Hip hop culture, philanthrocapitalism and getting shit done 

I’ve been fascinated in recent months by the relationship between hip hop and tech. In some cases quite explicitly, senior figures in technology find cultural inspiration for the approach they take to management in contemporary hip hop. I’m interested in the notion of ‘business for punks’ for the same reason. 

In essence, I thought this was a product of focusing on ‘disruption’: seeking cultural resources to help motivate oneself to be disruptive. But this fascinating extract from No Such Thing as a Free Gift, by Linsey McGoey, loc 100-118 suggests it might also be a shared concern with ‘getting shit done’:

It took place, reportedly, in New York, where Gates had been hanging out at the back of a bar with Bono and other friends when P. Diddy approached their table. He stood before Gates and nodded. ‘You are a motherfucker’. Gates’s eyes darted at the man. It’s doubtful the world’s most generous philanthropist hears comments like this too often –at least not to his face. Diddy continued his train of argument: ‘You are a motherfucker. What you are doing on immunization in Botswana? Motherfucker’. Gates leaned back in his chair. He realized that Diddy was offering him a high compliment. The encounter is reported by Matthew Bishop and Michael Green in their book Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World. The book has become something of a bible for a new breed of philanthropist vowing to reshape the world by running philanthropic foundations more like for-profit businesses. In this world, Gates is hailed as the ‘MacDaddy’ of the new philanthropy. Bishop and Green offer a quote from Bono on the appeal of Gates’s charitable work: ‘Jay-Z, all of the hip-hop guys, kind of adore him. Because he is not seen as a romantic figure –well, maybe romantic in the sense that Neil Armstrong is romantic, a scientist but not a poet. He gets shit done’. 8

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