Hip-Hop is a golden genre used by major corporations to sell everything from cars, clothes, Happy Meals, flavored liquors and surfboard-sized cellphones. Without it, most companies wouldn’t reach the “urban” consumers with massive spending power they covet. Mostly from wastelands of broken dreams, rappers often capitalize off corporate greed and live the American dream. Here are the eight biggest power moves by rappers. Take a look.
Jay-Z x Samsung First, Hovvie Hov inked a $20 million deal with Samsung to collaborate on multiple projects then dropped an epic mini-movie during the NBA Finals that: A) Promoted his new album “Magna Carta Holy Grail” out July 4th. B) Revealed a brilliant marketing strategy where the first million Samsung Galaxy users who download a special app would get the album free. C) Made everyone stop talking about Kanye’s highly-anticipated new album “Yeezus” which seemed impossible. Think about this: Samsung has already purchased one million Jay-Z albums before the official release (which is unprecedented) just to attract iPhone and Android users to the Samsung Galaxy. Power move.
Diddy x Ciroc vodka The filthy rich mogul entered into a joint-venture with struggling booze conglomerate Diageo that offered him a 49% share of the company in exchange for his undeniable influence. Diddy’s Ciroc deal: Eight-figure annual payouts and a nine-figure payout if Ciroc is ever sold. So yes, every time you buy Ciroc you’re basically paying for Diddy’s private jet gas.
Dr. Dre x Beats By Dr. Dre You would think Dr. Dre developed his own line of high-end headphones (that he and a group of partners launched), but he didn't, and A) strong-armed the brand from Monster B) sold a 51% stake in the company to THC for $300 million. Sooooo Dr. Dre made $100 million off premium headphones that he didn’t develop or design? Yes. Then bought back half of the 51% he sold to THC and made even more money? Yes. And probably has no intentions of ever releasing “Detox” because he makes millions off headphones without any hands-on involvement? Correct.
50 Cent x Glaceau Vitamin Water Rap’s most infamous instigator owned a 10% stake in Glaceau that was later sold to Coca-Cola in 2007 for $4.1 billion. While early reports estimated his take at $400 million, $60 to $100 million is more realistic.
Jay-Z x Live Nation Once the famously-camelly face of Def Jam records, Hov left the iconic label and signed with concert-promotions giant Live Nation for $150 million—one of the biggest music contracts ever. Live Nation deal: Financing for his own entertainment venture and the rights to his recordings/tours for the next decade. Deal also finances several business ventures including Roc Nation, music publishing, talent consulting and management services (Roc Nation sports).
Kanye x Nike Yeezy’s enviable sneaker deal allows the Hip-Hop fashionisto to create one new shoe every two years. Whether you love/hate the Air Yeezys, ask yourself this: How many RAPPERS have their own exclusive Nike shoe? Photo credit: Instagram
Drake x Warner Bros. The oatmeal-colored Rap wonder signed a historic deal with Young Money then inked a partnership deal with Warner Bros. for his October's Very Own (OVO) label/merch/festival imprint allowing him to sign artists and distribute their projects.
Andre 3000 x Gillette 3 Stacks ran from fame (in polka dot capris), ignored his fans and fronted on Big Boi then signed a lucrative deal to be the fresh new face of Gillette's global "Masters of Style" campaign. Solo album coming soon? Nah. New Outkast album? Nope. New Gillette commericals and movies on the way? YEP. Smh.