Mad Men Meets Hip Hop

I’ve been doing some research on Mad Men, as I’m planning to use the series as the text for analysis for my dissertation (which will be about nostalgia, advertising, and lots of fun postmodern topics like hyperrealism and the simulacra – get excited!), and I was trying to find the music to the title sequence, as I will likely dissect that thing to miniscule pieces to the point of obscurity. I love that piece of music and I was thinking that it was an original composition, since it fits the tone of the show so well. Much to my surprise, however, I discovered (and perhaps this isn’t all that revelatory now, five years after the show premiered) that the song is actually from an instrumental hip hop track titled “A Beautiful Mine” from artist RJD2 (there’s gotta be a Star Wars fan behind that name, right?). Then a collaboration with artist Aceyalone added hip hop lyrics to the piece. I found it interesting since now I’m going to associate this hip hop song with the (seemingly) straight-laced white men of 1960s’ Madison Avenue. But actually, that’s quite the genius of it, as it converges past and present “realities”, reminding the viewer that the series is very much a product of the here and now, that the past is just an imagined projection of something that is so heavily constructed and appropriated…but I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m sure there will be plenty more discussion on this series as my research builds, and as the fifth season begins later this month (!). For now, enjoy the track:

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