Revisiting Champagne’s Long-Standing Relationship With Hip-Hop
In the mid-1990s, hip-hop became a huge force in mainstream media and pop culture. The genre was quickly transforming the culture— simply dropping one line mentioning a brand over a tight beat, followed by a music video could mean a surge or a dip in sales for a company.
It’s no secret that hip-hop depicts a flashy and extravagant lifestyle. Foreign cars, beautiful homes, and over the top parties have become staple images in rap. Rappers often mention their new lifestyle in songs, sometimes taking us through a past life of poverty, and giving us glimpses into their new way of living via music videos and red carpet affairs.
In hip-hop, everything has an expiration date because everyone is chasing bigger and better. However, champagne has had a long-lasting relationship with the community.
The gold bubbly at the highest price for decades has been the seal of approval when showcasing the lifestyle of the newly rich and famous. And over the years the brands may have changed but the gold bubbly has remained flowing.
When Nas told us that the world was his back in 1994, he made sure to include the drink that helped him write in his book of rhymes.
"I sip the Dom P, watchin Gandhi til I'm charged. Then writing in my book of rhymes." —Nas "The World is Yours"
For the bulk of the music video, Nas is in his neighborhood. However, the opening shows Nas in a hot tub sipping Dom Pérignon. A single bottle of Dom in the 90s at a club was priced anywhere between $100-$300.
Moët & Chandon
"The back of the club, sippin' Moët is where you'll find me." —The Notorious B.I.G., "Big Poppa" (1994)
While Dom Pérignon was a notable champagne of choice in the early 90s, Moët was the champagne that fans of hip-hop would order at the club. With his hit song "Big Poppa," Biggie played no small part in putting this champagne on the map within the hip-hop community.
Moët was mentioned in three tracks on Biggie's 1994 debut album, Ready to Die. And when the music videos for "Juicy," and "Big Poppa," dropped, they solidified Moët as the champagne of choice. A bottle of Moët today at a club can range from $200-$350 depending on if it's vintage or non-vintage.
Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne
“Let’s take the dough and stay real jiggy, uh-huh / And sip the Cris and get pissy-pissy, uh huh” – Jay Z, “Hard Knock Life” (1999)
In 2013, Vanity Fair published a list of the most mentioned brands in JAY-Z's songs. From 1996-2000, Cristal is the most mentioned champagne in his body of work.
When the late 90s rolled around, so did the need to showcase an even more extravagant lifestyle in hip-hop. A new champagne had emerged in the community and it came in a gold bottle. Cristal, for a period of time, was a staple in hip-hop. The popular series MTV Cribs would often visit rapper's homes, and their refrigerators would be filled with gold bottles.
From ballers to actors, Cristal was the preferred champagne. It wasn't until 2006 when managing director of Louis Roederer, Frederic Rouzaud, made comments that hip-hop was bringing a "bling lifestyle" to the champagne and he didn't view it as a good thing that hip-hop chilled on the beverage.
After JAY-Z caught wind of Rouzaud's comments and deemed them racist, he vowed never to drink or promote the champagne again.
Fact: The gold wrapping paper on the Cristal bottle is anti-UV— it protects the clear-bottled wine from damaging sun rays that can quickly cook wine.
Armand de Brignac
“Gold bottles, scold models / Spill the Ace on my sick Js .”
–JAY-Z, “Ni**as in Paris (2011)
In one finger wave, JAY-Z said goodbye to Cristal in his 2006 video for "Show Me What You Got." But not without first introducing the community to a new champagne— Armand de Brignac a.k.a., “Ace of Spades.”
Armand de Brignac took on the popular nickname "Ace of Spades," because of its bold logo. This time around, JAY-Z wasn't singing praises of a champagne brand for free. In 2006, JAY-Z made the ultimate boss move and acquired the champagne brand for an undisclosed amount from Sovereign Brands.
You can now purchase a bottle of Armand de Brignac at most clubs, including JAY-Z's sports bar 40/40. for $600.
While we have seen many drinks come and go (Nuvo), expensive champagne will most likely always be a part of hip-hop. It not only adds to the decor of any space it takes up, it serves as a constant reminder of the finer things in life that have now been acquired by hip-hop artists.
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