Hip Hop Hooch: Musician Boozes, Rated

It’s a strange time to be a pop star. Technology has broken down many of the old barriers to entry and you can reach millions without a major label or even a contract. On the other hand, your fans are probably—er, definitely—all young enough to torrent your entire catalogue without paying a dime.

So what do you do with a million Twitter followers who love your album, but not the idea of paying for it? Channel this love into something they will pay for. Hip Hop—which became Pop Music a while ago—has discovered this is a particularly lucrative approach, because what is pop music without a party to play it at? And what’s a party without booze? If you create both song and drink, well, you’ve got the golden goose and it’s time to hit the shmoney dance.

But how do the brands actually match up? Read on to find out and vote in the comments.


Jay Z, D’USSÉ Cognac

What it is:

“D’USSÉ [dew-say] is a bold new expression of Cognac that dares the palate like never before”—at least that’s how the brand describes itself. D’USSÉ offers a VSOP ($50) and recently rolled out an XO ($230).

Presentation: 5/5

You really can’t do better than this. It’s a beautiful, elegant bottle with metallic, embossed logo: the Cross of Lorraine, which according to the brand’s site, is “France’s fabled emblem of courage, honor and perseverance.” It feels handcrafted to exist in an expensive, minimalist apartment overlooking the city through floor-to-ceiling windows, perhaps perched on a tasteful concrete slab shelf or mahogany end table. Oh, wait.

Taste: 4/5

It’s good. It’s really damn good.

Celebrity: 5/5

Despite appearing in that sexy teaser ad and drinking this cognac out of his Grammy, Jay Z is not actually affiliated with the brand but—according to D’USSÉ—he’s a big fan.

On the surface, it’s a strange use of celebrity by a public figure who declared “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” But I don’t think Mr. Carter—who dusted “Ether” off his shoulder, put out more platinum albums than he has fingers, and married Beyoncé—cares what anyone thinks. Fair enough.

Final Score: 5/5


Pitbull, Voli Vodka

What it is:

Voli’s website hits on two very important points: “Hand crafted by master blenders in Cognac, France…Voli may contain on average one-third fewer calories than leading vodka specialties.” The vodka comes in six flavors, including the calorie-counting original and raspberry cocoa, which includes notes of “cookie.”

Presentation: 4/5

Nothing really jumps out, but it’s a nice bottle. It’s an understated fogged glass embossed with the logo. The “original” flavor, which seems to have been rebranded as “light,” offers drinkers a QR code to get “cocktail recipes under 100 calories.” Is that a thing people want? Also, are QR codes still a thing?

Taste: 3/5

Solid, smooth taste for around $20. The original has an interesting, semi-floral undercurrent. I didn’t love it, but somehow the entire bottle disappeared in one night. I think that’s more the point, anyway.

Celebrity: 1/5

I kind of hate every song Pitbull—aka Mr. International—has ever done, but apparently a lot of people disagree. I don’t get it.

Update: As due diligence, I listened to a Pitbull mix for two hours and…I was completely wrong. I’m not sure if it’s Stockholm syndrome, but I want to take six shots of Voli and blow out the speakers listening to this on repeat. Also, Mr. International is a cool nickname. Updated to 3/5.

Final Score: 4/5

Hip Hop Hooch Musician Boozes

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