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Mercedes-Benz continues to provide products that can embody the brand as a timeless luxury which can only mean “the best or nothing.” The German carmaker continues to appeal to drivers of all ages coming from different areas of the world as they explore a more seamless customer assistance and connectivity.

 

The brand also envisions and works at forging a future of automated driving while creating smart mobility for semi-autonomous navigation. All the innovations and development are part of the company’s plan to deliver customers only the best results.

 

MB Vans and Robots Rolling Out

 

Mercedes-Benz Vans, the first company to provide a solution to the need for a means of transport that can take on heavy loads and challenging jobs, continues to expand its work on delivering the latest and most innovative technologies.

 

Just this week, MB Vans expanded its goal of producing the finest line of cars that can provide automated driving as well as automated delivery.

 

The famous German automobile maker pushed for the growth of its partnership with Starship Technologies, a startup that has taken on the task of creating a fleet of autonomous robots that can carry out a local delivery within a radius of 2 to 3 miles for a span of 15 to 30 days.

 

Starship Technologies announced a total of $17.2 million in seed funding, with Daimler AG leading the round of investments.

 

Daimler AG is a multinational corporation with subsidiaries like Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Benz, under which MB Vans operates.

 

Mothership: An Automated Delivery

 

In September last year, Starship Technologies and Daimler AG introduced to the public their “mothership” concept. The concept is the world’s first transportation system that transforms a Sprinter van into a transport hub for eight delivery robots.

 

To create a greater efficiency for deliveries, the concept will integrate the advantages of a van with robots that the startup has designed to run autonomously.

 

It is the belief of both companies that robots will improve the efficiency and provide solutions to issues that the delivery industry currently face, specifically regarding logistics.

 

The innovation that the business venture offers is the ability of robots to travel short distances, away from the MB van as a hub and without the need for an external source of power. And even when the robots navigate around town autonomously, humans will still monitor their movement, and they may take control anytime.

 

While it is still necessary for the automated robot to return to the warehouse for a reload after doing every delivery, its automation significantly enhances any distribution operation.

 

And with the use of the Sprinter van as a mobile hub, the radius for the operation of the robots remarkably widens and, in turn, reduces the current demands for the construction of warehouses for any business delivery.

 

By combining the automation of delivery robots and the functionalities of a mobile hub, the concept creates an opportunity for van customers and other niche markets to venture into new business models and services.

 

Aside from improving operations, the mothership concept also creates a convenient delivery process for end customers.

 

With the latest agreement on the seed funding, both companies aim to develop and polish the mothership concept for a more systematic performance in the coming months. Starship Technologies and other partners will conduct the primary pilot tests for the van hub and delivery robots in Europe.

 

After the initial testing of the robots, a widespread testing of the concept will take place with the participation of various logistics partners. The project teams have decided to conduct the pilot in a real-world environment at the last quarter of this year.

 

The project will expect a total investment of around 500-million euros from MB Vans for the automation, digitization, and robotics expenses calculated to last until 2020.

 

Semi-automation in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class

 

Apart from the collaboration with Starship Technologies, Mercedes-Benz is no stranger to automation. After a year since the debut of their E-Class sedan, Mercedes-Benz also unveiled their 2018 coupe version.

 

Aside from the wider, longer, and taller four-door build of the model, the E-Class boasts of a softer and way more organic-looking body. And similar to its S-Class and C-Class coupe siblings, the 2018 coupe also excludes a B-pillar.

 

Also typical of the midsize E-Class is the hardtop design that car enthusiasts rarely find nowadays. Customers may also enhance the coupe’s look with the optional Sports Package, to achieve a more aggressive personality with additional bumpers, wheels, and side skirts.

 

But what distinctly places the E-Class to a level that’s different from other competition is the company’s Pilot Drive feature, which functions as a semi-autonomous assistant to the driver. It also has the Distance Pilot Distronic adaptive cruise control to guide drivers with their road navigation. That particular feature will manage distances at speeds of up to 130 mph.

 

Another smart feature unique to Mercedes-Benz products is the Magic Vision Control, which will clean the windshield through three semi-autonomous wash programs. First, is cleaning without splashing water that can briefly disrupt any driver’s vision. Instead of sprays, wipers have mini outlets that will intelligently release water directly in front of the wipers. That will reduce washer fluid consumption.

 

Next, is the heating system for a more convenient cleaning process and one that also melts frost well enough and with ease. And last, but not least, the intelligent controls will also know when the top of the vehicle is down, so they can keep the fluid and dirt from getting in your car.

 

Dealers will distribute the smart car in the summer of 2017, with an expected release of the convertible and AMG variants.

 

Takeaway

 

Mercedes-Benz consistently provides customers with innovative technologies that rightly positions the brand as a front runner in the industry. With the future of smart navigation, autonomous driving becomes even more possible. Whether it’s a mobile hub for robots or an intelligent driver assist in coupes, Mercedes-Benz will deliver.

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In as early as the 15th to 16th century, rap was already a term that many people in Britain use. However, initially, it solely meant either to strike or to hit a surface to attract attention.

 

It was only a few centuries after when other people began using a variation of the word to mean speaking or chatting in general. Nowadays, many people know rap as a genre of music that originally sprang up from inner cities.

 

Going back to the roots of rap

 

For a long time in Western Africa, “griots” are the historians and storytellers who shared tales with their community by playing handmade instruments at local events. Now, there isn’t an equivalent word in the English language that could cover every function we can associate with a griot.

 

That’s because being a traditional griot means having a profession that can include various roles like those of musicians, spokespeople, diplomats, teachers, historians, ambassadors, interpreters, warriors, advisors, masters of ceremonies, and more.

 

While not every griot will do all of those roles, each griot still helps mainly to keep their past alive by practicing the tradition of remembering their history and articulating it for their fellowmen. A griot will usually sing, celebrate, and make announcements, but above all, a griot will remember their story as a people.

 

To never forget is perhaps the most valuable role of a griot. And it is that tradition that got carried over when colonizers began taking Africans against their will and transporting them to America as part of the large slave industry.

 

One of the ways the enslaved Africans coped with the oppression, subjugation, and injustices they experienced at the time was to sing. So while they spent most of their time working in the fields and vast plantations, they often spontaneously performed a “call to answer” song.

 

The call to answer requires a leader or the griot singing a particular part of a song with the rest of the enslaved responding with the following line. That kind of crowd engagement is what performing artists of today call as emceeing or the act of generating group participation.

 

The particular style of storytelling that griots usually make, combined with the act of inviting a crowd to participate is the root of rap music as we know it today.

 

Rap as a genre

 

Though the roots of rap go deep and as far back as the West African tradition, it was only in the early 1970s when the American people began to consider rap as a genre. It started in block parties held in New York City when DJs experimented with the isolation of percussion breaks of the soul, disco, and funky songs.

 

MCs, whom we more commonly recognize today as rappers, then had the task to introduce the DJs as well as keep the crowd energized in between songs. To do that, they would talk, crack jokes, and in general, interact with the audience. As time passed, it became common for MCs to talk and spit rhymes that were in sync with the beat of the music.

 

What many initially dismissed as a fad, rap soon made a name as recognizable as Hip Hop and proved its capacity for commercial success when the first singles and albums broke records in the music industry.

 

The music of rappers and DJs did not stop evolving, and in the late 1980s to early 1990s they entered what we now know as Hip Hop’s golden age. That was the period when rappers and DJs pushed the limits of their music and turned it into a mainstream genre we listen to today.

 

During the 1980s and 1990s, Hip Hop evolved from the consciousness of the black community within the United States. That was a time when the US experienced its worst recession since the Great Depression happened. That was also a time when millions of Americans lost their jobs, their businesses, their homes, and their lands.

 

Even with the decline in the economy, or the stock market crash that happened in October 1987, a majority of the middle and upper-class Americans still had confidence in the administration. And because of that, the character people associated with the decade was still the “yuppie.”

 

The yuppie symbolized the young American who has a well-paying job that can support his expensive taste thanks to his college education. Some people see the young urban professionals as materialistic and self-centered who were only concerned with the large consumption of goods while making a lot of money.

 

Material consumption was one of the issues that the Hip Hop culture responded to with their production of rap music. Hip Hop and rap, as a genre of music, predominantly became a response to the cultural, socio-economic, and political issues that plagued marginalized groups such as the black American society.

 

Just like their African ancestors who were forced into slavery, the black community used rap to transform their resentment of the injustices and social inequality they experienced into something productive. Through their music, they reframed the attitudes of people and created opportunities for themselves to go beyond the challenges they experienced on a day to day basis.

 

The Criticisms of Rap and Hip Hop Culture

 

With the inevitable evolution of rap and Hip Hop as a whole, and the acceptance that audiences from the United States and other countries had, there is no doubt about their prevalence in the music industry. However, despite the popularity rap and hip hop were enjoying, some people criticized its seemingly pervasive nature, which reflects cultures of chauvinism, profanity, aggression, vulgarity, and indecency.

 

The genre was not short of criticisms as others identified the community as promoters of subversion and insurgency. They were in support of the notion that any attributable positive changes in the social and cultural aspects were a mere offshoot of the disorder that defines the music in general.

 

But in spite of all the controversy that the genre has been getting, especially with their lyrics that seem to campaign for the practice of vulgarity and aggression, many rappers and hip hop artists were still able to push for a national movement that has the potential to uplift marginalized communities.

 

Rap and Hip Hop as Forms of Expression

 

Now, even if we recognize the arguments of the critics of rap and hip hop as valid and to a degree reasonable, their statements still in no way can reduce the massive influence the genre has as a medium for mobilization, promotion of cultural differences, and basic social awareness.

 

Through the years when rap music evolved, it became a useful tool for provoking thought and action, more than just awareness. Through the music, plenty of artists became advocates for movements against violence, power, inequality, and poverty that enslaved their communities for centuries.

 

And together with being an instrument of such movements of people, the music that rappers created also reflected their trends and ideas, as well as the social realities they were living in and their interpretations of such. The songs were expressions of their thoughts, in the hopes that these might inspire change in their society.

 

Accordingly, most people listen to rap and hip hop and think of the music as a mix of the reality and fiction that create contemporary artists’ responses to the ever-present conditions like joblessness, discrimination, poverty, and dis-empowerment. And in general, people saw rap and hip hop as a movement to counter the policies and attitudes that many members of the white American society had against the black community.

 

And with the growing popularity of the genre, specifically through the 1980s and 1990s, rap songs became a revolution, to some extent, against the yuppie figure that was busy with the consumption of goods that only the affluent society can purchase.

 

Minorities and groups that experienced oppression for years found a channel for expressing their plight, and in a creative and, in reality, nonviolent way, fight the oppressive conventionalities that the majority of the country has served them.

 

The music of Gerald Earl Gillum

 

Gerald Earl Gillum, born on May 24, 1989, is an American songwriter, producer, and rapper most people know as G-Eazy. G-Eazy, who is of Ukrainian descent, was born and raised in Oakland, California.

 

He independently produced his first singles, and his first major-label album called These Things Happen hit the number 3 spot on the US Billboard 200 after its release on June 23, 2014.

 

The second studio album he released, titled When It’s Dark Out, featured the hit single “Me, Myself & I” that garnered a place in the top 10 spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 after its release on December 4, 2015.

 

In a span of eight years, G-Eazy has built quite an impressive career that progressed from being just a promising act that’s making a mark in the underground music scene to being a major-label artist who is now working with big names in the Hip Hop and Pop music industries.

 

The Music Style of G-Eazy

 

Gillum, or G-Eazy, takes inspiration for his music style from the late 1950s to early 1960s culture with a blend of contemporary rap. He admits his style pulls together different styles of music from distinct genres and cultures, which he weaves together to produce the kind of music that has catapulted him to this year’s favorite Hip Hop artist.

 

The style he illustrated is evident in the music and message of a song he released in 2011. Mercedes Benz (The American Dream) was a takeoff from the piece that the famous rock icon Janis Joplin performed in 1973.

 

It is a song that outright describes the gluttony and wastes the American upper class had. G-Eazy, together with the rawness of Janis Joplin’s voice, sings of the fortune that many of today’s “yuppies” and affluent members of the society often take for granted.

 

While G-Eazy also includes in his music the jealousy he has for the kind of luxury that the wealthy can benefit from anytime, he also explains in the song that he earned what he currently has through hard work, and by being true to himself.

 

He is honest about overcoming the struggles and troubles that his class status afforded him to earn his spot in the industry. And that while a significant amount of money can turn people against each other, he still stays true to his friends and what he has does for years to be the kind of artist he envisions himself.

 

Mercedes Benz (The American Dream)

 

Much of G Eazy’s early music is about his life and his pursuit of the American dream. It’s the reality he experienced as a budding rap artist in the early 2000s.

 

With G-Eazy taking inspiration from the American culture of the 1950s and 1960s, it is worthy to note that the decade that followed World War II is one that many people would consider as a prosperous period in the history of the American economy.

 

Americans in the 1950s experienced victory after years of war. They had money to spend and pursue their American dreams in an optimistic, and even better, realistic manner. Part of the big goal was to achieve comfort from family and home building, as supported by their purchase of real estate properties.

 

When around 16 million veterans went back after the second World War, America experienced a housing spree, and the industry boomed with war survivors starting over with their lives by creating a family. After the housing boom, the baby boom followed, and then car production also experienced a boost in purchases.

 

Then rapid technological production for family use also happened after the war ended. The 1950s up to the 1960s were a period for the modern American family to live life to the fullest, particularly regarding the consumption of goods they could buy.

 

That was the American dream that, in a way, also reflected G Eazy’s aspirations in life. Through hard work, he is also open to seeking material wealth and not taking things for granted, unlike those in the upper-class society he stereotypically described.

 

Though the Mercedes-Benz song that Janis Joplin popularized evokes a sense of loneliness that comes with a rather illusory happiness, G Eazy’s take on it was more of being true to oneself about being enticed by the very same worldly goods that Joplin seemingly criticizes.

 

While for many people, the song is Joplin’s rejection of the deeply consumerist world that drives the American dream, G-Eazy’s is a welcoming of that reality, but still with a grain of salt. After all, Mercedes-Benz as a brand is the symbol of timeless luxury anyone would want to achieve.

 

Criticisms and the Realization of Dreams

 

Just like G-Eazy, other rappers still link hip hop and rap with their class aspirations, and despite differences in cultural backgrounds, they use the music to convey their take on the experiences they have in society.

 

However, for a genre with complex layers of cultural, socio-economic, and political elements, it isn’t surprising when some people raise questions about the essence and success of a white rapper. Some would question if the artist is authentic enough or is in a position to practice an age-old tradition and turn it into his own.

 

And like all things, hip-hop today changes and alters its identity as speculations emerge regarding the authenticity of a genre and the significance of its roots in an industry that merges art with consumerism. Will a genre that fought inequality and injustice continue with the practice of exclusivity for people based on their skin color and history?

 

What the colored youth used as a medium for exerting their rights to self-determination, hip hop and rap grew beyond an art form and into an industry where control over its direction and production were at the disposition of multinational corporations.

 

That growth, even with what some might say as the reason behind the dying of a genuine movement for self-expression, propelled artists regardless of color to realizing their respective American dreams.

 

Takeaway

 

With a history of movements against oppression and towards living the American dream, hip hop and rap continue to inspire artists of all backgrounds and colors to take a stand and express their thoughts in a productive way. To be able to express individualism in aspiring what would define a good life, despite all negativity, is a true value of rap as an evolving music genre.

 

Thank you for reading our post on Hip Hop Culture, History and Mercedes Benz! Adsitco has been providing Mercedes-Benz parts since 1979.

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