HBO knows white people love Game of Thrones. HBO thinks black people love hip-hop. HBO hopes that by mixing Game of Thrones and hip-hop, black people will love Game of Thrones, too.
In an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Unlikely Mix: Rappers, Dragons and Fantasy,” Time Warner Inc.’s HBO outlines its plan to attract “urban” viewers with the release of a new mixtape on Friday called, oh yes, “Catch the Throne.”
How will they attract these “multicultural” audiences? By investing in sick beats like this:
I’m tellin’ whoever messin’ with me
I can bring you that Khaleesi heat
Use my King, knack for words, as an actual sword
I can decapitate a rapper…
Why does HBO think this strategy will work?
Over the years, rappers have influenced the buying habits and brand preferences of urban audiences just by mentioning the items in a song, helping to drive sales of everything from Dom Pérignon champagne to Nike basketball shoes.
Where did HBO’s initial idea for a mixtape come from?
The latest effort began after HBO’s marketing executives realized that “celebrity influencers”—famous rappers and others with large followings on social media and the radio—from the hip-hop world were fans of the show. Magazeen, a Jamaican-born dancehall-rap artist, says he watches “Game of Thrones” on DVD while on tour, and that his favorite character is the murderous boy-prince Joffrey Baratheon.
"It’s a lot of sword-swinging, a lot of fighting, man—It’s just raw!" Magazeen said.
So how does “Catch the Throne” contributor Common feel about GOT and the crazy ending to the third season?
Chicago-based rapper and actor Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., better known by his stage name, Common, said that he has watched “Game of Thrones” through the middle of Season 2, and said he loves its complexity and the depth of characters such as Tyrion Lannister, a raconteur, womanizer and royal adviser played by Peter Dinklage.
What will his rap be about?
Common said his song on the mixtape is about what it feels like to battle to be top dog, and the things people are willing to do get there. “I sit and think when I’m in my zone / This life is like a Game of Thrones,” he raps over a rising swell of strings and timpani drums.
How much did it cost for HBO produce this brag-worthy “authentic” mixtape with artists such as Wale, Big Boi, Common, Daddy Yankee, and Bodega Bamz?
HBO declined to say how much the campaign cost or how much the artists are being paid.
Who will download and love this mixtape?
Probably white dudes.