Making Smirnoff hip-hop

Of all the companies who might call themselves the hip-hop brand of vodka, I’m at a loss for what Smirnoff’s case would be.

On the one hand, you’ve got these ultra-premium brands of vodka like Grey Goose and Ketel One, which obviously appeal to black people’s tendency to wear their wealth (such as it is) on their backs.

Never mind the fact that vodka supposedly doesn’t taste like anything anyway. So why bother spending an exorbitant sum on some shit you can’t even taste? Unless you’re gonna get some of that fruity flavored vodka shit, which is just teh ghey.

Also, it’s not like anyone other than maybe homeless Russian people drinks Vodka straight up. Once you pour enough Red Bull in it, the shit’s just gonna end up tasting like Red Bull, regardless of how much you paid for it.

On the other hand, you’ve got bottom-shelf brands like Congress and Aristocrat, which I certainly drank my share of when I was in college. I remember I used to get a handle of Aristocrat for something ridonkulous like $9.99, at the the kind of gas station where you could also take a shower.

(Note, in case anyone’s wondering: No, I’ve never taken a shower in a gas station.)

Which is way less than what it costs for a handle of Smirnoff. (I should know, my little brother brings one in here seemingly every few days.) I don’t even think you could get a fifth of Smirnoff for that price even back then, i.e like five years ago.

These bottom-shelf brands of vodka strike me as more hip-hop than Smirnoff, in that drinking low-cost alcohol in general – whether it’s Congress, or Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull, or, if you’re a Native American Indian, radiator fluid – is hip-hop in its essence, at least as far as I’m concerned.

Just like springing for Grey Goose to impress the kind of broad who’s impressed by a guy with nine dollars in his pocket, scraping together every last bit of money you have to buy a big bottle of shit to help you forget just how fucked the fuck up your life is speaks to the hip-hop ethos.

Meanwhile, brands like Smirnoff and Skyy kinda occupy that gray region where, even though I stay surrounded by people with a constant need to self-medicate, I’ve never even once heard of someone either a) buying a bottle of Smirnoff for the taste, or b) buying a bottle of Smirnoff to impress a girl.

Therefore, you can see why Smirnoff might need some sort of marketing plan to make itself more appealing to the hip-hop community.

Enter the Smirnoff Signature Mix Series, a series of classic hip-hop records recreated by some of the top producers in hip-hop, and also Cool and Dre. All brought to you thanks to the largess of the good people at Smirnoff.

I got the idea yesterday to do a story on whether or not the three joints in the Smirnoff Signature Mix Series are any good, but then I realized that all three of them haven’t been released yet. I made it to the SSMS website, where you can download the first two joints, KRS-One and DJ Premier’s new version of “Criminal Minded,” and Common and Just Blaze’s new version of “The Light,” only to find out that the third one, Q-Tip and Cool and Dre’s new version of “Midnight” won’t be released until next Tuesday.

Then I got called into the BGM, so I just said fuck it.

Obviously what’s going on here is that they’re gonna continue to milk this little marketing stunt of theirs for as long as they possibly can. On the site, there’s also links to videos I guess they’re gonna make for each of the tracks that don’t even list dates for when they’re gonna be posted. So for all we know, we could still be earing about this shit well into the summer. (When it’s an especially good idea to do a lot of drinking!)

I figured I might just wait until Tuesday (which also happens to be some asshole’s 27th birthday) to describe how each new track isn’t as good as the original, but then I decided against that on the grounds that a) that would just be playing into their little marketing scheme, as if anyone’s cutting me a check for this shit; and b) a Cool and Dre remake of an album track from Midnight Marauders with a post-Kamaal the Abstract Q-Tip couldn’t possibly be worth a shit anyway.

So here goes. My thoughts on the first two tracks in the Smirnoff Signature Mix Series.

KRS-One and DJ Premier collaborating on a new version of Criminal Minded should’ve been the tits. If KRS-One has lost a step on the mic, he might be even more amusing to me as an MC for the fact that he’s clearly fucking insane. And pretty much all of the other times KRS-One and DJ Premier have teamed up, the end result was nails.

But this new version of “Criminal Minded” is decidedly lame, and I’m gonna have to lay the blame with DJ Premier, who – aside from his work with my fantasy woman Christina Aguilera (check out her cans in this clip) – hasn’t had a good idea in ages. His actual hip-hop shit fell off hard some time in between Moment of Truth and The Ownerz, and this track is just a reminder of that fact.

Which brings me to Common’s new version of “The Light” with Just Blaze. (Ha!) Teh ghey as it was, the original was one of the few bright spots on Common’s ?uestlove’d out (which is to say, lame-ass) 2000 set I Refuse to Type This Ridonkulous Album Title, courtesy of the production by the late, great J Dilla. (Compare it to the requisite songs for the bitches on the past few Common albums in a row. Like this one. Blech!)

You would think that taking a song that was mostly tolerable for its production and then stripping out said production would be an awful idea, but Just Blaze’s work on this new version isn’t half that bad for what it is. It kinda reminds me of the last track on the last Game album, maybe because it’s also got that broad from Floetry on it. It’s definitely not my kind of thing, but I could see burning a copy of it to CD, in case I’m ever in the car with the kind of broad who would appreciate that sort of thing.

Then I’d take her back to my place, i.e. mom’s basement, get her lit off Congress (in a bottle that says Grey Goose, natch), and try to take advantage of her in her drunken state.

Now that would be hip-hop!

  • og bobby j

    premo hasnt fallen off…just check a few of the joints he did for termanology.

    why remake shit that was good originally? do fix it if it aint broke.

    Handle of bankers club rum= 13.00
    30 pack beast ice= 11.99
    L of that good= 20.00
    Funnel= 8.99
    dutchie = 1.50

    end result = priceless

    • Hova26

      Hey Bol, if you reading this I have a question for you that you might wanna consider for the topic of your next blog; Are rappers better actors than actors themselves?

  • http://www.first.com Al B

    That thing about Native Americans was uncalled for, but I laughed anyway.

  • jonathan

    i could tell you havent been paid off yet my nigga! but im sure that day is coming! be safe my nigga! i always get the hints! goodlooking !

  • dodger

    the only people i know that drink smirnoff are high school chicks who pound that shit during hotel parties. Smirnof!?!? are you kidding me?! if you got the money, you gotta fucks with ketel one, absolut, chopin, something like that.

    i dont got the money, so i fucks with Rubinoff. Shit is delicious and it’s only like 11 bucks a half gal. I used to fucks with the Orloff back in the old country but I uprgraded.

    Lemme tell you this tho, Vodka straight up is the bomb. I don’t be mixing that shit with no red bull, I feel like a fuckin raver with a glow stick with that shit. Tonic water, or gatorade chaser baby. keep it real gully. drink that shit outta a squirt bottle before an employee party, ya know!

  • Pierzy

    Vodka is supposed to be odorless or tasteless but anyone that’s had bottom-of-the-barrel shit can tell you that it smells and tastes like complete and utter dog shit…

  • The Nicker

    The Ownerz = Dope production

    C Aguilera = Dope tits

    Common’s ?uestlove’d out (which is to say, lame-ass) 2000 set I Refuse to Type This Ridonkulous Album Title = Ahahahahahahaha

    Dilla’s production on The Light > Anything mailed in for Smirnoff

    Anything any rapper did while involved with Erykah Badu = Excused from poor decision making

  • http://www.myspace.com/crockerishiphop Crocker

    I don’t know what was funnier; The cool and dre remark or the krs-one crack. And the jacked up kid above really needs to go ether himself for that drawn out tangent. Nullus.

  • texasleen

    all vodkas are good when you put them in the freezer doesnt matter what kind…and ive put cheap vodka in the goose bottle 2 damn her tits are looking full of milk

  • b-ease

    1. Like Water…was a dope fucking album. You’re wilding on that note bol.

    2. Vodka puts me in the most aggresively drunken state out of all liquor and beer. But it also gives me the least painful hangovers. If I actually liked clear alcohol, I’d drink it a lot more.

    3.And yes, between Moment of Truth and Ownerz was EXACTLY when DJ Premier fell off.

  • http://mr-hoju.blogspot.com hj

    actually smirnoff was rated #1 by the nytimes in a vodka taste test. everyone was very surprised.

    so now, you could buy it for the taste.

  • j.calderon

    “…the top producers in hip-hop, and also Cool and Dre”. Hilarious!

  • Ether

    Enter the Smirnoff Signature Mix Series, a series of classic hip-hop records recreated by some of the top producers in hip-hop, and also Cool and Dre.

    LMAO.

  • Neven

    hey what ever happen to Belvedere, shit I us to buy this chick like a bottle every week, for me it still heineken or Johnny and water.

    ya texasleen she will come down with Mastitis if she don’t milk those tits

  • yehboy

    what is the BGM?

  • ri067953

    Yo, I like that idea of putting a low grade vodka in a Grey Goose bottle to impress a chick. I vote for Taaka. Word!

  • Bol=Black Shrek

    “Note, in case anyone’s wondering: No, I’ve never taken a shower in a gas station”.

    Bol does have Gay incounters in a shower at a gas station… fuck’n homo

  • A-Z

    Ciroc vodka = fire

    • jamidd

      Yeah that’s some good stuff

      Lookin at my bar right now I got

      Grey Goose
      Belvedere
      Kettle One
      360

      and…..

      Some god ole Smirnoff, unflovored of course

  • Jamon

    1st) Taaka is the worst shit Ive ever put my lips to which is terrible because Ive gotten with some very skanky broads 2nd) As far as bottom shelf liquor is concerned, Bartons Gin and Vodka is the way to go, not half bad and cost seven dollars for a big ass bottle which is the reason why Ive been with so many skanky broads.

  • Tyler

    It’s all about that Cisco baby aka Liquid Crack. “If U ain’t drinking Cisco then U ain’t really tryin’ 2 get fucked up.” We do couple big bottles 2 the head everyime before we record new heat at SolutionsGlobalMedia.com

    BoL if U want 2 really have your way with a girl then give her a music of the Berry or the Black Berry with Sprite. . It takes like heaven but it takes them striaght 2 hell my brotha’

  • Tyler

    Sorry I had that last one all fucked up people. I am drunk as we speak so here it goes again:

    It’s all about that Cisco baby aka Liquid Crack. “If U ain’t drinking Cisco then U ain’t really tryin’ 2 get fucked up.” We do a couple of big bottles 2 the head everytime before we record new heat at SolutionsGlobalMedia.com

    BoL if U really want 2 have your way with a girl then give her a mix of the Berry or the Black Berry with Sprite. . It taste like heaven but it takes them striaght 2 hell my brotha’

  • BORN IN THE NORTH, RAISED IN THE SOUTH

    Smirnoff singlehandedly ended my 12-year liquor drinking career (And that was just the red label). It’s definitely a hip-hop vodka.

  • http://www.myspace.com/metafive daddies

    http://www.myspace.com/metafive

    that Non-Smirnoff shit

  • stoneyisland

    You gonna put cheap vodka in a grey goose bottle then fuck her when she gets drunk in your mothers basement:) that was some funny shit Bol:) you should stand up while working the drive through at your real job at Wac Arnolds:)

  • Da barbarian

    Smirnoff’s & hip-hop.

    Hell, seems a natural to me.

    I spent some time in Chicago bartending, and, other than beer, vodka was the tipple I most often put in a customer’s glass.

    Quality tequila(NOT that Cuervo slop) hits harder, but vodka will take you where you want to go too.

  • daz_oc

    Damn her chesticles are huge now!!! Pregnancy was good to that woman!!!! I had seem some other pics before and was like wooooooooow

  • gerald n. the birdman

    “…series of classic hip-hop records recreated by some of the top producers in hip-hop, and also Cool and Dre.”

    ZING!

  • http://hiphoponmymind.blogspot.com DJ Daddy Mack

    “I remember I used to get a handle of Aristocrat for something ridonkulous like $9.99, at the the kind of gas station where you could also take a shower.

    (Note, in case anyone’s wondering: No, I’ve never taken a shower in a gas station.)”

    LIESSSSSSS

    But yea Bol. Another cool post. Back to back man. Keep it up. I heard that the Q-Tip joint is the same lyrics that is why it is not out yet.

    “But this new version of “Criminal Minded” is decidedly lame, and I’m gonna have to lay the blame with DJ Premier, who – aside from his work with my fantasy woman Christina Aguilera (check out her cans in this clip) – hasn’t had a good idea in ages. His actual hip-hop shit fell off hard some time in between Moment of Truth and The Ownerz, and this track is just a reminder of that fact.”

    VERY TRUE.

    I liked the Common one tho. Just Blaze did his thing.

  • RisingSon

    Simply put, all vodkas are/were made for a bunch of Russians to keep warm and forget about tha cold…in which respects it is the perfect alcohol for hip hop ryt now…’cos god knows we need summin’ to keep our minds off tha shit that’s on our radios these days… Personally I’m a smirnoff man myself..only because it’s cheap enough to tell people I’m living with in my means but not so cheap that people think I’m an alcoholic.

    LMAO @ tha cool & dre statement.

  • INF

    first off smirnoff is like sprite to me..weak stuff…

    vodka is for russians i cosign that

    But personally i just pop cups of patro, hypno, and e&j

  • Liam

    This stunt by Smirnoff is nearly as lame as the people who drink their product

  • mr fly as a pelican

    I’m from CO niggas so I must say I haven’t heard of most that shit you fuckers are taalinbout. Except homeboy that said he voted for Taaka. That shit used to come in the blue bottle. no homo. I consistently sip the finest filth in the form of McCormicks. I still remember the day they made Apple flava. Startin the redick fad of flavored vodkas. Ahhh the memories of handles of Apple McCormicks.

  • rodeo

    Sad truth-

    Black folks have a tendency of falling for marketing gimmicks.. and we spend every last cent of our loot like saving is a sin so..

    Smirnoff’s campaign sounds like a safe bet.

  • Dro

    Who drinks Vodka/Red Bull nowdays ?? lol…And all russians drink their vodka straight up i believe
    Absolute is the sh*t the best and cleanest vodka out there but that other swedish brand Svedka aint bad either, check it out

  • Maddolies

    Smirnoffs sum real ugli sitt!
    After my weekend jus gone im neva tryin it agen (No Homo)
    Sum nasty stuff

  • jg420

    Fools giving props to Taaka, it’s either Chopin, Vox, The Bong Vodka or Belvedere. Goose is the most overated vodka out there, shit I would drink Ketel One or Ciroc before sorry ass Goose. The real drink is Cazadores Reposado with Squirt

    • http://www.plasticsquirtguns.blogspot.com thoreauly77

      mixing drinks is pussy. good booze requires no mixing. step up to don julio anejo at the least, and leave the squirt for the quinceaneras. jesus, its as if none of you know how to drink at all.

  • I REIGN SUPREME

    JACK DANIELS MAN OVER HERE OR HANGAR 1 AND SPRITE. WHAT YALL KNOW BOUT’ THAT HANGAR 1!!!

  • Mufasa

    okay okay, hold up, fuc vodka, fuck DJ Premier.

    When did Xtina cultivate those wondrous boobies?

  • http://www.xxlmag.com EReal

    or, if you’re a Native American Indian, radiator fluid – is hip-hop in its essence, at least as far as I’m concerned.
    ^^
    Fuck You.

    • http://xxlmag.com Bol

      Indians don’t drink radiator fluid?

  • jg420

    thoreauly77 says:

    mixing drinks is pussy. good booze requires no mixing. step up to don julio anejo at the least, and leave the squirt for the quinceaneras. jesus, its as if none of you know how to drink at all.

    Yo thats the truth, I just got on the Cazadores and Squirt over the weekend. Don Julio is the shit for real, I have a bottle of the 1942 Anjeo and you only sip on that shit. Word to Don J

  • Who Dat?

    Damn Bol! Seriously WTF? There has to be something else you can write about..eh ?

  • therealwayno

    I understand as black males we cant afford any visible instances of teh ghey or whatever but The Light is a dope song and Like Water For Chocolate is a dope album right down to the album artwork.

  • LowEndofDaChi

    Smirnoff is garbage, point blank. I get that shit if I’m in Walgreens using the ATM with no time to spare in getting to a real liquor store.

    The best vodkas are Grey Goose, Belvidere, Svedka, Ketel One, and Ciroc.

    And word to all the cats who mentioned Don Julio, brothers been sleeping on that shit. Patron has nothing on Don Julio.

  • http://myspace.com/makellbird Makell Bird
  • Anti-Mainstream

    I’d seriously like to know who Bol listens to, because seriously if Krs-One is lame and sucks, who the fuck from today’s wackass era is even spittin a quarter as nice as Kris? Krs One’s the greatest of all time stop hatin Bol! You’ve been hatin on Kris since Hip Hop Lives came out last May…You ain’t nothing but a no name journalist who sits on his ass and tries to make a name for himself by dissin people. (and legends at that!) Fall Back!

  • http://www.smirnoff.co.in kk

    interesting article..