by Freddie Bruhin-Price
This news might be a few months late, but towards the end of last year there were some earth-shattering developments in the realm of Sustainability set to rock the world into a new era of carbon cleanliness. No, it’s not the first hydrogen fuelled metropolis, or the widespread distribution of a mass produced electric car. No, the news, first heard in November 2014, is that Samsung are now officially in the rap “game.” And their first effort, delivered alongside their annual Sustainability Report, is nothing short of disastrous.
Every year, big businesses have an unwritten obligation to file a public sustainability report. These documents outline a company’s economic, environmental and social impact, and propose measures for reducing and improving it in the ensuing year. Samsung are no different, but, in the spirit of innovation, they decided on a unique method to set their report apart from those of their competitors. They posted a video soundtracked by a rap, extolling the virtues of working for Samsung. Included in its lyrics are the proud boasts that 40% of Samsung employees are women who can “sit back and relax” on maternity leave when they have had a child.
Oddly, the rap mentions very little of sustainability. Instead, it advises viewers that there are “so many good employments <sic>/ waiting for you/finding people with great skills/ and talents too.” The rap focuses on the company’s concern for the handicapped, which is commendable, but as a whole the video can only be seen as a misfiring, for it is impossible to watch without cringing at lazy lyrics like “Global harmony with people, society and environment.” However, this is the most relevant line in a verse that fails to make any meaningful statements about the state of sustainability.
We are informed by a small pop-up as the video begins “Lyrics and rap by Mad Clown.” Though the Korean emcee must be commended for the pertinence of his name, one might question whether he should have been so earnest about his involvement in the project. From a musical point of view, anyone with an interest in hip hop and rap will lament the current state of the art form when they hear Mad Clown’s rhymes. Although it is doubtful that Samsung are in contact with the Wu-Tang Clan, I would hasten to suggest Ghostface Killah might have been a better bet.
The attempt at hipness seems to have gone awry, with Youtube commenters speculating that the video “may have turned them over to Apple” though they were previously Samsung stalwarts. That said, the rap is merely an aside to the company’s Sustainability report, available here and a riveting read at just 69 pages long. You can take my word for it.