Jay-Z is maxing out my hustle tolerance | Bleader

Friday, October 20, 2006

Jay-Z is maxing out my hustle tolerance

Posted By on 10.20.06 at 07:07 PM

Nah Right points today to a story on hiphopgame.com about the probably-not-so-accidental inclusion of Armand de Brignac champagne in the video for Jay-Z's new single, "Show Me What You Got." It seems that Mr. Carter may have a financial stake in the champagne he refuses Cristal for. (It also may explain why the champagne's name is so eerily similar to the vodka Jay also reps/makes money from -- unless both reflect some sort of Proustish obsession with the name of a childhood love or something. But I couldn't find any proof on the Internet for that.)

Anyhow, Jay repping a product that earns him money is no big thing. Ever since the Wu-Tang Clan essentially got paid to contribute a commercial for their Wu Wear clothing line to the High School High sound track, entrepreneurial commercialism has been an integral part of hip-hop. All we demand as listeners is that the rapper/shill's flow is good enough otherwise -- we'll tolerate a couple of plugs here and there. But "Show Me What You Got" doesn't include the kind of implicit full disclosure that Jay's Rocawear and Armadale shout-outs have, since his stake is shrouded in some sort of media gray-out. Worse, the video -- and the whole champagne-company-buying enterprise -- takes Jay's honestly great move earlier this year of calling for a boycott of Cristal after the company head said some semi-racist shit about rappers drinking his product, and cheapened it by flipping it into a business opportunity. In retrospect it just looks like he created a hole in the market so he could fill it with his own product. The video's like astroturfing, but somehow even scummier-seeming.

Plus, the video costars Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who also appear in version of the video that was edited into a commercial for Budweiser Select. Is there any part of the song/video that's not an ad for something? Is it a commercial for boats too? Am I supposed to buy those boats?

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