“… I'm sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business."
- Frederic Rouzaud
A few years back, the company who makes Cristal champagne publicly went on record saying that it did not want any association with Hip-Hop. Not surprisingly, this pissed everyone off. Rappers and supporters of Hip-Hop lambasted the company, labeling them racist and insensitive. Jay-Z who was the reason Cristal entered the culture, decided to boycott the champagne and “coincidentally” provide us with a suitable alternative (of which he has a financial interest). Cristal pretty much told us (members of the Hip-Hop community) that we’re not good enough to drink their champagne. But I’m not upset – In fact, I not only understand why they feel this way but I support their decision.
If you own a company or worked for anyone that makes and sells a product, you understand that branding is everything. Who and what your brand is associated with can make or break the future of your company. Two examples:
- If you design children’s education toys, would you be thrilled if you found out that R. Kelly was singing about your product and using them in his videos?
- If you run a chain of pet supply stores, I bet you’re gonna stay far away from a certain football player who’s last name rhymes with “Mick”.
So if you were the maker of a luxury beverage in a highly competitive market, would you want your brand to be linked with drug dealers and murderers? I didn’t think so. Its not that Cristal had a problem that you rapped about drinking a bottle of their champagne in the club… It’s when you took that same bottle and smashed it over someone’s head, pulled the strap out, peeled his cap back and then made it rain with all of your earnings from narcotics trafficking.
I know what you’re thinking, man not everyone in Hip-Hop is selling drugs and killing people? Whatever. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t talk about keeping it real and keeping it gangster and then get upset when other people believe us. If you don’t want your awards show to censor you to the point where your whole performance is on mute, don’t make a song with 50 curses in it. If you want to perform at the Superbowl and get corporate sponsorships, rapping about cocaine and getting head in the whip isn’t the way to go.
A business has the right to protect its image and as consumers, we have the right to buy products from companies appreciate our business. So don’t worry, you don’t have to pop Cris’ anymore - I’m sure St. Ides is still around somewhere. And if all else fails…
Hov will be there to take your money.