Regardless of how one feels about hip hop, it is a fact that rappers are very influential. Since the beginning of hip hop, rappers have always won over the hearts and minds of the youth against all odds. This can be attributed to the fact that rappers represent the struggle most young people go through in an effort to be heard and accepted by society. Even president Barack Obama himself can attest to the fact that rappers are very influential in society. This is considering the fact that he has sort the support of big rap acts like Jay Z numerous times in his presidential campaigns in an effort to win over the youth vote.
It is however important to note that politicians are not the only people who have noticed how influential rappers are especially to the youth. Even though this wasn’t the case in the beginning, most people who had a problem with hip hop and rappers have decided to stop fighting the culture heeding to this saying; if you can’t beat them join you. Anyone in the business of targeting the youth has over time realised the impact rappers have on the bottom-line.
In this article, our focus will be on hip hop and the alcohol industry. Because the hip hop culture has for a long time been associated with partying and alcohol, executives in the alcohol industry have seen numerous business opportunities in the hip hop industry. Although hip hop in the start was associated with vice in society, this notion has changed as business executives in related industries look for ways to exploit this obviously profitable business. This explains why most rappers today have endorsement deals with alcohol brands.
It is also worth noting that some of the richest rappers in the game today are those that have realized how profitable it is to go into business alone or partner with the business world as opposed to signing traditional endorsement deals. These are the rappers we are interested in this list. These rappers are currently the richest in the game today which is why we are calling them; hip hop cash kings.
Although most rappers in this list fully own the alcohol brands they represent, a few of them have partial ownership deals or superior endorsement deals i.e. they share a certain percentage of profits. They make it to this list because of the contribution they have made to make the alcohol brands they represent successful. Most of the alcohol brands in this list wouldn’t mean anything without the hip hop cash kings that popularised them. As a result most people think they own the brands they represent/popularize which isn’t always the case.
If you are interested in knowing which alcohol brands are owned or heavily backed by hip hop cash kings today, you are in the right place. Below is a list of top Hip hop cash kings and the alcohol brands they own or promote.
5 Ludacris (Conjure Cognac)
Ludacris is undoubtedly a hip hop cash king considering the fact that he has a net worth of $65 million according to the latest Forbes estimates. He makes it to this list because he has his own Cognac called Conjure Cognac. Unlike many other rappers Ludacris decided to venture into the alcohol making business as opposed to accepting endorsement deals with popular alcohol brands. He saw an opportunity and took it with the help of Kim Birkedal Hartmann (Birkedal Hartmann Cognac owner). Since deciding to make his own Cognac in 2009, Ludacris has enjoyed handsome returns in the tune of millions every year from his Cognac. His Cognac is made in a distillery in France by master blender Philippe B. Tiffon.
Conjure Cognac stands out because of many things one of the most important things being what it represents. The fact that Ludacris is a one of the most successful rappers of all times is one of the reasons many people consider buying the Conjure Cognac over many other Cognac brands in the market today. This is according to numerous customer reviews online. Many people also buy the Cognac because its ''reasonably'' priced. A 750 ml bottle of Conjure Cognac costs $61.45. A 375 ml bottle costs $20. This is a fair price according to most online reviews when you consider the price of other alcohol brands associated with celebrities. Nothing more needs to be said about Ludacris and his Cognac. He definitely deserves a spot in this list.
4 Pharrell Williams (Qream)
Pharrell Williams also deserves a spot in this list because of his current net worth ($77.5 Million) and his Qream alcohol brand. Pharrell launched Qream in 2011 with drink company Diageo. Although Pharell was initially reluctant to launch his own alcohol brand at first since he isn’t much of a drinker, he felt the need to make something that wasn’t out there in the market. Pharrell felt there was a gap in the cream liqueur market.
He immediately identified his niche and chose to focus on making a vodka-based cream liqueur that served figure conscious females. Qream has fewer calories than wine. The drink is also thinner in terms of consistency when you compare it with other cream liqueurs. This has numerous advantages i.e. you don’t have to feel chalky when you drink Qream. Also, you don’t feel as if you are drinking something fattening. Although the drink was made specifically for women, Qream is also suitable for men who don’t mind cream liqueur. Qream is available in two flavours namely strawberry and peach. A bottle costs $30.
Since Qream liqueur was launched in 2011, over 100,000 cases have been sold per year. The Liqueur is however facing challenges today because of poor marketing according to Pharell. This explains why the hip hop star recently filled a $5 million lawsuit against Diageo. Pharrell argues that Diageo’s has a bad marketing approach towards Qream i.e. (marketing Qream as a club drink as opposed to a high end drink). Pharrell claims this is the main reason why Qream liqueur sales are poor today.
3 Birdman (GT Vodka)
Bryan Williams popularly known as Birdman is another hip hop cash king who deserves to be in this list. Birdman who is currently worth $150 million made his money with his record label Cash Money Records popularly known as YMCMB today. Besides music, he fully owns the GT Vodka brand which is precisely why he makes it to this list.
According to the GT Vodka official site and numerous customer reviews online, GT Vodka is not your average vodka brand. The vodka has been expertly distilled a record 6 times resulting in one of the best Vodka brands in the American market today. This is in regards to smoothness, impeccable taste and the absence of impurities. According to Birdman, GT Vodka represents everything he stands for and likes in his vodka. When you consider the fact that a 750 ml bottle of GT Vodka costs $29.99, it is easy to see why the vodka is one of the most popular celebrity vodka brands in the U.S. today.
2 Jay Z
Number 2 on this list is Jay Z with a current net worth of $475 million according to the latest Forbes estimates. Although Jay Z doesn’t fully own any alcohol brand, he is associated with a number of top alcohol brands in the market i.e. Ace of spades and D’Ussé cognac which is why he makes it to this list. Jay Z is personally responsible for taking this alcohol brands to new heights (especially Ace of spades). When you consider his success and influence as a rapper, you understand why he is featured on this list.
Jay Z is definitely a force to reckon when it comes to promoting luxury brands. Back in 2003 when Reebok launched S. Carter sneakers, the shoes became an instant hit. Three years later, Jay Z changed the way Americans viewed HP notebooks. Shortly after Jay Z replicated his success in promoting luxury brands when he boycotted Cristal after a Cristal executive claimed Cristal was a luxury brand implying that rappers shouldn’t promote the drink.
Jay Z focused all his energy on promoting Ace of Spades instead in his music videos. Years later, the little known champagne brand in 2006 is currently hip hop’s most favourite champagnes. Jay Z is rumoured to pocket millions from his promotional deal with Ace of Spades. Sources close to him claim he splits revenues equally with Ace of Spades owners. Considering only 60,000 bottles of Ace of Spades are produced each year and each bottle costs $225, Jay z makes an estimated $4 million dollars per year (production and marketing costs are removed). This is however a conservative estimate.
It is important to note that Jay Z has also entered into the business of promoting Cognac recently. In 2012, Jay Z partnered with Bacardi to introduce their latest Cognac; D’ussé. Currently, the Cognac market is dominated by brand names like Courvoisier, Hennessy, Martell and Remy Martin which appeal more to the older generation. Through Jay Z, Bacardi intends to reach the young demographic. So far, Jay Z has done considerably well for the brand considering the Cognac is conspicuously present in events in his club (The 40/40 club). When you consider the $44.99 price tag per bottle and Jay Z’s prowess in marketing luxury brands, D’ussé Cognac is definitely headed for great heights.
1 P. Diddy
Like Jay Z, P. Diddy doesn’t fully own any alcohol brand. His association with Ciroc is however priceless i.e. it is what has made Ciroc Vodka what it is today. When you couple that with this hip hop cash king’s net worth of $580 million according to the latest Forbes estimate, it is easy to see why P. Diddy makes it to the top of this list. P. Diddy teamed up with Diageo’s Ciroc back in 2007. Six years later, he is raking in millions from this widely successful business venture.
In fact, majority of P. Diddy’s newly found wealth comes from his Ciroc vodka deal. His deal makes him entitled to 8 figure payouts annually and a 9 figure payday if Ciroc is ever sold. No wonder P. Diddy makes it to the top spot in this list. His deal with Ciroc is undoubtedly the best alcohol deal ever with a celebrity. It is undoubtedly better than owning an alcohol brand in most aspects.
P. Diddy has definitely done his job given the fact that Ciroc sales are up over 700% (from 100,000 cases in 2007 to over 700,000 cases in 2012). When you consider P. Diddy’s input and the cost of Ciroc Vodka i.e. $59.99 for a 1.75L bottle and $29.97 for a 750 ml, you can understand why the Ciroc is the top alcohol brand backed by a hip hop cash king.