Jay-Z vs. apartheid champagne

In case you haven’t heard, Jay-Z is pissed at comments made by the managing director of Louis Roederer Cristal, makers of the ur-swanky Cristal champagne, in the world’s best English-language newsweekly, The Economist.

On you jigs drinking his champagne:

“What can we do?” Rouzaud told The Economist. “We can’t forbid people from buying it. I’m sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.”

To which Jay-Z responded:

“It has come to my attention that the managing director of Cristal, Frederic 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.”

Boycotts? Racist? The jig doth protest too much, methinks.

On the one hand, I’m sure he feels like a silly bitch having spent his entire career (even back in his weed carrier days) shouting it out on records and spending god knows how much of his own money on the shit. Indeed Cristal is primarily known as the Champagne drunk by rappers.

From the Wikipedia entry on Cristal:

It is prominently known for being used as a status symbol by rappers, who make frequent reference to it in their music, also calling it “cris” or “crissy”.

Who knows how many of the 50,000 cases imported each year are actually bought by “rappers,” but I doubt Frederic Rouzaud would’ve said that shit if he knew it would cause mofos to switch back to Moet[1]. This was, after all, an interview in The Economist.

I think the Busta Rhymes “Pass the Courvoisier” incident already proved what kind of impact hip-hop can have on alcohol sales. A jig may not be willing to spend $15 on a steak, but he’ll damn sure drop $200 to get “ethered” in a club.

It’ll be interesting to see what Cristal’s response will be, if any, to this boycott and how much of an actual effect this will have on Cristal’s bottom line. The former could end up being contingent on the latter.

Still, it does seem rather naive of Jay-Z to think that Louis Roederer Cristal would give a rat’s ass about the hip-hop community. Damn near any company trying to market a product here in the US is going to take race into account. Quiet as it’s kept, it’s the main reason why radio and TV stations are still split along color lines.

I’m not sure how Cristal’s apartheid champagne policy is any different from McDonalds purposely targeting black communities with its dollar menu, except that McDonalds’ dollar menu actually has a measurable detrimental effect on the black community. You don’t see very many rappers attacking them though, now do you[2]?

The truth of the matter is that if Cristal wasn’t made by and for rich white people, it wouldn’t have held any kind of special cachet for these rappers to begin with. The idea of Jay-Z boycotting Cristal seems about as silly to me as the idea of him championing the shit in the first place.

If he wants to use his fame to make a difference, he should find a better cause.

[1] A lot of times when you see a jig drinking a bottle of Moet, it’s actually Moet White Star, which only costs like $30 a bottle. I bet that’s what Rakim used to drink.

[2] For the record, I love McDonalds. Shit, I just dropped like $6 in that bitch the other day.

***

Amusingly enough, Cristal was also in the news recently because some thieving bastard used one of those FEMA debit cards to cop a $200 bottle of champagne at a Hooters in Texas somewhere. I’ve heard a few black chicks claim that this is proof that these weren’t black people running these scams because a black dude wouldn’t be attracted to the kind of skanks that work at Hooters.

Um, yeah. Keep telling yourselves that.

  • http://www.thursdayplantation.blogspot.com lar

    9th
    this is pretty insightful.

  • http://thewaltreport.blogspot.com Big Walt

    Yes.

    The whole point of drinking Cristal in the first place is that it’s not “meant” to be drank by rappers, ie poor people.

    Drinking Cristal is then, symbolic of rising up from poverty so you can drink the same shit as rich crackalacks and piss them off.

  • Andrew

    This shit is fucking retarded. Dude wants to boycott a company that doesn’t want him buying their shit in the first place.

  • Young

    Well Bol I think your article is somewhat naive; if you knew anything about champagne you would know that Cristal is currently so expensive because it is the champagne championed by Jay-Z -he madeit so popular in the first place/which jacked up the price of a bottle…it really is no better than Krug or Dom Perignon.

    Rouzaud himself is naive for not realising this, and Cristal no doubt will suffer accordingly.

    PS: A plea to Elliot Wilson – get this fake cracka off your site…we know Bol aint black…he’s had his fun…he’s made his little controversial statements…but stop paying this closet homo!

  • missssssy

    i love ur blog Bol! its so funny and infomation/hate-filled – why cant u give us another foto of urself other than that crusty old one which is on byroncrawford.com and this site too?

    if u were really real u would!

  • http://nahright.com eskay

    Wait, Hooters servers Cristal?

  • Combat Jack

    Funny that dude would boycott Cris after bigging them up for ten (10) consecutive years and AFTER retiring. Kind of like a lost cause from the jump, no? Something like Jordan boycotting Nike’s tomorrow, or better yet Run & DMC boycotting Addidas like, last year.

  • http://www.myspace.com/idubya11 iw11

    THAT’S Y I ONLY DRINK WATER AND GHETTOAID. LOL

  • lee

    Yo BOL strikes again truth hurts some times then again who realy cares im sure as much as i will not drink cristal again it’s not gonna make them lose sleep over the hip hop community not drinking their shit. Oh well……

  • http://www.myspace.com/theanticorp RoxStar

    FUCK YO COUCH NIGGA!

  • http://xxlmag.com exo

    Them Ritz crackers ain’t stupid. If Cristal comes to be known primarily as a negro champagne in certain circles, then the snooty cuvee aficianados who’ve kept the Roederer family afloat since the 1800′s will never have another sip and the company’s cachet and prestige would evaporate overnight. On the other hand, hip-hop’s love affair with Cris will eventually end (as does all trends). The company’s just trying to make sure their brand stays in the game for the long haul. Hate it or love it, it is what it is.

    But, still. In the scope of things, this is a pretty petty and vain boycott.

    P.S. – Only the types of heathens who buy the cheapest steaks allowable would drink White Star. Savages.

    PS2 – The Week > The Economist.

  • http://www.myspace.com/xadam22 Adam22

    bol homo.

  • Katari

    Considering rappers (the only black folk who drink Cristal) make of .000000000002% of the worlds population, i doubt it would hurt Cristal’s sell. Then again im sure all those suburban white kids who actually care what Jay-Z says will tell their parents to boycott the shit.

  • d rock

    BOL, are you a crack baby? Dam can a nigga take a stand on something. Now if jay didnt say shit and kept on biggin up cris youd would say he was a dumb ass.

  • psycho babble baby

    D Rock, I think you are missing the point. It is not a matter of whether Jay Z should endorse or boycott Cristal. I think the point is that taking on some stupid shit like this is hardly activism. He is still drawing attention to the brand and his response is exactly what the company needs. I agree with EXO on this point. Good point Katari, but you might be assuming that most white kids who listen to hip-hop actually give a damn and are not voyeuristic about their shit. Not all, of course. Good point Big Walt, but just because rappers make companies to piss the rich off who owns the companies doesnt mean that they are doing anything productive. I think it comes down to whether we are prepared to fight battles that are not sexy and safe. Whether headz who give a damn can say and act out a ‘fuck you’ to those who exploit communities.

  • abvdlaw

    All ya’ll jocking jigga for taking a stand are even dumber than he was for sucking the cristal cork in the first place. the crap is garbage. i can get 5 cases of green beers and 4 fifths of hen for the price of one bottle of pisstal and have the whole joint lit. Cristal is some east coast busterblueballers mark ass drank. out here we sips henny, baby. all the way live.
    ps. Cristal is mad with water from the Hudson river…………

    ha, ha, ha.
    ya’ll got no grapes.

  • http://ooopscorrection psycho babble baby

    D Rock, I think you are missing the point. It is not a matter of whether Jay Z should endorse or boycott Cristal. I think the point is that taking on some stupid shit like this is hardly TAKING A STAND. He is still drawing attention to the brand and his response is exactly what the company needs. I agree with EXO on this point. Good point Katari, but you might be assuming that most white kids who listen to hip-hop actually give a damn and are not voyeuristic about their shit. Not all, of course. Good point Big Walt, but just because rappers make companies rich to piss the rich off who owns the companies doesnt mean that they are doing anything productive. I think it comes down to whether we are prepared to fight battles that are not sexy and safe. Whether headz who give a damn can say and act out a ‘fuck you’ to those who exploit communities.

  • Black London………..

    Bol, pat yourself on the back…..

    You are 100% on POINT with this one.

  • The Critic

    Wow an intelligent well thought out diatribe. I am very impressed. I think you should stick to writing columns like this instead of giving us your BS Hip-Hop music opinon’s.

  • UnFaded Disciple

    # d rock Says:
    June 15th, 2006 at 6:09 pm

    BOL, are you a crack baby? Dam can a nigga take a stand on something. Now if jay didnt say shit and kept on biggin up cris youd would say he was a dumb ass.

    ^^^^

    D Rock stfu…who in the hell would really considered that a REAL boycott?? After he big up that cristal shit…mayne wtf nigga is stupid…come on Jay…

  • King

    im feeling jiggaman

  • http://www.myspace.com/geoffdilkes G Off

    ^^^???

  • JML5150

    Maybe this is a wake up to all these brand whores to stop giving out free advertising to companies that really won’t advertise to us or use our entertainers and celebrities as spokespersons. Some is real subliminal, like EM, he wears mostly Jordan Brand clothing onstage but no print ads or commercials, he probably got a check on the low. Nike never officially acknowledged Nelly for AF1′s, how many rappers are allowed to endorse a luxury car. Hell even Cadillac won’t use rappers and that is a tied to us like fried chicken and watermelon stereotypes. I’ve never had a drop of cris and I won’t miss what I never had. What will all these fools do that bought that shit by the boatload for their fake floss Cribs specials.

  • linka

    Jayz is right if you dont stand up for something you will fall for anything

  • prodigynius

    first off, tupac was the first rapper to really promote cristal. ever heard of a song called thug passion? next, jay isn’t psychic so you can’t talk about him because he didn’t know that ten years after first mentioning cris they shit on him. I’m glad he took a stand. rappers boycotting cris will dent there quarterly profits because if rappers who drink the shit like water stop, that is a lot of money lost. let mcdonald’s say they don’t like black people’s business. niggas will be heated but like dumbasses they will still eat the shit. bol, listen to this, it is a blog i wrote on myspace months ago…….Aight niggas, I’ve officially decided that the McDonald’s dollar menu is the government’s final solution. (that was an allusion to Hitler’s Final Solution) Back in the 1980′s J. Edgar Hoover and the F.B.I. purchased a large quantity of a then new narcotic substance known as freebase, which is now known as crack. This was purchased with the intent of destroying the black communities across America. The F.B.I. allowed cartel to push as much of the stuff into the ghettos as they wanted with no repercussions. The F.B.I. believed that if they could get all of America’s ghettos on crack, then we would go insane and commit genocide on ourselves and thus keeping the government from actually offing all minorities themselves. Unfortunately for the government, crack wasn’t just used by people in the ghetto and soon their plan backfired when people of all demographics got hooked on the shit. Hence, the horrible state of our society now a days. Now I am sure that this is what McDonald’s is doing now, but instead of crack, they are using processed foods pumped full of trans fats, starches, and processed materials that when added to black people’s most common ailments (high blood sugar and diabetes) makes for a death cocktail. Did you know that McDonalds is now making more profits off of their dollar menu than the rest of the menu combined! Also, have you noticed the number of McDonald’s commercial on BET and TV One? This isn’t a coincidence, trust me. Their is a MCDonalds on every corner in the hood and that is why black people are getting cancers and disorders at an alarming rate currently. Now they have a breakfast dollar menu which will set in stone the fate of our people. We need to ban this damn menu, no matter how tasty or cheap the damn food is because it is killing our damn people. You saw Soul Food, look at big momma! That is what happens when you eat food that is bad for you damnit. quit eating that shit cuz it’s makin us fatter and broker than we have ever been before.

  • the sun

    Rakim was actually the first to mention Cristal(Know the Ledge-Juice soundtrack) but in any case I dont see a problem with Jay boycotting them.We as a hip-hop community should stand behind him on this one.Love Hov or Hate him but its absolutely clear in the comments made by the managing director that he doesnt want Colored folks(Black,Latin,Asian or whatever)to buy his stuff. We are all part of this culture that we call hip-hip.Let’s show him the power of our culture so that him and all of these big wigs beg for our support!If its one thing Hip hop has taught us over the years its capitolism…Hit em where it hurts-the pockets!

    Real Love.

  • Jerz!

    Ugh,

    If he wants to use his fame to make a difference, he should find a better cause.

    Brother, are you serious?

    To limit a man to one cause is ridiculous. And this isn’t really an actual ’cause’; Jay Z learned of these comments, and banned the drink… end of story. Something came up and he took action, let him live. Leave it up to one of these bloggers to take a positive action from a man that makes his career possible, and try to knock it down.

  • CAMRUNFRMRUCKER

    OK XXL….ENUFF WITH JIGGAMAN ALREADY!!!!!! ALMOST EVRY BLOG HERE IS ABOUT JAY. CMON NOW, I RESPEC DUDE BUT THIS IS STARTIN TO LOOK GAY….THERE ARE OTER ARTISTS OUT THERE WHO NEED SHINE TOO. JAY IS RETIRED FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD!!!!!

  • Dr. Colossus

    Looks like it’s back to Cool Aid!

  • Crack A

    The beginning of rappers infatuation with Cris:

    Cristal got popular because of Ghost and Rae on OB4CL. They were doing an interview in a restaurant and was about to order the most expensive champagne, but it was sold out. They took the second highest priced in stead, Cristal. They liked the name, so they started putting it in their rhymes together with other brand names such as Hilfiger and Wallabees.

  • D Money

    When all is said and done,brethren,Jay made a wise move on behalf of the hip hop community.It was his wake up call for all the free marketing he gave these European brands and designer labels.He now decides to take a stand and says,”OK,I will disown Cristal,and sales will flop,and most of the hiphoppers,in true trend-following fashion,will follow the suit.That statement by Jay will have a more profound influence on the hip hop culture than Cristal fails to realize.
    To most of young black America,a figure like Jay moves the masses more than say,Rev.Al Sharpton or even George W. Bush.Rappers,like rockers were a couple of decades ago,are the voice of an entire generation.Here lies the problem:will this power be used for good or evil?

  • D Money

    When all is said and done,brethren,Jay made a wise move on behalf of the hip hop community.It was his wake up call for all the free marketing he gave these European brands and designer labels.He now decides to take a stand and says,”OK,I will disown Cristal,and sales will flop,and most of the hiphoppers,in true trend-following fashion,will follow the suit.That statement by Jay will have a more profound influence on the hip hop culture than Cristal fails to realize.
    To most of young black America,a figure like Jay moves the masses more than say,Rev.Al Sharpton or even George W. Bush.Rappers,like rockers were a couple of decades ago,are the voice of an entire generation.Here lies the problem:will this power be used for good or evil?

  • The Leak

    I dont agree, if this man had such a huge problem with the hip hop community buying his product, he shouldve have spoken up like 100 million dollars ago instead of now.

    I the boycott is justified. The fact that he can say such comments shows hes gotten all the money he needs out of us so “fuck us” basically.

    What he doesnt understand is the hip hop community is the reason in the spike in his sales because we influece everybody else to drink it also.

    Shits fucked

  • DJ Lucky Luke

    Jay also advertises for Heineken. Someone will soon figure out that Dutch people don’t give a damn about blacks and next thing you know, Jay-Z will have nothing to drink. He better start talking to the manufacturer of water so he’ll have some income when the alcoholic beverage endorsements run out.
    On a side note, who here really enjoys Heineken? Personally, I think it’s one of the most bitter tasting beers on the market–Heineken light is smoother…

  • http://myspace.com/ombiant mr.ombiant

    With Jay taking a stand on this alone shows that(A)fuck these corporate motherfuckers that dont care about us. As a young black male, I stand by that 100%.(B)As a whole, the hip hop community can make a difference. Unity is what we need anyway. Imagine motherfuckers started realizing that they could make a difference…that shit would crazy. BOl, if this is a negative thing in your eyes, I have to question where do you stand. Thats like saying if your first time voting is when you’re 30, you shouldnt vote cause you didnt when you was 18.

  • Andrew

    > rappers boycotting cris will dent there quarterly profits because if rappers who drink the shit like water stop, that is a lot of money lost. let mcdonald’s say they don’t like black people’s business.

    > He now decides to take a stand and says,”OK,I will disown Cristal,and sales will flop,and most of the hiphoppers,in true trend-following fashion,will follow the suit

    You guys are hilarious. Again, he’s boycotting a company that doesn’t want him to buy their shit.

  • http://www.hi-flitones.com Brick Man

    if you’re anti-jay-z mabye u should limit the amount of time u spend chatting him up in your blog. “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” it doesn’t really matter why rappers like(d) cris, becuz their are subconcious reasons for everything. ((((people who write blogs love attention)))) if you’re going to do anything support that man for standing against racist bs. do you not understand that the enemy is not jay-z?

  • http://www.hi-flitones.com Brick Man

    i thought this was America? wait…..i guess it makes sense then…..

  • lol

    Even if everyone who is into hip hop on the planet “boycotted” Cristal, only .00001% of them could even afford to buy a bottle in the first place. I don’t think Cristal is too worried. Next thing you know he’ll be telling everyone to boycott the Mercedes Maybach. lol.

    Now if he boycotted something along the lines of Coca-Cola, there’d be something interesting to talk about.

  • psycho babble baby

    Thank you Andrew..That is what a few of us were saying waaaay up in this comments section. No one is saying he should have continued to endorse Cristal after they made a statement about not really wanting hip-hop attraction. I think EXO said it best (above). And whether the Jay-Z decision is a catch 22 – if he call for a boycott then he got played but if he calls for it that works even better for Cristal – I think is irrelevant.

    The thing that might be useful from this BS to all of us and not only Jay-Z is that we need to start voting with our dollars. We are as much implicated in our own oppression and those of others in third world countries (where all types of shit’s made and workers exploited) by buying stuff just because it is well advertised or some stupid ass entertainer says it is fly. I think too often as a hiphop community we only talk a lot of shit but are not prepared to act beyond what is considered acceptable or trendy. We think talking about stuff or exposing it is actual activism. nigga puhleez

  • rec

    abvdlaw Says:

    June 15th, 2006 at 7:03 pm
    All ya’ll jocking jigga for taking a stand are even dumber than he was for sucking the cristal cork in the first place. the crap is garbage. i can get 5 cases of green beers and 4 fifths of hen for the price of one bottle of pisstal and have the whole joint lit. Cristal is some east coast busterblueballers mark ass drank. out here we sips henny, baby. all the way live.

    ^^
    yeah much better…lol

  • psycho babble baby

    OOPS!!

    And whether the Jay-Z decision is a catch 22 – if he does not call for a boycott then he got played but if he calls for it that works even better for Cristal – I think is irrelevant.

  • prodigynius

    didn’t anyone hear about Cristal making a statement to Allhiphop.com about how they were wrong to say that and that cristal couldn’t have made it this far without being acceptable of all cultures. complete 180 when they realized the power of a wealthy, black man. member when jay said “we don’t drive x5′s/ we give ‘em to baby’s mamas”? if i remember correctly, the percentage of males who purchased x5′s for themselves dropped conisderably. what about camron’s dumb ass and his wet wipe promotion. the spokesperson for wetwipes publicly thanked cam for his promotion because it caused a 200% increase in their profits for that quarter.

  • Ogeezy

    Brother takes a stand and gets called jig and traitor by BOL. YOU ARE A MODERN DAY HOUSE NIGGA. GET YOUR CRUSTY LIPS OFF THE WHITE MANS BALLS BITCH AND BE A MAN FOR ONCE. YOU STAND FOR NOTHING.
    DIE A THOUSAND DEATHS COWARD.

  • psycho babble baby

    Ogeezy I am actually fascinated by your level of ignorance. Dude, social scientist should do experiments on you. for real. have you not read any of the responses above? ignorant fucking asshole (my apologies to any assholes I may have offended by equating ogeezy with yall).

  • Blog is deemed irrelevant…

    Eat crow Bol, because the boycott worked…Frederic Rouzaud rescinded his Freudian slip…Hindsight is always 20/20.

  • texas flippin

    who fucking cares. no one is racist here. the racist shit is over. it came to a hault after rodney king. plus. whites are the minority now. im not white but come on jay z. if you ask me alot of people played that card out yrs ago. no one thinks its racist when a white goes to compton for chicken and doesnt make it out. or when a white or african american cant get a job at your local mexican restraunt. its all in the eye of the beholder i guess.

  • soulbydemand

    it’s funny how possibly the most influential rapper/business man of the modern era has decided to use the power of his voice to speak out against the “injustices” being levied upon the “nigger rich” by the unkind words of the Cristal corporation…what the fuck ever, it’s easier for folk who have a lot to lose to speak out against highly irrelevant forms of “racism”, when there are a plethora of real problems plaguing black America besides a company of suit-n-tie ofays not wanting niggas to drink their shit…so shawn carter donated money via a benefit to Katrina victims, one of his artists sent shockwaves across the world to make a heartfelt and very realistic statement about the president….that’s using the power of influence to make a statement that actually can spark intelligent dialogue….bottom line is young hov being a businessman himself should be astute in the power of brand recognition and all tha crackers were sayin was that they felt they were losing a level of prestige when the drink start being associated w/ rap niggas…so just oblige them and leave tha shit alone and don’t use it as an opportunity to stand on an imaginary soap box to make a bogus political statement about what’s racist

  • psycho babble baby

    Texas flipping, that relativist shit wont fly here. Sure we can say racism is in the eye of the beholder, but virtually the whole world’s eyes beheld the Katrina shituation and I have news for you – It was racism (coupled with classism). Racism died after Rodney King??? haahah fucking joke

  • blockstar

    How many people still drink pepsi after they pulled the $$ from under Ludacris? (after the Bill O’[asshat]Reilly comments) or is everything all gravy cuz they gave Kanye a spot?

  • jimy jackoff

    katrina how is that racist when people spent money at casinos and on shit they didnt even need.
    you can say that all u want. but its true take a deep look at those victims some that needed it more that others did not get it and others that did blew it on bull shit. so take a look at what your talking about before you get into govt issues. dont wanna go there. ill give you all the info you want on the babble baby.

  • person

    This article wasn’t very good in presenting the case of whether or not Jay Z within reason should have boycotted the product. It was biased due to a more emotional appeal rather than fact basis (despite the inclusion of quotation and the version of history presented here). The question which this should have answered is why you feel Jay Z did not have the right to boycott the product. It is evident that the managing director disapproved (even if slightly) of hip hop’s support of the product in a manner which made it seem as if the product was in fact superior. Jay Z thought this was insulting and as a result boycotted it. Does he have the right, Yes. We all have the right to refuse a product. Did he had to do it publicly, No, but since it was in response to a public statement made, it is within reason. Was the statement racist, not necessarily, it could be perceived as such considering Hip Hop is part of the evolving Black Art Form, but he may just disapprove of the raw and urban side of the artform. So that regard jumping out an saying it is racist conceiveable wrong. But not supporting a product which does not want your support is okay. As for the support of the product in the first place, almost all of the goods marketted today by companies form a few decades ago were created without the black people in mind and catered to the priviledge whites, and many brands are marketted with the same ideologies in mind. So as a black person can you go through life without supporting these companies. No. So when choosing a drink or lifestyle to signify wealth it will almost always be inculding yourself in the world of white priviledge. So the drink in question has been used by the hip hop community as a statement of wealth. Now if you wish to argue that this statement should not be made and that instead of spending money on these things there should be an upliftment of the community then that is a different issue.
    To end this, the company released a rebuttal.

  • Biko

    Byron..you oreo bastard. Does the words “stockholm” and “syndrome” mean anything to you? However clever and insightful you may flatter yourself to be, the honkies on this site will ony see a baggy lipped negro staring out at them, wanting their love.

  • Anonymous

    What people don’t understand is that the hip-hop community influences all aspects of society(be they black,white,rich,poor,middle,etc…).
    Think about it, how many white girls and guys where brand label conscious until hip hop came with that in the 90′s. Before rap was shouting out labels, how many middle class white people knew Versace, Charles David, Burberry, YSL, Oscar, and the list goes on. They pretty much started the whole fashion label craze. Remember Hilfiger, look at his sell pre-rap endorsement (a big difference). So yeah, even my time in LA after college you go to clubs and people, mostly non-black are ordering Cris by the buckets. You gonna tell me they were doing it before it was being shouted out all over the place by rappers. So yeah it makes a difference.