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As part of an effort to reach a larger audience (and they’re really reaching with this one), HBO has recruited 10 hip-hop and Latin-music artists to craft a Game of Thrones-inspired mixtape. According to the Wall Street Journal, Catch the Throne—which will be released this Friday and whose title is inspired by you know what—is an attempt to grow the channel’s subscriber base by reaching out to African-American and Latino viewers.
“Our multicultural audiences are a very important part of our subscribers, and we don’t want to take them for granted,” the network’s senior vice president for multicultural marketing explained to the Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal shared Nielsen numbers for the show’s most recent season, which explain the initiative:
Over the course of the third season, which aired in 2013, viewers of “Game of Thrones” prime-time telecasts were on average 13.2% black, 9.2% Hispanic and 76.6% white, according to Nielsen.
The collection of artists includes rappers such as Wale, Common, Big Boi, and Bodega Bamz, plus Kilo Kish, dancehall-rap hybrid Magazeen, and well-known reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee. Unlike Common and Big Boi, Wale admitted to only being a sporadic Game of Thrones viewer. Still, the Wall Street Journal said the D.C. rapper tossed around lyrics like a hardcore GOT geek during his session at New York’s Premier Studios: “I’m tellin’ whoever messin’ with me/I can bring you that Khaleesi heat…Use my King, knack for words, as an actual sword/I can decapitate a rapper…”
While the desire to branch out is understandable, the mixtape feels about as forced as SportsCenter‘s increasingly frequent pop-cultural references. While I fit the demographic HBO is targeting and have been yearning for exquisite lyrics about Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons, I could do without the mixtape. The network doesn’t have to dangle hip-hop in front of the urban audience they so desperately want to make tune in every Sunday.
Good for the artists, though; get that HBO money.