While listening to Tupac in the car today, it struck me that web 2.0 and rap music have a great deal in common.
The democratizing effect of "two tables and a microphone" allowed people without instrumental training to create wonderful music. Similarly, today's web tools are enabling thousands of web users to create content and applications without deep knowledge of programming languages and technology. Mashups are the web equivalent to rap's sampling, code jams the analog to rap's freestyle battles, beta launches the equivalent to demo tapes, shout-outs the analog to track-backs, Apple's Garageband software similar to Typepad or Jotspot. Moreover, the blogosphere and rap are perhaps the most self-referential creative mediums known to man, whereby songs and posts build off one another in a call and response manner. Mashup's are experiments that create rich blends of underlying applications, as rap tunes are created via the synthesis of jazz, funk, and soul classics. Creativity and innovation is redefined from ground-up development (100% original material) to innovations on the margin. Finally, web 2.0 and rap are both driven by young innovators, often around project-based interaction rather than long-term relationships.
The steady advance in web tools is introducing on-line creativity, rather than simply on-line consumption, to millions of people. As with rap, I think the world is richer for it.