Monday, January 7, 2008

Hip Hop; 'Making it rain' on the corporate world

Gigantic multi-national corporations have been the direct beneficiaries of hip hop music's message of spending money. These companies have raked in billions in sales that relate directly to the placement of their goods and services in hip hop songs.

Here is a partial list of some of the products that have been mentioned in rap songs

Bentley English manufacturer of luxury automobiles
Cristal champagne
Courvoisier cognac
Hennessy Cognac
Rémy Martin cognac (The rapper Remy Ma was known as Remy Martin until the company reportedly asked her to stop using the name)
Moët & Chandon champagne
Alizé Cognac based spirit
Hpnotiq liqueur/ vodka/ cognac
Adidas German sports apparel manufacturer
Cadillac brand of luxury vehicles owned by General Motors


Free Advertising Works

Although other genres of music occasionally mention commercial products, no other genre makes the placement of products in lyrics apart of the accepted landscape of the music.

It's amazing the amount of free advertising that these products have received. When Busta Rhymes (Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr) released the song Pass The Courvoisier, sales of Courvoisier cognac rose by 30%.

I imagine that other rap songs have had a similar effect on other products.

The sad part of this is that the people who are responsible for the sales increases of these products are likely the people who can least afford the products.

Backlash

Also most of the rappers who include products in the lyrics of their songs are not even savvy enough to have gotten paid. Even the rapper known as Jay - Z (Shawn Carter) who mentions Cristal champagne in at least one of his songs, was not paid. In fact it was Cristal that complained that their product being placed in rap songs hurt the brand.

" We can’t forbid people from buying it,” told Rouzaud. “I’m sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.” - Cristal’s managing director, Frederic Rouzaud in The Economist magazine

So the message being sent is to be a zombie consumer and to pledge your allegiance to multi-national conglomerates which have no respect for you or your money.

Big Business Hits The Charts

"According to AmericanBrandstand.com, Cristal was the eighth most mentioned brand on Billboard’s Top 100 chart in 2005.

It scored 35 mentions, from stars including Kanye West, Trina, Lloyd Banks, The Game and Mariah Carey.

In his number one hit Hard Knock Life, Jay-Z raps, “Let’s sip the Cris and get pissy-pissy“." - BREAKINGNEWS.IE ARCHIVES: 16 June 2006

I wonder how many billions of dollars have been funneled into the pockets of huge corporations. And I wonder how many poor and near poor people have mortgaged their financial well-being for a bottle of Cristal.


What Do You Think?

Do you think a generation of African Americans have been destroyed financially by hip hop's message of "making it rain"?

Have you known people who were influenced by hip hop's message of blind consumerism?



RUN-DMC - My Adidas

12 comments:

clnmike said...

Yeah the rappers sold thme selves short with the free advertisement of these brands especially since a lot of them did not want to be associated with hip-hop. Crystal Timbaland all made it clear that they would rather not have rappers approvals.

At the same time a lot of rappers have wised up.
TI did a chevy comercial, Ludacris was a spoke person for coke, and jay-Z had his whole ad campaign for the American Gangster cd funded by Budwieser and Hewlitt packer as well as "disowning" Crystal for his own bran of liquor.

I think we will see more of that going on from them.

tasha212 said...

This is a good post. It is something to think about. I think it is irresponsible for rappers to endorse these products without any regard for the finacial reprecussions for the fans who go out and buy these products because of their endorsement. It's also quite sad that most of these artists are not smart enough to get paid for their endorsement. When are African Americans going to stop being mindless consumers and start using their money power the right way? What do u think?

www.thesowingcircle.blogspot.com

theblackactor.com said...

In the end, it is a lack of consciousness on our part -- about this matter -- about many matters.

Until we reach a level of consciousness, we will continue to pay the price for it.

Miriam said...

Do you think a generation of African Americans have been destroyed financially by hip hop's message of "making it rain"?

I think the problem was already there that they could "buy into this" so easily.

Have you known people who were influenced by hip hop's message of blind consumerism?

Not sure as I wasn't so into that music. But I did notice a mad rush for raiders jackets, nike shoes, etc etc. That maybe have been more influenced by sports though...

Great post! well researched!

Danielle said...

Rap culture is American culture. Capitalism and materialsm reign supreme. Some have called rappers "Republicans" because of their devotion to all things consumer driven.

This whole idea of "things" compensating for whatever is missing in our lives is a disturbing message that America and the Rap Game promote non-stop.

Buy more and more and more and look how happy and fabulous you will be. Acquire more and more and more and you will appear to be the most important person in the world.

The irony of all the "shout outs" is that most of these high end lables don't want to be associated w/ "gangsta and ghetto" culture in the first place. Very few of these rappers are spokesperson's for the labels they love so much.

If rappers are the business men they claim to be and it's all about getting paid, then they are the ultimate dupes because Cristal, etc won't give them a dime for their "free" advertising.

Now how stupid is that?

Tami said...

Danielle, you are right on. America as a whole is afflicted with consumerism and materialism. The book "Overspent American" makes the point that the notion of what we NEED to achieve the American dream is expanding. Maybe 30-40 years ago it was a house in the burbs, a car and a color TV set. Today it is two cars (one a gas-guzzling SUV or truck), a 2,500-square-foot McMansion, designer clothes, a flat-screen high-def TV, etc...We all suffer from this Olympic keeping up with the Joneses, but the poor suffer most of all.

Just yesterday, my stepson was telling me how he went to visit an old friend over holiday break. The friend, he said, had moved to an apartment in a "bad" neighborhood. But, here is the sad part, had a big-screen TV in nearly every room.

I think hip hop does HELP reinforce destructive financial habits and materialism among black folks, particularly the poor. And yes, I think it is irresponsible of artists like JayZ and P Diddy to make a career touting stuff the average listener cannot afford and selling a largely unattainable lifestyle to the masses.

I'd love to see the sales figures for the luxury items that are promoted in hip hop. While things like Alize and Hpnotiq may have gained, I wonder if Bentley and Cristal really have. Most people aren't going to afford a Bentley no matter how much they rob Peter to pay Paul. And, I wonder how many consumers Cristal and Moet have LOST as they have become ubiquitous in hip hop. Does knowing that an urban 20-something is sipping Cristal like water at the club(no matter that she spent a week's paycheck to do it) take the exclusivity away from luxury brands? As a marketer, I would tend to think yes.

Liz said...

I tend to dislike name-brand anything but especially the whole culture of having to have a certain pair or shoes or a certain jacket. My two teenage nephews drive me crazy with their asking if I have certain brands of shoes, etc...I remember my one nephew wanted some Air Force 1's a couple of years ago because of that stupid Nelly song. And he was all of eleven years old. He was so devastated because my sister wouldn't buy them because kids at school were teasing him for his regular shoes.

Alot of these rappers are wizening up and getting in on the deal though. Puffy's marketing some stupid liquor (when is he not) but I think he gets a cut of the profits or something. And I'm sure the financial cost of some of these videos is being paid for by product placement.

There's no realistic financial education for American youth as a whole. We aren't taught about wealth management in school. No one sits us down and has us take Dave Ramsey courses or something. But I think in general we live in a spend and spend some more culture and so that's what everyone's teaching their kids. After 9/11, our President told us all to go shop, so it's not just black kids being seduced by materialism. It's our whole culture.

jose said...

I think it's interesting how we hold rappers responsible for things that we already perpetuate. For instance, most of those brands existed before rap became popular, but they only came into the public's consciousness when they became affordable for the "common people." While I do think they have partial responsibility, we need to make sure we don't always attack rappers for all of society's ills, because I believe rap is the egg to the chicken that is the problems in this country, not the other way around.

Don said...

Mes, I definitely feel like an entire generation has been destroyed by the irresponsible nature of the past few years of the hip hop generation. I don't place blame on the genre itself, because other genre's of music offer the same.

I think hip hop's inclination towards the "fly ish" is what creates the free advertisement. At the same time, the product mentioned benefits just as much as the rap artist who mentions it benefits, popularity-wise.

Miss Web said...

Hip hop is to music what nascar is to sports. One big advertisement masquerading as something else.

jjbrock said...

Mes Deux Cents. Wow what a great post. It is sad to see that Hip Hop don't understand their own power. So they give it away free.

Mes Deux Cents said...

ClnMike,

Yeah I've seen some of those ads. I suppose they had no choice but to wise up.

By the way I hate that TI Chevy ad; it uses the song Sweet Home Alabama in the background.

_____________________________________

Tasha,

I think you are absolutely right. African Americans control nearly a trillion dollars a year. We ought to be recycling a good portion of that money in our community.

It would be amazing if rappers began to promote Black owned businesses in their music.

I doubt that will happen though.
___________________________________

The Black Actor,

That's true; a lot of us are flying blind and giving no thought to how money is spent.

___________________________________

Miriam,

That's true; the sports leagues picked up on the use of their products in rap videos and sold a lot of merchandise because of it.

Thanks

___________________________________

Danielle,

Most are dupes but they seem to be satisfied to get what ever money they can get from selling these songs that promote the companies.

They have no regard to the impact they are having on millions of people.
___________________________________

Tami,

When you see a 1985 Buick with $3000 rims parked outside of a broken down apartment building you are seeing hip hop's influence.
___________________________________

Liz,

Financial management in the U.S. is to figure out how to spend next week's paycheck this week.

And kids are most victimized by rap's culture of materialism.
___________________________________

Jose,

Well part of the point is most of those brands still aren't affordable for common people. But common people spend huge and disproportionate amounts of their money on these products.

I understand that hip hop is not responsible for all of America's ills. However Rap has to accept some culpability where it applies.

Don't you think?

___________________________________


Don,

A whole generation is a tragedy. There needs to be something to balance the message.

__________________________________

Miss Web,

You are sooooo right. It is just like NASCAR except NASCAR drivers are getting paid big time.
___________________________________

JJ B,

They give it away and seem happy to do so, that's sad.

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About Me

West Coast, United States
African American, Poet?, Vegetarian, Music lover, Agoraphobic, Social Phobic

My Favorite Poet

My Favorite Poet
Staceyann Chin

My Favorite Track Athlete

My Favorite Track Athlete
Christine Arron