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Repping luxury cars, sneaker labels and everything in between, it’s safe to say that our favorite hip-hop artists are now, more than ever, also some of our most influential tastemakers. Among the brands that receive airtime in rap lyrics, liquor labels are among the most prevalent, with Hennessy cognac and Cristal champagne leading the pack. Going back to the days of 2Pac and Biggie, hip-hop artists have long flaunted premium, sometimes overpriced, spirits and wines as status symbols on par with their Cadillacs and Rolexes. Raise a glass (or pop a bottle) to the 10 best booze name-drops in hip-hop history.
It’s hard to remember a time when Jay Z wasn’t arguably the world’s greatest hip-hop artist (and husband to Queen Bey) but just another up-and-comer hustling to make a name for himself. It seems Hova already knew he was destined for greatness or he was just faking until he made it: In this track from his Roc-a-Fella–produced 1996 debut album, Reasonable Doubt, Jay offsets Mary J. Blige’s soulful vocals with an almost arrogant lyrical finesse, daring anyone who’d challenge his pursuit of success. In one of his earliest verses about booze, Jay shouts out both Rémy Martin cognac and Cristal Champagne as signs of luxury.
Sipping Remy on the rocks, my crew something to watch / Nothing to stop, unstoppable / Scheme on the ice, I got to hot your crew / I gotta let you niggas know the time like Movado / My motto, stack rocks like Colorado / Waddle off the Champagne, Cristals by the bottle
Nearly two decades after his passing, Tupac Shakur’s larger-than-life legacy lives on. Hennessy is now the most name-dropped label in hip-hop, thanks in part to Pac’s well-known love for the brown bottle. This titular track, released in 2004 as part of the Eminem-produced posthumous album, Loyal to the Game, is an inner-city anthem that celebrates Hennessy as a defiant symbol of success—one that can’t be taken away by “cops” and “enemies.”
They wanna know who’s my role model, it's in a brown bottle / You know our motherfuckin’ motto—Hennessy
In this Grammy-nominated single from 1994’s Ready to Die, Biggie Smalls nods to legendary Champagne house Moët & Chandon, saying he can be found sipping on a glass in the back of the club while flirting with women and passing blunts. Classic.
The back of the club, sippin Moët, is where you'll find me / The back of the club, mackin’ hos, my crew's behind me
The Django Unchained actor may be most loved for his flicks, but he’s also a bona fide Grammy winner who, in 2008, gave us an entire song dedicated to the effects of a little too much alcohol. Grey Goose vodka and Patrón tequila get top billing in this catchy chorus that you couldn’t get out of your head no matter how much you drank.
Blame it on the Goose, got you feeling loose / Blame it on Patrón, got you in the zone / Blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol / Blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol
Brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi, the young-gun duo behind Rae Sremmurd, are only 21 and 22, respectively, but they’ve had no problem building their reputation on songs about drinking and partying ever since they took the scene by storm in 2014. Collaborating with Future on this newly minted 2016 release from DJ Esco, Slim nods to Jay Z’s cognac of choice, D’ussé, as liquid courage when he’s got “no chill.”
When I’m on that D’Ussé, I ain’t got no chill / Young nigga got them old hundred-dollar bills / Shawty want that white, oh, David Copperfield / Cross faded, I’m on the liquor and them pills
Remixing his 2001 original, Busta Rhymes enlisted the help of heavy hitters Diddy and Pharrell to bulk up this Courvoisier-fueled party jam. Ironically, Busta is a fan of Hennessy, but the rival cognac suited the song a little bit better. While the rapper wasn’t paid to mention the brand, the song helped Courvoisier’s sales so much that the company struck a promotional deal with him afterward.
We gon' tell that nigga (pass the Courvoisier) / We gon' tell that brotha (pass the Courvoisier) / Everybody sing it now (pass the Courvoisier)
Los Angeles rapper-producer-songwriter Ty Dolla $ign loves cars and booze, especially when they’re Mercedes-Benzes and Bombay Sapphire gin. Gin is an interesting choice in the cognac-heavy game—he also gives Hennessy an obligatory mention—but Ty stays true to the clear spirit, posing for Instagrams with the bottle and taking swigs from it at his concerts.
Blasé, blasé, blasé, all I drink is Bombay / When I'm with my niggas, I might drink that Henny
Bags, bottles and tropical vacations are some of the things T.I. offers his women in this poppy triple-platinum chart topper. Singing to a synth-driven sample of the Rocky II theme song, “Redemption,” the rapper name-checks Patrón tequila, which he prefers served as cold as his cash.
Stacks on deck (deck) / Patrón on ice (ice) / And we can pop bottles all night / And baby you could have whatever you like (if you like)
Taking a lighter tone, 2Pac raps about a (sort of) metaphorical drink called Thug Passion that will unlock doors to steamy sex, among other things. The very opening lines of the song provide the two-ingredient recipe, which call for an equal-parts cocktail of French Alizé liqueur, another hip-hop favorite, and one part Cristal champagne.
Aight, new drink / One part Alizé, one part Cristal / Thug Passion, baby / Y'all know what time it is
Drake and Future claim to have produced their 2015 album, What a Time to Be Alive, impromptu and in just six days. Whether that’s true or not, it’s certainly a great piece of music. The fourth track opens with Future’s shoutout to Dom Pérignon Champagne along with some requisite lines about “popping tags” and being part of the “upper echelon.” It’s not until later that the song turns into what many suspect is a diss track aimed at longtime cohort Nicki Minaj.
Sipping on Dom Pérignon for no reason / Popping tags, upper echelon for no reason / Seen this bad little jawn, she was perfect / I'll let her push the foreign right now if she worth it
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