If you thought Sex Pistols Perfume was the unlikeliest endorsement I'd lay on you this month, think again. In what I sincerely hope is the dumbest PR campaign I'll see for a while, Snoop Dogg is turning his perpetually sleepy eyes toward a new urban menace: cybercrime!Superstar rapper Snoop Dogg and Norton are encouraging Snoop fans, rap enthusiasts, and everyone who wants to take a stand against cybercrime to enter the "Hack Is Wack" cybercrime rap video contest.
The contest, which runs through Sept. 30, 2010, asks participants to create and upload a two-minute rap video at www.HackIsWack.com showing off their lyrical skills on the subject of cybercrime. Entries can rap about topics including hacking, identity theft, computer viruses, and why it's important to protect yourself from online crime. Check out Snoop's original rap on www.HackIsWack.com now!
There are some impressive prizes at stake, too: if your IT security rap is judged the illest, you could win tickets to a Snoop show, a brand-new laptop, and a chance to spend a day hanging out with Snoop (. . . 's management).
It makes sense that a dorky software company would pursue a hip celeb spokesperson to hip up its image, and there's no doubt that Snoop is a living legend in the endorsem . . . uh, rap game, but why him? What does he have to do with hacking and phishing and whatnot? Why not Lil Jon, or Pete Wentz, or any other moderately priced face in the quasi-cool young-adult demographic? For an answer, I contacted a highly placed inside source at Symantec (the owner of Norton products), whose email address was conveniently listed at the bottom of the release.
"The driving force of our association with Snoop," wrote the dude, "was to show the pervasiveness of cybercrime and that it happens to everyone, from the average person to celebrities. Snoop has endured multiple instances of cybercriminals hacking into his email, stealing and then leaking his tracks, in addition to setting up fake scam websites in his name."
When you think about it, that's a pretty hip-hop answer: much of rap's appeal comes from its authentic, gritty, often first-hand look into the world of inner-city crime, right? Snoop isn't just posing here — he's seen the dark underbelly of cyberspace. He's had run-ins with dangerous online hustlers and lived to tell the tale. Now, in true Chuck D fashion, he's building awareness through the art of hip-hop.
But where's Snoop to lead by example with a dope cybercrime flow? Despite that bit in the press release claiming that the Hack Is Wack website hosts an original Dee Oh Double Gee verse, no such thing is to be found. I asked my boy at Symantec what the deal was, but no luck: "Retaining that line was an oversight. Snoop didn't produce an original rap in time for the contest."
All is not lost, however: hackiswack.com does host a brief interview with Snoop — which unfortunately begins mid sentence. " — ices that you can buy for the computers," he explains, "as far as, like, pieces of software that you can put in the computer. And just being more aware, and just bringing the attention level up so people can know that these crimes are actually happening out there."