Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Hip-Hop and Champagne

Champagne is flash, there's no doubt about that. When you want to show off, there is nothing more gut wrenchingly, sickeningly obvious than to pull out a Grande Marque Champagne, even people who know nothing about wine will recognise the label on a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, Moët & Chandon or Bollinger. So why waste anything special when you can get more of a reaction out of someone because they have seen Veuve's pretty label on TV, so it MUST be good (Veuve is actually perfectly good. Bad example).
A ghetto hoe

It is because Champagne is so much about luxury and image that rap music has provided it with so much endorsement. Many rappers like to flash their cash and there is no better way of doing that than popping a cork and spraying all over a group of the finest ghetto hoes. Fo sheezy. Whether it's mentioned in song lyrics or being passed around in a music video, nowadays Champagne, jewelry and casual sexism go hand in hand.

HOWEVER it is not all Champagnes that have been taken under the lyrical wing of rappers like Jay-Z, Biggie or Kanye West, rather just a select few. Names such as Dom Perignon and Cristal are recognised by people worldwide and there is no denying that this musical window into the public domain has a lot to do with it's fame.

So here are some of the Champagnes that you probably recognise and will have definitely seen or heard before, even if you don't realise it just yet.

Cristal is probably the most famous 'rapper's Champagne' due to it's success in the early nineties, when it was the firm favourite of Jay-Z, P Diddy and Biggie Smalls to name a few.

Cristal is produced by Louis Roederer, who are one of the major producers in Champagne, known not only for their extensive vineyard ownership but also for their links with the Russian Tsars.
Cristal was produced especially for Tsar Alexander II in 1877, he wanted a clear bottle made from crystal, to make it stand out from the rest. Because he was a massive show off.

Because they were made from crystal, the bottles were so strong that they didn't need a punt. Even though the bottles are now just made of clear glass, it is still the only champagne to have a flat base.
Although Cristal has been mentioned in a lot of rap songs, even featuring repeatedly in the video for Hypnotize by Biggie Smalls, it is seldom mentioned now.

This is because in 2006 Louis Roederer managing director Frédéric Rouzaud said that they did not want to be associated with hip hop, which after giving the company free endorsement for years and selling it at his high end bar The 40/40 club, Jay-Z took rather personally. He vowed to never endorse Cristal again and dropped it from his bar. Many other rappers followed in Jay-Z's footsteps and moved on to other labels.

Cristal 2006 is available for £135 a bottle from Champagne Direct.

Dom Perignon

Dom Perignon is the top wine from Moët et Chandon and has been mentioned in rap music for years, possibly least subtly by Little Shawn in his song 'Dom Perignon' in 1995. This song featured Notorious BIG who was also a big fan of the Champagne, even mentioning it in his debut single 'Party and Bullshit'.

Notorious BIG aka Biggie Smalls
The self-confessed most modest
man in rap. (probably)
Moët et Chandon is by far the largest champagne producer, who in 1971 merged with Hennessy (another drink favoured by rappers) and in 1987 merged with Louis Vuitton, creating the super mega huge company LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy). Dom Perignon is named after a benedictine monk, who lived from 1639 - 1715 and who has gone down in history as 'the man who invented champagne' - which is bollocks. He was a very skilled wine maker but at the time when he was making wine, bubbles were thought of as a fault. Dom Perignon concentrated on making top quality still wines and was the inventor of many wine-making techniques that are still used today.

Since boycotting Cristal, Dom Perignon is one of the wines to used as a replacement on the list at Jay-Z's 40/40 club.
Dom Perignon is widely available throughout the UK so you can pick up a bottle of the Dom Perignon 2003 from Tesco for £114.99

Armand De Brignac - Ace of Spades

This one sounds much less familiar but you will have seen this about all over the place. This is in a gold bottle and is the newest favourite of rappers and footballers alike.

This Champagne doesn't particularly have much of a history, instead it conveniently appeared not long after Jay-Z fell out with Louis Roederer and was featured in the video for his single 'Show me what you got' where he is seen turning down a bottle of Cristal presented by a waiter and is then instead presented with a bottle of Armand de Brignac, which the company insist was nothing to do with them but was a decision made by the big man himself. Wether that's true or not, the Ace of Spades Champagne has certainly become a firm favourite of Jay-Z and therefore is now the Champagne of choice in most rap videos.

Although I'm not quite convinced by the story of Armand de Brignac as there are a lot of missing pieces, they are clearly very good at their marketing. Since appearing out of nowhere and immediately receiving endorsement from the hip-hop community, Ace of Spades is definitely not easy to get your hands on.

You can pick up a bottle of Armand de Brignac from The Drink Shop for the handsome price of £205.19 - bargain...

I'll have a bottle of Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill please...

Images taken from and luxorium's photo streams under the creative commons license.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry I don't really understand your question...