Jay Z: The power of perception
The human experience in general is essentially the same for every individual. Us or We humans as a whole undergo similar life events such as birth, after that we experience growth and then finally death (Seger 386). These individual experiences (and more) when combined tend to form a story line. Although the storylines tend to differ from person to person, one thing, which is consistent in every storyline, are the characters. In these storylines the characters are modeled after specific archetypes, which Kent Wertime describes as “Invisible connectors that link people to commercial and entertainment images, producing consumer fascination and shaping their beliefs”(201). are traits and qualities that are considered inherent to that character. Although we do not always recognize archetypes and their role in today’s society, they still exist, and their presence is stronger than ever. However because of the reoccurring use, when we do recognize them we are able to make out their characteristics and set them apart (i.e. Villains usually display undesirable qualities such as scary, ugly cunning and deceiving, manipulative)
Archetypes are very significant because even the average human can interact and find some similarities between them and a certain archetype. According to Wertime “an archetype is subconsciously at work in every instance of commercial persuasion” (201). Because of this discovery, brands have been using archetypes as the leading marketing vehicle in order to make a personal connection with consumers. For this reason, everyone from politicians to actors, businessmen and even artists have found a way to utilize archetypes in their truest form as a way to conv 1ey a certain message or attain their personal goals. A prime example of someone who has used the power of archetypes to build their public brand and image is none other than the rap legend and business mogul Jay Z. Jay Z is effectively able to utilize not just one but three different archetypes- the gangster, the businessman/ruler and the reformer in order to build a large following, achieve massive success in the music industry and become the de facto leader for the black community.
Throughout his extensive career, Jay Z was continuously able to rebrand and mold himself in to different archetypes. When he first stepped in to the public scene, the rapper established himself as the ex-drug dealer by fully utilizing the gangster archetype. This archetype was quite popular among the rappers at the time because the hip-hop community and fans alike stressed on the importance of having ‘street credibility’. Generally speaking a gangster is defined as someone who participates in organized crime and racketeering whether it be drugs, theft, murder etc. Archetype expert Matthew Sorrento describes the gangster as an “assertive, self-made man [who] in trying times, went against the law to make the world his own” (9). Although the reasons as to why people chose...