Purpose – This paper seeks to highlight hip-hop's contribution to the entrepreneurship and place marketing literature. Hip-hop is taken from the lens of an individual artist, Akon, whose music and lyrics – a “hybrid of silky, West African-styled vocals mixed with North America's East Coast and Southern beats” – provides fresh insights for place marketers.
Design/methodology/approach – A “discourse analysis” of the lyrics from two non-chart songs Senegal and Mama Africa provided the conceptual base for a better understanding of the fusion of music and entrepreneurship with place marketing.
Findings – Through music, Akon has bridged socio-cultural (ethnic cuisine, immigration and social exclusion, faith or spirituality) and economic attributes (notably remittances) – with implications for entrepreneurship and place marketing.
Research limitations/implications – The paper demonstrates that music and entrepreneurship can be extended to place marketing using discourse analysis. Future research may need to consider how to leverage the potential of celebrity endorsement or partnerships in place marketing strategies. It was by no accident that Akon was recruited by PepsiCo for the recently concluded 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa through a charity single – Oh Africa!
Originality/value – The paper is an attempt to fuse three distinct streams of literature (music, entrepreneurship and place marketing). The value lies in extrapolating a well-known, but little discussed, subject in academia, i.e. the role of hip-hop music in the place marketing discourse.