HHW takes a look at Hip Hop’s influence on the liquor business, and explores why brands enlist rappers to pitch their products to the world.
There’s no denying that Hip Hop has become a driving force behind product advertising and marketing, as companies try to tap into a culture that generates billions of dollars in revenue annually. Even before Jaime Foxx made us “Blame It (On the Alcohol)” while pitching Patron and Grey Goose in his star-studded video, the marriage between urban music and liquor brands had long been in place. Rap artists in particular are often called upon to help brands reach today’s audience of tastemakers and trendsetters. Artists often speak on popular brands in their lyrics, and place products in their videos to advertise brands to offset production costs. But what is it about Hip Hop’s appeal that alcohol companies find so appealing? As one industry insider we spoke with explained, “Hip Hop is still seen as innovative, and it still has its finger on the pulse of a whole generation, and that generation spends.” With that being said, its no wonder today’s crop of Hip Hop stars are often more savvy when it comes to marketing themselves to the public, knowing that if they build a strong fan base, opportunities will come their way for things like endorsements, and tour support.
This is all imperative to an artist surviving in a time of declining revenues from album sales. Liquor manufactures seem to understand this, and are oftentimes happy to step in and assist with funding, in exchange for their products being pitched to the masses.
That’s why Ludacris was brought on to be the face of Conjure Cognac, of which he’s a 50% owner. Disturbing the Peace (DTP) Boss Jeff Dixon commented about the symbiotic relationship of Hip Hop artists and liquor companies, speaking about how the two industries can revitalize one another in a sluggish economy: “Black music is in the worst state it’s ever been in sales wise, and soon you’re gonna see a lotta guys with nothin’. But Puff is winning with Ciroc… he took over a brand that was dead, and he revived it and showed them, ‘This is how we can make it successful.’ Then you got Luda’ makin’ Conjure successful – that means everybody’s gonna be able to eat! But it’s just gettin’ the right deal.”
To read the rest of HHW’s exclusive on Bottle Rap, be sure to pick up the latest issue of Hip-Hop Weekly featuring split covers on newsstands now.