Birdman is trying to sign Young Thug to his record label. To prove his sincerity he tattooed several Young Thug associated tattoos on his hands and face.
Cannibal capitalism is the mediated experiences of human suffering projected for human entertainment and profit. It is obvious that the bodily impact of Birdman’s tattoos is a particular kind of communication. Tattoos have often been the indication of long-term committment for gangs, military units and fans of musical artists. Birdman’s tattoo is amplified on social media and through dozens of rap blogs. It is a public communication of his commitment intentionally articulated to bring his company more profit (by signing a strong young artist).
In some ways the suffusion of cannibal capitalism into many so-called reality television shows (cooking shows, real estate flippers) is an indication of the desperation of many people. But Birdman isn’t desperate (not in the poverty sense) — he can give expensive cars and jewelry to friends and label-mates. I heard on NPR he just gave a Bugatti to Justin Beiber.
Fleeting fame and the potential for profit have encouraged more than one reality TV contestant to become a public exercise in morality and exclusion. (Did you hear about Stephanie on Top Chef when she cut herself and she went to the hospital?!?! How about that Survivor episode where that guy broke his leg? What a wimp!)
Cannibal capitalism can be mapped whenever a human is harmed and it is filmed and amplified for other people’s pleasure. When this happens a particular morality of self-sacrifice is usually articulated. Announcers and other contestants express just how someone should take the suffering. In some ways the harm done to the body gives access to comment on the body.
In the case of Birdman’s new tattoo’s the morality expressed isn’t how tough Birdman was for getting the ink, but rather how idiotic it is to tattoo to something as fleeting as a new potential corporate rap alliance. Here is the Smoking Section‘s Gotty mocking the social costs of multiple face tattoos.
We recognize that the fact that Birdman will never have to go to a job interview ever in his life. The Cash Money CEO’s so loaded his kids kids most likely will never have to worry about working either. With that said, his continuing effort to ink his whole body with scribblings dedicated to Cash Money subsidiaries is a little odd.
Actually, the “RG,” presumably for his Rich Gang management company, added to his right cheek isn’t that bad because what the hell would two more letters do to a face littered in tats? It’s the “YMCMYSL” scripted on his fingers that doesn’t make sense. Assuming the letters rep Young Money Cash Money Stoner Life as in Young Thug’s movement, that’s more confusing.