“Tanning is the catalytic force majeure that went beyond musical boundaries and into the psyche of young America-blurring cultural and demographic lines so permanently that it laid the foundation for a transformation,” says Steve Stoute, entertainment marketing icon whom Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter refers to as, “the conduit between corporate America and rap and the streets.” Steve Stoute has made a career out of identifying with and activating a new generation of consumers to create extremely successful marketing campaigns.
By marrying urban cultural icons with the mainstream – whether it be Jay-Z’s successful “S. Carter” sneaker launch with Reebok, Justin Timberlake and the “I’m lovin’ it” campaign for McDonald’s, Beyonce’s partnership with Samsung, Mary J. Blige’s “My Life” fragrance with Carol’s Daughter and HSN that broke industry sales records or Lady Gaga’s partnership with MAC Cosmetics - Steve Stoute has revolutionized the way blue chip marketers and superstar artists connect with consumers.
In THE TANNING OF AMERICA: How the Culture of Hip-Hop Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy (Gotham Books; On-Sale 9-8-11), Stoute draws from his diverse background in the music industry and brand marketing to chronicle how an upstart art form – street poetry set to beats – came to define urban culture as the embodiment of cool. Steve Stoute’s understanding of how hip-hop morphed into mainstream culture enabled him to relate to a new generation of thinking, which catapulted him to the forefront of pop culture – where he still remains today.
While those in the business world will need to consult THE TANNING OF AMERICA, many others will want to read it for its rich history of the hip-hop movement and its subsequent influence on the world as we know it. Tracing the story of hip-hop from its beginnings in the 1970′s and going through each decade, THE TANNING OF AMERICA beautifully captures the spirit of every musical and cultural breakthrough over the past thirty years and details the direct link between the birth of hip-hop in the Bronx to President Barack Obama’s campaign and election. Reading about pioneers such as Run DMC, Blondie and NWA, and how they paved the way for megastars like Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Eminem, and Gwen Stefani will have readers remembering moments from their past and learning behind-the-scenes information about their favorite artists.
To Stoute, survival of the fittest means you have to be ever evolving and always paying attention to cues. In order to end up on the right side of ‘cool,’ it’s important to understand the cultural forces at work, the mindset of the millennial consumer and their code. In THE TANNING OF AMERICA Steve Stoute shows how a company can connect with the youth market without seeming inauthentic and staying true to their core brands. This ‘tanning’ phenomenon – the positive, powerful potential of urban youth culture that, when harnessed properly, can bring disparate groups of people together – raised the generation of black, Hispanic, white and Asian consumers who have the same ‘mental complexion’ based on shared experiences and values. Today’s consumer is a mindset, not a race – and when businesses get it right, and have a proper understanding of tanning, success is imminent.
Steve Stoute’s knowledge and observations will allow readers to find success in a new generation’s bold reinterpretation of the American Dream.
Steve Stoute is the founder of Translation, a full service “transcultural advertising agency”. In 2008, Stoute expanded Translation’s footprint by partnering with Shawn Carter (aka Jay-Z) to co-found Translation Advertising, which specializes in the multicultural market. Translation believes that its ability to manage ‘cultural’ nuances allows consumers to know the difference between marketing communications intended to relate to them versus those that intend to ‘sell to them.’ 
In 2009 the American Advertising Federation inducted Stoute into their Advertising Hall of Achievement, the industry’s premier award for outstanding advertising professionals age 40 and under. In 2010, Steve was recognized as “Innovator of the Year” at the ADCOLOR awards ceremony, an initiative launched by the ADCOLOR Industry Coalition, to promote increased diversity in the advertising, marketing and media industries.
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The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy