, these guys bring out their checkbooks and start financing some "art" that their teenage, rebellious selves would have spit at. It's like Graydon Carter going from Spy to Vanity Fair, and pretending he's in on the joke.
The problem in Yauch's case is that his projects look like insta-tankers.
Case in point: the trailer for Flow, Oscilloscope's latest project, looks like An Inconvenient Truth meets Fahrenheit 9/11. It's about the world's water problem. Which is fine…nothing wrong with the docu-crisis genre. But considering that Yauch's previous delve into film, the fan-made Awesome: I Fuckin' Shot That and Gunnin??? for That #1 Spot, barely made over $210k combined, you hope that Yauch brought on board someone with a little bit of finance background.
So somehow you just don't imagine Yauch being much competition for Curtis Jackson, especially since the title of movie producer is about as promising as magazine editor. Just ask Tom Cruise, slaving away over at United Artists, with zero profit to show for it.