The old adage is simple: All publicity is good publicity. Lately, rappers have been putting that concept to the test with a myriad of social media tools and outlandish publicity stunts. Their goal isn’t immediately clear, whether they’re trying to goose album sales, raise their online presence or simply want to stroke their egos, but what is clear is it’s not working. In the end, these stunts are only seeing everybody come out worse on the other side, as fans are privy to the silliness and seem unwilling to entertain it. So the question begs asking: why do rappers continue to embarrass themselves or fake the funk on purpose?
These types of PR stunts are hardly a new addition to the genre, and have proven just as outlandish in the past. Cam’ron was famously shot in Washington D.C. in 2005, and many wondered if the shooting was staged so loudly that Cam eventually had to address the accusation publicly. After saying “I got shot three times and my album comes out November 22nd,” during a press conference shortly after the shooting he told MTV “I don’t know anybody who’s stupid enough to use getting shot as a publicity stunt.” The Harlem rapper shot a video while still in a cast healing from his wounds, and later linked the shooting to his Jay Z beef by claiming the shooter threw up the Roc sign before shooting.
As strange as that entire incident was, the stunts of today are somehow just as nonsensical as maybe purposely taking a few bullets in the arms.
Take Troy Ave for example, who, depending on who you believe, either had his sex tape leaked, or leaked it himself and in either case he eventually used clips of the video in his new song and NSFW video, the unfortunately aptly-titled “Sex Tape.”