Steve Lacy's Newest Song, '4Real,' Is Anti-Pop Genius

Steve Lacy’s “4Real,” which the polymath guitarist released on SoundCloud earlier this month, is a stew of delicious production; it’s got gushing bass, teenage quirk, and the sweet urgency of young love. The song’s borders are intentionally blurred—thematically, structurally—but what Lacy feels is unmistakably obvious: the connection he has to his unnamed partner is no illusion. “We kiss, we hug, we dance and fight/We laugh, make up, then we go all night,” he sings, before diving headfirst into the hook. “It’s such a thrill to love you when it’s real.”

It’s a love letter with punk spirit, and functions as something of an informal admission to the is-he-isn’t-he curiosities surrounding Lacy’s sexuality (without all the high drama others have placed on it). If you want to make something, Lacy told WIRED in April, “grab whatever you have and just make it.” With its echoes of Prince and Bilal, “4Real” confirms Lacy’s decidedly anti-pop undertaking: that a song can, and should, be a nebulous configuration—sometimes with no center, no formal structure, or even a skillful conclusion.

Lacy’s inventiveness is well earned. As a member of Los Angeles-based R&B outfit The Internet, he helped executive-produce the group’s Grammy-nominated 2015 album Ego Death, has collaborated with Kendrick Lamar (“PRIDE”) and Kali Uchis (“Only Girl”), and in February released his 6-track “song series” Steve Lacy’s Demo to much acclaim. The solo collection’s unifying sentiment was its tightly controlled production; at a slender 13 minutes in its entirety, its songs never felt like they might swiftly veer off the tracks. But “4Real” is a different kind of creative proposition for Lacy—it’s raucous and reckless, with hints of madness. It’s a little like falling in love.

When the song suddenly cuts short—Lacy’s own doing, a move reflective of the freeform ethos SoundCloud often incubates—it doesn’t matter. His intention is not a neat resolution, or even a resolution at all, but to unsettle the assumptions of the listener. The DNA of music is meant to be fussed with, and Lacy disbands all formalities with “4Real.” What you think matters, doesn’t. In his hands, there are no rules for true songcraft—and the end result, wherever one lands, is all the more rewarding because of its abruptness, its surprise.

In recent years, artists like Frank Ocean, Young M.A, and iLoveMakonnen have ushered queer narratives in popular music, especially within hip-hop and R&B. With “4Real,” Lacy outlines his own narrative, however indistinct. When he uploaded the song to SoundCloud, the track image featured a pixelated photo of him (presumably) and another person (presumably a white guy) in affectionate embrace; the two look as if they might be kissing. “Is anyone gonna question if that is him and a guy? not that it matters but it would be cute,” one user commented. To which another responded: “I just noticed the same thing. Whatevs, homie’s doin his thing.” Lacy’s intention had come full circle—that beauty can be formed from an undefined place.

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Deloitte Is the Latest Target of a Cyber Attack With Confidential Client Data at Risk

Global accountancy firm Deloitte has been hit by a sophisticated hack that resulted in a breach of confidential information and plans from some of its biggest clients, Britain’s Guardian newspaper said on Monday.

Deloitte—one of the big four professional services providers—confirmed to the newspaper it had been hit by a hack, but it said only a small number of its clients had been impacted.

The firm discovered the hack in March, according to the Guardian, but the cyber attackers could have had breached its systems as long ago as October or November 2016.

The attack was believed to have been focused on the U.S. operations of the company, which provides auditing, tax advice, and consultancy to multinationals and governments worldwide.

“In response to a cyber incident, Deloitte implemented its comprehensive security protocol and began an intensive and thorough review including mobilizing a team of cybersecurity and confidentiality experts inside and outside of Deloitte,” a spokesman told the newspaper. “As part of the review, Deloitte has been in contact with the very few clients impacted and notified governmental authorities and regulators.”

A Deloitte spokeswoman declined immediate comment, saying that the firm would issue a statement shortly.

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Mike's Hard Lemonade: Measuring Digital That Drives Retail Sales

It’s refreshing when the head of marketing for a Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) brand opens up and shares his insights on best practices around tracking and measuring the impact of digital marketing that drive in-store sales. For years, this has been a challenge as the ecosystem between retailers, data providers and manufacturers has been relatively immature.

This summer, I had the opportunity to speak with Sanjiv Gajiwala, VP of Marketing at Mike’s Hard Lemonade and I asked him about how he had effectively streamlined his company’s ability to directly measure the effectiveness of their digital marketing efforts. In addition to this article, you’re welcome to watch the full interview on YouTube.

Matching Facebook Ads to Credit Card Purchase Data

“We work with Oracle and their data provider, Datalogix which actually looks at our Facebook ads and the users that are exposed to those Facebook ads and connects that back to their credit card and purchase behavior,” says Gajiwala. “Datalogix has a way of matching users to their actual purchasing and what we’ve really been able to learn from that has been incredible.”

Gajiwala explains that Datalogix fits within Mike’s Hard Lemonade’s social listening ecosystem. “We’re looking at brand health and what people are saying, but it helps us complete the picture with their purchase behavior,” he says.

Key Learning From This Purchase Behavior Data Layer

“We’ve learned some really incredible things,” says Gajiwala, “People who are exposed to our [Facebook] ads that are Mike’s users are spending 5% more. And 84% of people exposed to Facebook ads on Mike’s definitely would or are very interested in purchase Mike’s after seeing the ad or our content we’re promoting. You start to see that both of these numbers start to synch up, which helps validate what we’re seeing in the soft data versus through the register data.”

Digging in a bit further, Gajiwala acknowledges that this work with Datalogix does not allow Mike’s Hard Lemonade to segment by individual retail store since the data provided is driven by credit card purchases. “Instead of looking at [individual] retailers, we are able to look at the segments of our consumers between heavy, medium and light users and understand what kind of content and what kind of behaviors we can expect from that different type of consumer.”

Breaking Down Geographical Relevance

As Mike’s Hard Lemonade is sold nationally, I asked Gajiwala about how they review the geographical relevance of the sales data driven by their digital marketing efforts. “Datalogix and Oracle are doing the mashination including geographic and penetration data,” he said, with the understanding that some of these insights are a combination of Facebook geographic data and credit card transactional data.

This gives Mike’s Hard Lemonade an additional layer of insights that help with better understanding purchase habits by consumer segmentation (i.e. heavy to light) overlaid with geographical penetration insights to help with better understanding geographical flavor profile preferences and where marketing budgets are best spent on a local geographical level.

Insights Leading to Incremental Investments in Social Strategy

“Through this work we uncovered that there were a whole group of people that, profile-wise, were like our Mike’s heavy users that we weren’t reaching,” Gajiwala said. “They were heavy [Flavored Malt Beverage] users, but they weren’t really engaging with Mike’s. That lead to an incremental investment in our social strategy.”

This allowed Mike’s Hard Lemonade to then track back to see if they are getting the same sort of lift from this new target of previously ignored heavy non-Mike’s users and determine if the incremental investment is performing in a similar fashion to their core marketing investments.

“Our prospecting and our farming strategies are both different on social but just as measurable,” Gajiwala said. That is to say, with a relatively small team, everyone at Mike’s Hard Lemonade is accountable to the data.

What Gets Measured, Gets Managed

The bottom line here is that with the addition of the Datalogix reporting, Mike’s Hard Lemonade is finding new opportunities that it had previously ignored while, at the same time, seeing the direct impact on retail sales from its digital marketing efforts. This is the growing trend at retail. With a growing number of options to track and measure marketing impact, your ability to interpret data gives you a competitive edge. The most effective content and social media ads will receive increased and even incremental budget to ensure brand health and continued sales growth at retail.

For more on this topic, see these two related articles: What It Takes to Exceed Shopper Expectations and Empower Retail Employees and Not All Retailers are Contracting. Here’s the Secret From One That’s expanding.

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