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Name: Adam Bernard
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Jay-Z Shuns Cristal
Friday, June 16, 2006

Have you ever found a story where there were so many things wrong with it you just didn’t know where to start? That’s the way I feel with the news, if you can call it that, that Jay-Z is boycotting Cristal. At first it seems like something we should all just say “OK, fine, whatever” to, but when one takes a closer look at the Def Jam President’s comments they’ll quickly see how out of touch he is with both Hip-Hop and his audience.

The CEO of Cristal, Frédéric Rouzaud, was recently asked by The Economist if he felt the association of Cristal with Hip-Hop could hurt his brand. His replied "that's a good question, but what can we do? We can't forbid people from buying it. I'm sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business." In the article The Economist used the phrase "unwelcome attention" as a subhead, a phrase that Jay-Z apparently thought was a quote.

Hearing that the brand he had be advertising for free of charge for over half a decade wasn’t into Hip-Hop Jay pulled the race card. In a statement released by Jay he said, "It has come to my attention that the managing director of Cristal, Frédéric Rouzaud, views the Hip-Hop culture as 'unwelcome attention.' I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands including the 40/40 Club, nor in my personal life." Oh Jay, there are just so many problems with this statement.

First off, just because a company might not want to be associated with their product being poured onto barely clothed women in music videos and being mentioned along side rhymes involving misogyny and illegal drug use does not make them a racist. In fact, just because a company doesn’t want to be associated with Hip-Hop doesn’t make them a racist, and you of all people should know this since you’ve worked with Hip-Hop geniuses Eminem and Rick Rubin. If someone dislikes Hip-Hop they dislike them, along with the vast majority of your fans, who also happen to be white. Pulling the race card when it shouldn’t have been pulled is the least of Jay’s offenses, however.

With the statement he made Jay makes it apparent that he has lost all touch with reality. Jay, you may rhyme about the streets (occasionally) but clearly you haven’t been in them recently, or even in a middle class neighborhood, because nobody other than the top .05% drinks Cristal because nobody else can afford it! You’re boycotting a product that people aren’t buying and not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t. All this does is show us how separated you really are from your fan base. Courvoisier sales went up because of Busta's “Pass The Courvoisier” because people could afford it. No one is buying Cristal in the club other than other super rich celebrities like you.

I understand why Jay feels slighted in this situation, he’s essentially been an unpaid spokesperson for Cristal since the late 90’s. Unfortunately for Jay this is completely his own fault. Before he ever spit a lyric about the beverage he should have done some research, called the company, seen if they could create a partnership of some kind. Jay, you threw a line about Cristal in your song “I Just Wanna Love U” in 2000 where you claim to be a hustler in the hook, but how can you go that long doing product mentions without calling the company to see about working together? Is that really being a hustler, or were you just being hustled? To me it seems strange you wouldn’t speak with the company since in the very same song you were paid to mention Motorola pagers.

Of course there’s the much bigger underlying problem that we also have to deal with, the fact that Cristal, no matter how many rappers mention it, has nothing to do with Hip-Hop. Cristal is a high end product and Hip-Hop has NOTHING to do with high end products. If Hip-Hop were born of the rich I would say this Jay-Z beef is legitimate, but it wasn't. Watch Style Wars again, none of those graffers are popping a bottle of champagne after throwing a burner up. Remember, that's Hip-Hop. You do remember what Hip-Hop is right, Jay? A rapper getting into a beef with a champagne company that never asked him to advertise for them is just nonsense. Your impact has nothing to do with the products you have written yourself as an unpaid spokesman for.

Jay, you’re the President over at Def Jam, so why don’t you focus on doing something for Hip-Hop. Make sure another Red and Meth album comes out, make sure artists don't get short chagned by their contracts, but please don’t fight battles with companies that sell products none of your fan base can relate to and that have nothing to do with Hip-Hop, and please, don’t pull the race card when you know some of Hip-Hop biggest stars span the racial gamut. All you’re doing is looking foolish in the eyes of those of us who really love Hip-Hop. If you really feel your influence is big enough to make an impact take a stand against something that matters, like the problems with our school system, because THAT actually affects your fan base. Jay-Z boycotting a pricey champagne company is unimportant, but Jay-Z funding an after school program, now that would have an impact.

Labels: ,

posted by Adam Bernard @ 9:25 AM  
  • At 10:17 AM, Blogger Ketchums said…

    Good piece. Always good to see a fresh perspective on this, becuase I'm sure that other bloggers and journalists (myself included, lol) are writing about how dope it is that Jay is boycotting. You have some good points though fam, keep up the good work.

  • At 10:46 AM, Anonymous asus said…

    i bet they would have had no probelm if it was roctstars like U2 or Rolling Stone endorsing cristal, they don't want their drinks bought by black ppl only the high class rich white ppl.

  • At 11:47 AM, Anonymous k boog said…

    good read. i totally agree with many of your points. its funny becasue i belong to allhiphop.com's ill community and there is a thread there regarding this. check it out. most are disagreeing with you, but im not. check out the Big Pimpin video where Dame is pouing Cris all over some girls breasts and maybe these people will understand where Cristal is coming from.


  • At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hopefully you get punched in the face today.

  • At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You know Jay-Z has worked with more hip-hop legends than Eminem and Rick Ross, its funny how you only mentioned some of the white ones.

    This whole episode involving the Cristal is just another white businessman trying to cover up a subliminally racist statement.

  • At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I meant to say Rick Rubin

  • At 2:09 PM, Blogger Adam said…

    To those who gave props, and even contructive criticism, I say thank you for reading. And to the super tough internet thugs who post under "Anonymous" I just sit back and laugh.

  • At 2:52 PM, Blogger Conscious said…

    Sad folks don't see much and overstand the bigger picture. If Jay-Z is as smart as he claims to be, then he just managed to make another huge sum of money over this controversy. If Jay-Z understands that certain things are beyound race how come those following him don't. Perhaps it's the same reason that he is where he is and they aren't.

  • At 8:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hip-Hop today is more than just a music genre appreciated by white, black & asian people in America. It is it's own "entity" whose influence trancends into the movies, comedy,the NBA & also the NFL. Especially Jay has a lot of influence among actors, comedians, Basketball & Football players, who in fact can afford Cristal.

  • At 1:23 AM, Anonymous Jmmy G said…

    Great piece, because I felt the same way about the Cristal thing. Why would you promote anything in your songs that wouldn't come to you first and endorse you? This is the exact thing Luther "Luke" Campbell said a while back.

    People will say this is a race thing and it can be seen in that light, but I feel its more of an image thing. Cristal is seen as an upscale drink. Associating yourself with rap isn't good for everybody, ask the NBA.

    To be honest, all of it is crap to me.

  • At 7:11 PM, Anonymous ariel said…

    great post

  • At 12:43 AM, Anonymous taka said…

    I agreed w/ some of it, and shook my head at some of it. You're right Cristal has every right not to want to be associated to rap. It's not like mainstream hip hop puts forth a positive image. However, that line about how Jay should no it's not racist because he worked w/ Rubin and Eminem is stupid. So, because he worked w/ two white people he's not supposed to perceive that other white people may or may not be racist? How in the hell does that ish work? And, can I say I hate that term race card. Racism is not a fucking card game. That's why us White and Black are never ever going to see eye to eye. I'm sure Jay really needs some white boy telling him whether or not he's being discriminated against. WE all know how white males are just so heavily discrimianted against in this country. Fuck off Adam.

  • At 11:19 AM, Blogger Adam said…


    In regards to your question about the mentioning of Em and Rick Rubin, it was just to illustrate that Hip-Hop is not a black thing. I wanted to list Atmosphere and Hot Karl but since they have no relation to Jay I had to go with the big names everyone knows.

    I'm tired of people crying racism, especially when it's in regards to Hip-Hop. If someone hates Hip-Hop they're not being a racist they're being a bigot and there's a very big difference there. A bigot is "one who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ," while a racist is "the belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others."

    Clearly what Jay MEANT was bigotry, but racism is a stronger word so he pulled it out even though it was completely off base.

    PS - fuck off? where and with whom?

  • At 12:10 PM, Anonymous common sense said…

    Hiphop is a black thing, and you need to understand and never forget that. No matter how commercialized and inclusive hiphop has become over the last 10-15 years, the foundation is and always has been urban black youth. Maybe this is why you are having a problem understanding where Jay is coming from. You're the 1 who seems out of touch, you just don't get it. You can bet that the CEO of Cristal sees hiphop as a "black thing", and that is a big reason that he made those comments. How many white ppl associated with hiphop do you see endorsing Cristal? The rap stars who have endorsed Cristal and made it the "baller's beverage of choice", are all black. Jay underood that when he saw the CEO's comments, and read between the lines. Look man, we as black ppl don't need white ppl to tell us when it is and is not ok to feel like we are being disrespected because of our race. I've noticed that ever since the O.J. trial, anytime white ppl want to discrdit someone's claim of racism, the 1st thing they do is accuse the person or ppl of "using the race card". Racism is alive and well son. You may not agree with every claim of racism that is made, but you not agreeing does not automatically make the claim unjustified or invalid. you can take that "race card" saying and shove it up your ass.

  • At 8:49 PM, Blogger Adam said…

    Hey common sense, a few things for you to chew on.

    The original breakers were hispanic and the original graffers were white and hispanic, so your revisionist history that Hip-Hop started as a black thing is incorrect. Hip-Hop started as an URBAN thing but URBAN doesn't necesarily mean BLACK.

    Also, as per my last comment there's a big difference between RACISM and BIGOTRY and maybe if everyone took the time to learn a little more in life, and figure things like this out, people would choose their words better.

  • At 9:28 PM, Blogger AJ WOODSON said…

    Great piece Adam
    here is my reply to all who dis this writer for his comments or because he is white.
    Let me say this as journalist it is our job to present every prespective of a situation not just the most popular one or stay away from a topic or point of view because it is unpopular. For this I give you credit for stepping up. Also as I stated when we spoke I see a successful post or piece as one the evoke conversation and gets people talking. If something I on my blog or write in a magazine (print or online) gets the people discussing the issue I have been successful and I think you have done that here.

    I will also say this while one thing might not have to do with the other, the man calling for a boycott of a popular liquor is the owner of another, that's like burger king telling us to boycott mcdonalds, nike telling us to boycott reeboks or macys telling us to boycott jc pennys. Jay Z benifits from the boycott and its a good marketing ploy that I cant be mad with, but lets be clear that is what it is.

    Now with all that said before everyone reading this responds as a lifelong professional hip hop junkie, I do personally agree that if Cristal doesnt want our money, then hip hop as a whole should buy something else. My position is alot of these companies say they dont want our attention after they reaped the benefits of years of it. If this was that big of an issue or they were so turned off by it (which is their right) they should have spoken up earlier instead of riding the bandwagon all the way to the bank, and then saying he we dont want these guys to buy it after they have alredy cashed out. I'm not sure if Jay Z was the one to call for a boycott but I feel someone in hiphop should have spoken up and said you dont want our money we wont give it to you anymore. That is our right as hip hop heads.

    keep up the good work Adam
    and all those hating get a life, know your facts and dont just discredit this man cause of his skin color or because you dont agree. To quote Jay Z, it cost you nothing to pay him no mind

    - AJ Woodson
    Heavy Rotation Mag

  • At 12:23 AM, Anonymous taka said…

    Whatever Adam. Most people see hip hop as a black artform. You're average person isn't going to know shit about breakers or Atmosphere. Do you really think them fools at Cristal have that multicultural image of rap in their head. You need to be for real. For most people who don't know rap an image of a black man w/ gold teeth is what springs to mind.

    Who cares if you're tired of people claiming racism. Most of us are tired of experiencing racism. Once again another white person who has bobbed their head to a few Dre beats, and feels enlightened on how us black folk should feel. You can listen to all the hip hop you want. You can hang out w/ all the underground and mainstream hip hop cats you want. You will never even begin to understand what it's like to be a minority.
    Jay just got that rude awkening we all get. No matter how much you achieve you'll always be a nigger to some white people. I made the same mistake too. Got my college degree w/ a nice ass job. I pay my bills live in a nice neighborhood, and drive a nice car. That still doesn't stop a white cop from pulling up behind me in my driveway, and asking to see my license. Just wanting to make sure I live at the house I'm parked in front of. Let me know when some shit like that happens to you Adam. Shit, like that happens to tons of black people everyday. That's why we don't buy that we're all the same shit. Just when we start to believe it some crap like that happens. And, then some thoughtful white person such as yourself tells us don't overreact and call it racism. Like I said Fuck OFF ADAM

  • At 5:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You might have examined that story where there were so many wrongs a a bit too well. Because your blog contains some errors of its own.

    First off, by saying that the majority of his fanbase is white. Is incorrect. You could state that his white fans have more purchasing power as opposed to 'urban' fans who live this life we call Hip Hop n love the art. Purchasing power shouldn't qualify one as a fan. From my own experience I can tell you that as 80's baby bred on HipHop I must have's bought less than 5 HipHop albums in my life time. Does this make me less of a fan? I think not.

    Secondly, as white HipHop head u must realise that African Americans have have learned a painfull lesson with the white washing of previous art forms that they held precious e.g Blues, Jazz, Rock & Roll. So no matter how often you try to validate white peoples stake/position in HipHop by calling Slim shady or Rick Rubin or even the Beasty Boys geniuses and mention the fact that more that white fans buy the music, those arguements will fall on deaf ears in the black community n serve no purpose other than as an indication that the white washing of HipHop is at hand.

    Furtermore, how is Jigga seperated from his fanbase if he's been rappin about the luxurious life style from the jump? The man tells stories of his life as a 'husla'. The Cris, the cars, the models, the 'ju-els'. All things that the majority of his fanbase irrespective of race could hardly relate to. Jigga's been rappin about stuff ordinary folks can afford since the days he switched from gold chains 2 platinum chains.

    In conclusion, reading the article one gets the impression that all your really trying to tell Jigga is to play his position and don't overstep his boundaries.
    I believe a boycot by Jigga's is in place based on his principles n respect for HipHop. The company statement disrespected HipHop n HipHop culture which is Jiggaman n his fanbase. It's true that his fanbase can't afford the product but Jigga could not afford to stay silent when his culture n his fanbase got disrespected. U gotta love that!

  • At 8:43 AM, Blogger Adam said…


    Your latest comment proved me RIGHT. You said "You're average person isn't going to know shit about breakers or Atmosphere. Do you really think them fools at Cristal have that multicultural image of rap in their head. You need to be for real. For most people who don't know rap an image of a black man w/ gold teeth is what springs to mind." THIS IS EXACTLY WHY IT'S BIGOTRY AND NOT RACISM!!! If EVERY black man walked around with gold teeth then it would be racism, but Cristal KNOWS that isn't true, and as YOU OPENLY ADMIT Hip-Hop's mainstream image is TERRIBLE.

    Do terrible injustices happen in the world? Yes. Is Cristal saying they no longer want to be associated with Hip-Hop akin to you being asked if you live in your own house? HELL NO. And if people like Jay drop the R word for his own person fights with champagne companies REAL racism will continue to be ignored because the word will lose all meaning.

    And please, stop acting like the black struggle is the only struggle on earth. I'm half Jewish (Holocost, which was MORE RECENT than slavery) and 1/4 Irish (thrown off our own land and told to farm ROCKS. Was nearly exterminated by a potato famine). Every race and culture has had hardships, what we need to do is use them to RELATE rather than DISSIPATE. It seems like every time racism comes up we all revert to the story of the Tower Of Babel and we all know nothing can be accomplished then. We've ALL had problems due to race, background or religion. EVERYONE on earth has felt some form of persecution in their history. If we work from that common bond we can go far.

    And to Anonymous, Jay wasn't rapping about expensive items from jump. Check back to Reasonable Doubt and even his work before then (if you can find it). Yes the vast majority of his fan base is white, that's just a fact. You can say purchasing power doesn't make for an entire fan base, and you're right in that assertion, but the numbers don't like. 70% of the people who buy mainstream rap albums are white, and 70% of America is white, so while there may be a higher percentage of the black community that are fans of Hip-Hop, that number still won't add up to the number of white people in the Hip-Hop fan base.

    PS - I won't even dock you point for claming to be a fan yet spelling the Beastie Boys' name wrong.

  • At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    70% of America is white yes. 70% of the world isn't. HipHop is enjoyed through out the world. Jigga got fans all over the world. So me n u argueing your point that the majority of his fans are white holds no weight. Untill you decide to hold a worldwide census.

    So real racism will loose it's real meaning because Jigga isn't fighting the right battle? That's not on you to decide. What your saying is, is that he's playing the race card n you're of the opinion that he should not. You really should adress that comment some blogger posted on the race card en O.J.

    I apologise if I lead you to believe I was a fan of every group in HipHop. I don't like the beastie boys so you can dock points for gettin their name wrong.


  • At 5:42 PM, Blogger Conscious said…

    Dude... %70 of America is not white...

    And, why are you posting anonymously, come on already...

  • At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Conscious, I was goin on what Adam said. I don't live in the U.S. All I know is dat black people make up a bout 14% of the country n latino's are on a come up.

    N my dude I don't know you and you don't me so in actuality we're both posting anonymously. But if it pleases you, you could call me Malik.


  • At 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Adam is clearly out of touch
    with the streets the heart & home
    of Hip Hop that created the
    Rap Industry.
    Lower Middle-Class ppl are commonly known to spend there last $1 on "fly shit".(fly shit= designer clothes & shoes, cars, clubs & CHAMPAGNE
    Unfortunately we try to imitate
    "lifestyles of the rich & famous"
    Moet sold like crazy in the hood because Rakim mentioned it in a rhyme years ago. Sales of cristal
    will decline without the support of the hood. The Rap Industry sells product. Jay Z did the Right Thing :0)

  • At 8:30 AM, Blogger Adam said…

    Anonymous, had you read to the end of the article you would have seen my final point, which you almost agreed with. Jay is influential, hence he should be doing something for the good of the people. This boycott only helps HIM. Imagine if he were to simply talk about fiscal responsibility, or spending your last dime on your child. To me that would be far more impressive.

    Guys like Jay want people to back them and their causes but don't want anyone to be LIKE them. Honestly, has Jay taught anyone anything other than the spend all your money lifestyle you so readily admit is killing his fans financials?

  • At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You know nothing of Hip Hop either thats why you posted this nonsense. what a waste of words, Just like somebody to down somebody else for making a stand. Jay is from the streets, he made it to where he is now from hustlin not just illegal but legal as well. I applaud him for standing up against that racist company. I am sure rick rubin and eminem are still receiving there monthly shipments of cristal.

  • At 3:22 PM, Blogger Conscious said…

    Hey Anonymous, we're not both posting anonymously. I feel it funny you had to correct me. Anyway whatever. I'm totally accesible anyway. You may not know me, but you can because I'm all over the net.

    And I told Adam his stat was wrong as well just so you know. Don't take that census seriously. I think one of the ways they keep people controled is by keeping them on thsi 'minority' ish. Screwin with numbers and screwing with you mentality so you won't progress.

  • At 6:04 PM, Anonymous rhafootage said…

    Don't get it twisted if you know hip hop its is a black company in itself from the ghetto the comment made by crist was B.S.. The comment you made about Jay-z is B.S. He controls hip hop still and what he say will be repeated to say that Hip hop (black people) can't afford it ist dumb just dumb. You must be white and if not you sold your soul. Hip Hop community controls the economy in the world, so we have a right to speak our mind and banned racist like (Your friends) keep it real..

  • At 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Man the Hiphop nation doesn't even control how it's represented by media so what are you talking about ?
    Further more Jay Z doesn't control Hiphop. You're a crackpot if you even believe the nonsense you just typed.

    I think that ultimately folks arguing on a blog is ridiculous especially if those people aren't even civil enough to disagree with one another without being outright disrespectful.

  • At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey moron, where'd you come up with that one. Hiphop being a black company...? You feel out a tree and hit your head I bet.

  • At 8:35 PM, Blogger Adam said…

    Anonymous you just took the words right out of my mouth on not one but TWO subjects.

    First off the lack of civility that I've seen with some of the replies to this topic has been fairly unreal. It's like nobody is thinking before they type.

    Second, no way can anyone seriously say Jay-Z controls Hip-Hop. That's just, well, ludicrus. Ha ha ha!

  • At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well Jay's beef is legit, Jay is also owner of 40/40 clubs that purchase alcohol and alot of it. So as a business owner yes his reason is just. Jay's club is frequented by many celebs black and white, rich and middle class. Yes, jay knock their sales. From someone black the comment was not appropriate or just. Who are you to judge jay and that he is out of touch. Do your research, jay gives alot to his community. Don't hate because he is a young, black male who have come up out of his environment and wears many hat. Dude is not only a rapper but don't forget businessman with alot of presence. Props to jay if he can get his rich celeb friends- be it black, white, actors, ball players, rappers to hit Cristal in their pockets so be it. Hell it is what it is he is rich, can't hide that but his cause is just. Prejudice comments should not be made ( be it race wise, social economic or culture). Also, not just celebs can afford cristal, some middle class folks make a pretty penny and purchase cristal if they choose.

  • At 11:37 PM, Anonymous The Truth said…

    Adam, i can see you are still bitter about the O.J. trial and his tiumph over the criminal justice system. Well, I don't blame you, he was guilty and got off. Now back to reality. First of all, the majority of people get their information from the mainstream media so the cristal story was spun to create tension within the hip-hop community. Tension makes for good news and makes people uncomfortable. As a result, it fuels opinions and perspectives on subject matter one would ordinarily ignore. Jay-z' response is in context with how this message was spun. Jay-z may not control hip-hop, but he is one of its' embassadors. As a spokesperson. As a spokesperson he speaks in sound- bites so that the masses of people that receive this information are able to get the message with out spending too much time dwelling on what he means. Now, whether what he said was accurate in your viewpoint is irrelevant. What is relevant is that he made a statement in response to a statement that may have been construed as racist or devisive. What Jay's statement prompted was Cristal making a counter statement about their policies regarding all cultures or racist of people and how they are appreciative of the hip-hop communities support for their brand. So in actuality, Jay-z' statement has clarified where Cristal really stands. I am a black male and I grew up listening to hip-hop and being heavily influenced by its cultural lure. It gave black males inparticular a sense of cultural identity, that had been lost after the assasination of Dr. King and Malcolm X. I could go on further and counter the claims that you made about the other aspects/forms of hip-hop and their origin, but that would be uncivilized considering that urban culture is the black identity in America. What you fail to realize is that all races of the hip-hop community are mimicking ( respectfully in most cases) the Black Man's ways and methology ( his culture). Even Republican strategist recognize its lure among all races of young people. Hip-hop is the essence of rebellion, it is the spirit of youth and it just so happens that the climate in America has produced this juganaut that we call hip-hop. I applaud your logic, but your logic has no rhythm, no soul. Hip-hop is illogical and irrational, it makes sense out of nothing. WE as hip-hop artist a well aware of the medias impact on the culture and we appreciate where the media has placed us. One more thing before I get out of your way and I appreciate the respect you give me and what you have to say. But, Eminem is Black and so is Rick Rubin. Black is a color, but blackness is a state of a mind-state. Rest in Peace PXO

  • At 8:28 AM, Blogger Adam said…

    The Truth,

    That's a very interesting argument but a few lines really hurt your stance. For instance:

    "whether what he said was accurate in your viewpoint is irrelevant"

    Of course it's relevant, without that there's no point in writing anything. If you're more concrened with soul than accuracy that's fine, but the news isn't told with a Pete Rock beat in the background for a reason.

    Also, when making an argument, or countering an argument, saying something like:

    "Hip-hop is illogical and irrational"

    makes it impossible to say anything because you've just made it so your main reasoning is that of non-reason. You could say the sky is purple and defend it with that kind of logic.

    That being said I appreciate you sharing your views on the topic.

  • At 9:32 AM, Blogger thinker said…

    "that's a good question, but what can we do? We can't forbid people from buying it. I'm sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business." i don't know. to me this doesn't sound like a race issue. you have to be honest with yourself and take a look at the image of the state of hip hop(mainstream) now. i have to say that i can't blame anyone for not wanting to be associated with the foolishness. to take it a step further the only acts that talk about sipping cristal more than likely has pourd it over some video slut's head even if they at the moment hold an office at def jam or is a minority owner of a nba franchise. boycotting this product is doing exactly what for you and i? i've never tasted it and i don't think i ever will because i'm not stupid enough to want something just because some rapper says that he drinks it. j should be boycotting all the albums that he has put out endorsing cristal while they weren't endorsing him. he has been a tool all this time and now he wanna act like he's standing for something but he's only standing for his own cause. rappers like him helped push all kinds of products to the streets like over prised clothing, footwear, skytel pagers and the result is people doing what ever it takes to get the money to buy these things. for all of the young dudes on my block that think it's cool to sell crack i thank j for playing his part and letting the system use him to destroy his own people. go boycott u'rself

  • At 3:31 PM, Anonymous HG said…

    Just to clear some history up let mer start by saying...

    Originally Hip Hop was not Graff and Breaking and Rap. That idea of "hip hop" was a conception formed once individuals such as Lady Blue, Fab Five, Charlie Ahearn, etc. began to bring the music downtown in the early eighties. The truth is Graf was (and many true writers to this day consider it this...) something separate. As well as Breakers, who danced at parties but were even different from straight "dancers" that were a part of hip hop crews and rocked with them at parties. Things get confused there.

    Also the original breakers were not just hispanic and graffers just white. Breakdancing was something that actually started out with young black youth dating back to the mid/late sixties involving "war dances" of rival neighborhood gangs all over the Bronx and Brooklyn. As they shed "breaking" (cause it wasn't cool) hispanics en mass picked it up. As well, Graffers were both BLACK and WHITE in the beginning, but in truth Graffers who were white usually were working class and upper middle class white kids who happened upon those writings, largely done by poor black and latinos in the bronx.

    The reality is as common pointed out (though rather harshly) hip hop is black music/culture. It was originated in it, and its roots go all the way back to western african griot traditions, and passed down through negro spirituals, blues etc. I would say Adam check out a documentary by Edward O. Bland if you haven't already..."Cry of Jazz", it really breaks down how the Negro struggle in this country informed and was the breeding ground for the genre of Jazz, but within the understandings explained it shows you how and why all black originated artforms form.

    Having said that, no one owns "hip hop", its not an exclusive thing, but the attitude you convey Adam is one that invokes serious emotion because its the attitude that's been done to black people since they've landed here....pushed aside for their accomplishments, their creation and innovation.

  • At 5:11 PM, Blogger Adam said…


    With much respect, it sounds like you have a completely different definition of Hip-Hop from anyone else. I've spoken with over 500 artists, including you, and I've never heard anyone voice this opinion on the culture.

    Since we have completely different concepts it makes no sense to attack any stances we may have, they don't, and won't, match. I would like to point out, however, that you didn't take breaking back far enough. Breaking goes back further than the 60's, it goes all the way back to capoera.

    The fact of the matter is what makes Hip-Hop so great is that every race, creed and religion has been down from the start. Now no one can say they were at every party so they don't know who exactly was there, but I've spoken with cats who were at those block parties where Hip-Hop was born and the word is everyone was there and everyone was participating.

  • At 9:11 AM, Blogger MJ said…

    Very well said! I totally agree.

  • At 12:59 AM, Blogger the truth said…

    Adam, I think that you are assuming that we are a big melting pot and that somehow our cultural identity has been erased and replaced with some sort of universal culture where all are welcom. We all do things differently behind closed doors. that's when our true self is made evident. WE do not speak the same language. Not because I'm better, just different. Why can't we be different and still respect each other as intelligent people with the ability to reason. You are an intellectual masterbater, who delights in intellectual stimuli. I am not aroused

  • At 4:02 PM, Anonymous HG said…

    That's understandable, I'm only getting my information from Bam and Herc. Several books I've read (Yes Yes Y'all the Oral History of Hip Hop compiled by Charlie Ahearn, who speaks with something like over 200 of hip hop's originators, emcees, DJ's, flyer designers, promoters, label heads etc.)that directly quote these gentleman and many other legends support what I"m saying.As well as several talks I've attended with Bambaata himself asserting the same position (HIp hop's origins in the black diaspora, and its eventual amalgamation into the four elements) As with much of the African Diaspora in this country revisionists have looked to minimize the importance, impact, and even the very inventors of various art and music. Saying that hip hop is universal which it has become shouldn't minimize the truth of where the origins lie.

    Why can't the origins be African and still be considered "universal"? Having the origins of something is power. Being the culture-bearers and tastemakers afford you a level of scrutiny and criticism to direct the culture. IT doesn't mean that you can control or restrict it. Why is that when this is asserted by those of African origins, their is a call to not make it a "race" thing and have it be universal? Is universal only synonmous with european decent? This discussion has geared itself to marginalize a group of individuals under the guise of it being all inclusive, while making it the power source exclusive.

  • At 11:32 PM, Blogger the truth said…

    Exactly! Why are we always asked to "simmer down". Adam, you said that my comments about hip-hop being illogical was proving your point. Well, I see the same thing with your comments. The reason you can't understand Jay-z's comments, is because you cannot see the impact of his statement. Look how a few words have sparked a torrent of controversy aimed at creating a platform for your education on Hip-Hop's cultural origins and a reassertion on it's Ethnic Authenticity. You also mentioned in your comments your own history and how Black people should get over it because everyone has been treated unfairly. Do you take that same stance when you or your loved ones are treated unfairly? Why does my response have to be like yours? Am I not able to assess a situation and have a response that differs.
    If everyone is the eventer of Hip-Hop, then why is not accepted as such. Come now a Third Base, YBT, Vanilla ice, Bubba Sparks, House of Pain, Mark Mark, Beatie Boys, and a few Eminiems scattered here and there do not make for this melting pot. Ask them what people the artform derives from.

    Again I say, Jay-z can make that statement because it is consistent with tradition. WHen the black community feels slighted our spokespeople repspond. That's how deeep the culture is.

    As far as your opinions of where it is today, its the same, just different. If that causes a source of confusion for you, my point is made again. The images portrayed today in music is because hip-hop has grown a little so it's experiencing new things, just like you have ( I hope). It's not a kid anymore, it's an adult and soon will become an old man and die and then take it's permanent place in mainstream just like Jazz, Rock& Roll, Gospel and the like. Then we will see what platform we are able to stand on to coninue to influence the culture of the world.

  • At 8:26 AM, Blogger Adam said…

    Really, you think Jay's statement had a huge impact? How many bottles of Cris were you buying before this? Oh yeah, NONE. Cristal is a multi-million dollar business that could survive WITHOUT ANY AMERICAN DOLLARS. Remember, we're not the center of the universe, we only tell ourselves that.

    And comments like the following make me realize how little people actually know about Hip-Hop:

    "Come now a Third Base, YBT, Vanilla ice, Bubba Sparks, House of Pain, Mark Mark, Beatie (sic) Boys, and a few Eminiems scattered here and there do not make for this melting pot."

    That's only rap music, which is 1/4 of the elements and even less of the greater scope of Hip-Hop. Throughout Hip-Hop history all races, including whites, have had a huge impact. Yeah, they may not always be walking around with a mic in their hands, but dig deeper, look at the DJ's, graffers, breakers, Zulu kings, producers, label owners, PR people, A&R's, fashion designers. And don't give me that nonsense about how I'm mentioning business positions because of course I am. Were it not for the business of Hip-Hop the culture would have never become the worldwide thing it is today.

    The main thing all these comments have educated people about is the greediness of some people to want full credit for something even when they're already given the bulk of the credit.

  • At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Hired Gun said…


    I think you might be misconstruing things here. At least I haven't said, and I don't remember reading anywhere in these blogs someone else saying that only blacks had an impact on the culture. I don't think that was ever even implied.

    It did seem however from your comments, and the stance you take with even the business aspect here is really to minimize the involvement of non-whites.

    you say here:

    That's only rap music, which is 1/4 of the elements and even less of the greater scope of Hip-Hop. Throughout Hip-Hop history all races, including whites, have had a huge impact. Yeah, they may not always be walking around with a mic in their hands, but dig deeper, look at the DJ's, graffers, breakers, Zulu kings, producers, label owners, PR people, A&R's, fashion designers. And don't give me that nonsense about how I'm mentioning business positions because of course I am. Were it not for the business of Hip-Hop the culture would have never become the worldwide thing it is today.

    Now while in the beginning you say "all races" your end sentence doesn't imply the same diversity. I think you are much more idealistic in your assertion as well thinking that blacks and latinos get a bulk of the credit, your stance from the beginning of this blog has to been cut that very "credit". I've met emcees and artists from the midwest who talk about how legends such as EPMD and GURU pale in comparison to such individuals as Eminem and even SAGE FRancis because they've progressed the culture more? Really? Whose taking credit for what?

    I think that the culture of the music would have no choice but to spread, the business aspect of it of course made it grow and spread quickly. It also did much damage to change the face of it, to minimize its cultural benefits and impact to the community as well as (pop)ularize it in such a way as to almost breed out the spontaneity and creativity that it once had (something I believe you touch a little bit on in your hip hop doppelganger article)

    I'd say if anything at least here in the states whites get more credit then anyone for spreading the culture, its innovation and its success...just as with Rock and Jazz before it...and I don't believe that to be the truth in the slightest.

    I wouldn't discount people such as 3rd Bass as well, lol..Serch alone is responsible for us having Nas, Large Pro and I believe Special Ed. It wasn't just as an emcee, but a businessman too ;-).

    p.s.-->Good looks on Artist of the week =).

  • At 10:20 AM, Blogger Adam said…

    Perhaps I am idealistic in my idea that blacks, and to a lesser extent Latinos, get the bulk of the credit, but that's just how I was raised in Hip-Hop and it really bothers me when the contributions my own race has made from jump get minimilized, or even forgotten completely. And you know I'm not talking about Eminem, you know I'm talking about cats like Iz The Wiz and The Beasties, and Rick Rubin (who LL told me was the actual person that went after him to sign with Def Jam).

    I think for every 1,000 people who talk about Wu-Tang, one mentions Steve Rifkind.

  • At 11:23 AM, Anonymous HG said…

    Well firstly I would say, who ever from the background gets the credit that they should deserve, that's the nature of it being entertainment. Secondly, again you imply that all the business was handled by whites? Is that true? I don't think that ever was true.

    Its interesting you feel this way, because where I grew up in NJ, was the opposite of your experience. No, know one was shouting out Steve Rifkind but as far as looking at hip hop and its legacy as legitimate..that didn't happen until they saw white faces they could identify with. This is the double standard all people of color endure, and its one of things I find is the thing hardest for whites to understand. We live in a world were we are constantly told to identify with ideas, attitudes and rules that are not by us or made by us. Whenever we establish things in our own language, and ideology, we're told to share. That sharing hasn't happened in equality from the other end though. Rock and Jazz were staples of the black community and shared with everyone in this country well before it was established from a "business" perspective, but it was only when direct participation by whites occur was it seen as "legitimate" and at that point where it came from became moot. People don't think Chuck Berry, or Little Richard, or Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters were the pre-cursors to Rock n Roll. They think its Elvis. Berry Gordy is mentioned when you think Motown, and RnB but he as a businessman is not credited with his contributions to rock. Same with Volt-Stax another black business which pioneered those sounds along with funk, rnb. The average person doesn't give that credit.

    So while I can see your concern about apparently not getting respect due, in all honesty, its been whites running and controlling who actually does get the acclaim and respect, and its the average white who doesn't pay much credence to those who started it. That's all I'm saying. A specialized and small group of independent writers, artists, and supporters don't really reflect the true picture of how Hip Hop is viewed. And the truth is in this country, blacks get credit for the song and dance, the violence, and the bling..but none for the culture or even the efforts that were made to push the culture worldwide. Crazy Legs and Fab Freddy had as much to do with pushing the culture forward as Rick Rubin did into the consciousness of America and the world. But who is more known? And I don't mean among the most dedicated of fans, but the public conscious. You don't see Crazy Legs standing next to Jay-Z in 99 problems. Or Fab five Freddy for that matter.

    As much as you champion white people's role, you don't realize realistically things have been revised so that whites are seen as the culture/tastemakers.

  • At 1:57 PM, Blogger Adam said…

    Interesting convo as always. The only thing I want to mention is that rock was actually the first bi-racial creation, white lyrics over black rhythms. This is not personal opinion, this comes straight from "A Change Is Gonna Come," by Craig Werner, a brilliant history of black music starting with gospel and going through to rap.

  • At 2:17 PM, Anonymous HG said…

    indeed. I'll have to compare Mr. Werner's assertions to that of Dr. Mark Anthony Neal and his book "What the music said" which breaks down the African Diaspora and the formation of various black artistic culture including Jazz, Blues, RnB, Rock, Soul and Rap music. I wish someone could answer my questions on the double standard though... Its a reality that is only part of the "race" discussion in the United States that no one really wants to have.

  • At 12:46 AM, Blogger the truth said…

    Adam, we just see this differently. I remember as a child when i saw Elvis Presley say on national television that,"...the only thing a black person can do for him was shine his shoes...". As a child i didn't pay much attention to it because it didn't impact me at such a young age. It wasn't until I became older and educated did I come to understand how cowardly and disrespectful his comments were, considering where he adopted his music and style from. Since that then I have come across countless examples of what I call " Culture Bandit Behavior". It's almost like whenever another culture originates soemthing, whites want to claim and exploit it.
    I am not dicounting contributions made by whites to propel the artform, I'm just trying to keep things in historical perspective and protect it from revisionist. This is a right to legacy fight and the black community has to defend against distortions.
    You said Jay-z's statement doesn't make an impact, but his statement may effect potential buyers of the product. There is a huge difference between what he said and the spirit of what he said.

    What it did cause was a statement repudiating what was formely stated or implied. That is enough. It shows that his voice was heard and respected. I don't expect every Cristal drinker to stop drinking it. But if we are name- dropping your brand you will give us the respect of denouncing any disrespect on the culure.

    Every blackman is not waiting for reparations or some magic wand to be waived to cure all that sickens us. But we reserve the right as leaders in our community to speak out against what we deem are injustices. I understand you are bitter about how whites are portrayed in urban culture, and it may anger you that we appear to make a big deal out of things that appear insignificant to you, but that is a seed that is sown into the American fabris and probably will always be there. Or at least until the Mexicans (Indians) repopulate the continent that is rightfully theres and add some more color to the landscape. directionoriginates

  • At 8:17 AM, Blogger Adam said…

    We definitely see things differently but I will recommend to you the same book I recommended to HG, A Change Is Gonna Come, by Craig Werner. In it you will find Elvis not only was a friend to black people, but well respected, and loved, by black musicians.

  • At 10:10 AM, Anonymous HG said…


    As well I would recommend for a comprehensive breakdown and critique of Black music and culture that seems to run counter to what Craig Werner's book says, is "What the Music Said" by Dr. Mark Anthony Neal. I'm interested to read Dr. Werner's perspective on black culture in comparison to Dr. Neal's since they seem on complete opposites.

    I think rock being a "bi-racial" creation an assertion I've only heard here. I'm interested to see how Werner treats Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Muddy Waters, B.B. King as all these men were essentially doing "Rock" before and without "white lyrics".

    You know what they say..the winners write history.

  • At 2:12 PM, Blogger Adam said…

    And now, the verdict from AdAge:

    Rap Mogul's Boycott of Cristal Champagne Unlikely to Hurt Brand


  • At 3:39 PM, Anonymous HG said…


    Especially since I would love Adam for you to then explain the logic of Cristal's paranoid comments in the first place? If the leading unpaid promoter of the brand can't impact the brand with a boycott, and you yourself have already stated that Jay and his constituents are the only one's who actually buy the brand, that the average layperson (and you didn't say it..but I'll assume you meant of all RACES..not just young blacks...since according to you Jay has more white fans then black one's..a number no one can actually accurately quantify...) who is a "fan" can't buy it...

    How is his advocating it, or Hip Hop advocating it going to negatively impact Cristal?

    We've already agreed here that the demographics are different, the demographic that would most likely consume their liquor probably doesn't cross-over, at least not in huge numbers.(that being middle class and poor people for the most part). So how would they be logically harmed?

    Even if let's say their is a "rich" demographic of hip hop fans (I'm sure their are) take that percentage in relation to the overall percentage of actual rich people....do you think that number is sizable enough for Rizaud to be afraid of losing significant marketshare or control of his brand image? To make such inflammatory statements, Just for that? I think if that is the case, it would be safe to assume Rizaud expects for his demographic to be increased or plans to increase it, and wants to openly begin the purging of a negative connotation. Either way it is suspect, and its unfortunate that hasn't been pointed out by you here...

    This "association" with his "brand" he also has stated has been occuring for several years now. Why comment now? I'd love to see the sales numbers over the span of time apparently Cristal has been "branded" (which is still laughable) by Hip Hop to see if they've fallen after that brand, or how have they fared during. I doubt they've changed much, and are consistent with whatever that market's norms are (considering it would be hard to not consider other factors such as the overall economy, quality of the product in general during that time, etc.). Again where is the business, logic and sense? His is a niche market, already agreed upon here

    Let's say even though for a minute that it does...you don't think its pretty shortsighted and ignorant..and for those of us who have an understanding of and experience race politics in this country...racist, for them to think that promotion of the brand even in its most negative connotation would spur the rich and wealthy to shun the brand?

    The comments now more seem to smack of Cristal not liking that they have to at least superficially share that world with Hip Hop. At best the original statements sounds more like paranoia when you think soberly about what has been already proven in your article Adam A limited real market impact on his product.

    The funny thing is rather then at least Poo Poo Cristal for at best insensitive and ignorant remarks, you preferred to demonize Jay?

    Interesting as well, is that Rizaud last week backed off his initial statements somewhat. Now if their wasn't a fear of a backlash from somewhere, or the realization that the perception of his comments were socially unacceptable, how can it be said that Jay wouldn't have an impact? Major companies don't pay attention to superflous claims, or press and rhetoric they don't legimately feel will have a negative impact in the marketplace. They don't have the time. So 1. Hip Hop had to in some way be perceived as a threat, and by extension of what most people I would dare poll view as "black" in this country as well

    2. The rescinding of even part of the statement, or the clean up (corporate speak: clarification) is an admission that in fact the statement at the very least was ignorant and wrong. They obviously believe that Jay had an impact, and more importantly that their demographic and brand would be affected by not standing by the original statements. OR else...they just let it die.

    Maybe Jay did see a "marketing" opportunity. Boo Jay..but he wouldn't of had one, if Richaud didn't make a stupid comment, and exposed his attitude and ideology to the masses. I know that when you think hip hop you see "Beastie Boys", "Eminem", "Steve Rifkind" and "Rick Rubin", but as someone pointed out, I don't think that's the case for most people. I'm sorry you feel its wrong for Hip Hop to have a face of color on the front of it, especially since so little else in reality in this country does...at least anything positive.

    Its also telling how you put Richaud's perception in his mouth...you've actually proven what many here have already said. Richaud said "hip hop". He didn't reference the drink being poured over scantily clad women. I would challenge anyone to show that the only time Cristal is in a hip hop video is when its deragatory. many "club" shots are no different or worse then rock video shots.

    To take it further, you yourself point out that hip hop has nothing to do with high end products or people that could afford it. So again..work that in the reverse...if Richaud knows this..what is he afraid of? Why the stance in the first place? So we demonize hip hop and his perception of it? But not his statements?

    I would think if anything someone who loved hip hop would think "Wow, Cristal you got it wrong on this one...hip hop isn't all negative and you focusing on a stereotype of it, just makes you look stupid"..cause the stereotype is only implied.

    another fact clear up: Eminem got banned from the grammies for homobphobic lyrics and comments, not for violence. And we're defining violence here as the gun/gang variety. Em has never put off the posture in any real way and his albums don't put him as a 'street' hustler type at all. I find it hard to believe that Rousad was lumping a rapper like that into it.

  • At 3:46 PM, Blogger Adam said…

    Don't put words in my mouth HG.

    "I know that when you think hip hop you see "Beastie Boys", "Eminem", "Steve Rifkind" and "Rick Rubin""

    That's straight up wrong. I was just pointing out the white impact in Hip-Hop. I see ALL races when I think of Hip-Hop. I see Pac, Slug, Pun, Jin, everyone who has made a contribution.

    You're in a multi-racial group yourself, with a Mexican and a Jewish man, so I should hope you see the logic in this.

  • At 4:01 PM, Anonymous HG said…


    Im going on your implication

    But I really don't wish to focus on that, as that is really a minor issue in comparsion to what I presented. I'd like you to comment on the post as a whole. I don't want the actual debate to be lost because of superflous side commentary.

  • At 10:51 PM, Anonymous boogie loc said…

    i DON'T AGREE WITH YOUR ARTICLE FOR ONE EVERYONE TALKS about "keep it real" and once your rich and famouse you can't talk about certain thing, But in this case jay-z (THE GREATEST MC) IS SPEAKIN ON AN ISSUE THAT HE CAN RELATE 2 AND DOESN'T AGREE WITH. iT DON'T MATTER IF MOST OF CAN'T BUT CRISTAL BECAUSE RACISM IS RACISM NO MATTER THE PRODUCT is or HOW MUCH IT COST. JAY-Z has alot of organizations and programs benifitting hip-hop and the community alike (s.carter academy ex.)but you only try to slander his name when u mad yourself look and sound like a fool. brooklyn stand up!

  • At 9:48 PM, Blogger the truth said…

    Of course Elvis loved black people. He certainly should. But love has nothing to do with the machine called racism. I don't have anything against Elvis or the beatie boys, or 3rd. bass or whoever. My beef is with the machine called whitesupremacy, which effects everyone on a far more subtle level. Racism is like a snake that slides quietly on the surface of the earth, undetected by the eye of normal state of conscience. However the eye of the person who is awakened, is ever cautious and always on the look out for that serpent of old, to show his ugly head.
    Since we are speaking constantly about what races of people contributed to hip-hop, the issue of race should strike you as no suprise.
    But I feel like you are not saying what you really want to say about the matter. I think your holding back. As long as you are holding back, we will never get to the truth. I don't need to read a book to what's really being said or done. I'm living in what they right the books about. I am the truth.

  • At 3:21 AM, Anonymous AJ Woodson said…

    Damn Adam
    u struck a few nerves with this one

    as I posted earlier
    when I write an entry on my blog and it invokes alot of conversation and expressing of various views I know I have done my job

    you sir have done your job
    you heard
    keep up the good work

    AJ Woodson
    Heavy Rotation Mag
    The Total Urban Experience


    IT'S ABOUT TO GO DOWN!!!!!!!
    tell a friend to tell a friend

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