So, then, a bit of hilarity has ensued in the past 24 hours, as the Rapper/Mega (pop?) star formerly-known-as Snoop Dogg, has now become ‘Snoop Lion’. The 40 year old performance artist has gone from small canine, to big feline. Ha! I laugh, because the tone of this recent news from the entertainment has a comedic tone. Even though, to be honest, the artist formerly-known-as-Snoop Dogg is dead serious. This isn’t a gimmick for attention, like the Joaquin Phoenix transformation, which prompted media outlets to question the actor’s sanity. That was a hoax; Snoop Lion is for real.

But not for the reason most people would think. Do I believe that Snoop is ‘tired’ of rap, as huffpo reports? Snoop Lion was quoted as saying that he no longer finds rap to be ‘challenging’. In truth, Snoop Lion probably feels that rap is ‘too challenging’. In other words, as the formerly ‘underground’ music known as rap has grown and merged with ‘pop’ music – all while the music industry struggles to remain profitable – it is harder for many artists outside of the ‘biggest’ names to remain ‘in rotation.’  It has never been easier for performers to be ‘famous’ without necessarily being ‘relevant’, like , say Lindsay Lohan (who is also trending on Google for sex-related news). Snoop – a household name to people under 35 – probably fits into this classification; he’s known, but not for anything he’s really done recently. Not too long ago –  4 months – Snoop Lion was reading tweets from ESPN anchor Trey Wingo:

You’ll notice that Snoop is wearing the ‘symbol’ of his now-official transformation – the Rasta hat – which at the time was surely interpreted as just another nod to his pot-headed ambitions. I thought the ‘tweet-reading’ was strange at the time, but now, it all makes sense; Snoop was a long ways down the road to transformation. The reading of the tweets was one manifestation of the artist’s exploration of alternative means to ‘stay relevant.’

As is Snoop Lion’s Youtube channel, dubbed ‘Snoop Dogg TV’. Snoop must be one of the few ‘big’ established, veteran, pre-internet artists, who readily embraces an outlet such as Youtube as a viable means to keep himself not only busy, but ‘in the attention rotation’ of online video. Compare ‘Snoop Dogg (probably soon-to-be Lion) tv to the YT channel of another Megastar – Kanye West – and you can see the difference in attitude towards the medium:

 

West has a ‘Vevo’ channel,  and one other channel, devoted entirely to his videos. It’s probably a ‘scam channel’ maintained by a con-artist diligent enough to make it look ‘official’ enough.  There are a number of others just like , but they are likely fake. There is absolutely no YT channel associated with Kanye West that is similar to ‘Snoop Dogg TV.’ This is to be expected. Kanye is – for now – one of the biggest (and presumably most-profitable) names in entertainment. He probably doesn’t need to maintain a Youtube  Channel himself (yet), as that outlet is beneath him. But circumstances could force such an outlook to change.

In the ‘attention era’ in which we currently live, digital media outlets are the way for ‘stars’ of all sorts to maintain a steady connection with their fans, or the public at large. For most mainstream stars, the outlet of choice is currently Twitter, with celeb tweets being mined and monitored constantly by ‘the media’ for insights into what these people are up to at any moment.  But twitter is not really a platform by which to keep oneself relevant; A star’s tweets are only as relevant as they themselves are. Also, there is a level of dishonesty with many of the biggest ‘Twitter stars’ based on number of followers. Barack Obama has 18 million+ followers on Twitter. But one look at the POTUS’  homepage will inform the savvy web surfer that his tweets are posted by someone on his staff.  Twitter is a ‘Star/Fan’ medium, and is most-useful when the ‘star’ being followed actually uses the service regularly, like Michael Cox, of Zonalmarking. 

Youtube is, however, the best way to be ‘transparent’ for the public. It is incredibly easy to upload stuff to YT, which can be viewed by millions of people within minutes. Of course, there are many ways this ability can be utilized, and making ones YT channel a viable means of attention-grabbing requires much skill.  But the capacity to keep oneself constantly visible to potential attents is a power that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It seems that Snoop Lion grasps this concept. Whether the man is performing at a show, reading tweets, or playing soccer, (ie, staying relevant), a star such as Snoop can change his name every day if he feels like it. The important thing is that he stay in the attention rotation. Now I wonder if he’ll start a blog………

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