When I received an email that Chamillionaire–rapper/hip-hop artist most famous for his hit “Ridin’“, a song well-parodied by Weird Al Yankovic–would be coming to campus on Wednesday and students could see him for free, I was distressed that I hadn’t heard about this event earlier. After all, Stanford Concert Network has struggled to bring any well-known artists to the Farm, and I figured that if Chamillionaire were performing, someone would have let the masses of students itching for a good concert on campus know immediately.
But that’s just it–Chamillionaire is not performing on Wednesday; rather, he is lecturing with Quincy Jones III on “Innovation in the Changing Music Industry,” as a part of the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar Series to launch the Global Innovation Tournament. Chamillionaire: global innovator and entrepreneur? Even if the cops don’t catch him riding dirty, this is still, at best, an interesting choice for a speaker on the subject.
Chamillionaire, though, is not the only hip-hop artist to visit Stanford this week–Peruvian-American rapper Immortal Technique is coming to campus as well. And he, too, is going to lecture. Immortal Technique may, however, be somewhat qualified to lecture since his music centers around controversial issues.
Immortal Technique’s influences are expansive–according to Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge:
Immortal Technique’s music is inspired by historical and often political figures such as Ali, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, César Chávez, Augusto César Sandino, Marcus Garvey, Túpac Amaru II, Jose Carlos Mariategui, W. E. B. Du Bois, Karl Marx, Toussaint L’ouverture, Harriet Tubman, Emiliano Zapata, and Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Somehow, I just don’t think that Chamillionaire is influenced by the same people.
But in either case, we can at least say that we can bring big-name hiphop artists to campus, regardless of whether they are rapping or discussing the evolution of global entrepreneurship and social politics. Maybe they can do both at once–I’d buy the CD.