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From the streets of the South Bronx, to the top of the Billboard charts, it's safe to say that hip-hop has made it. What better way to celebrate that achievement than popping bottles? From wallet-busting champagne like Cristal, to once lesser-known cognacs like Courvoisier, hip-hop has often put us on to new booze (or influenced our desire for bottles we can't afford) as it toasted its view from the top. Rappers don't just determine the tracks on the top of the charts, they also set the bar when it comes to what's worth drinking, making them taste-makers in every sense of the word.
What makes a rapper, or even a generation's worth of hip-hop, preoccupied with a particular brand? Is it taste, the perceived wealth that comes with cracking a gold-plated bottle, or just that it gets you really, really turned up? We can't really say how hip-hop came to a consensus, but we do know that liquor companies are reveling in the free advertising. No suspiciously cool spokesperson (we see you, Dos Equis man) required.
Names like Patrón and Rémy Martin have been in rappers' good graces since the '90s when Notorious B.I.G. spit, "When the Rémy's in the system, ain't no tellin," and have remained on the tongues of 21st century artists like Kanye West and Ludacris. It just goes to show, some spirits stand the test of time. Especially if that spirit happens to be Hennessy.
The following infographic puts the spotlight on popular liquor brands you routinely hear in rap lyrics, with a focus on finding who truly wears the crown. We scoured the lyrics of the 20 top-selling rap artists of all time (according to the latest Nielsen SoundScan) to find the answer.
Our methodology was this: Each time a rapper referred to a brand of booze, it counted as as a mention. Repeat mentions on hooks were not counted. For example, T.I.'s "Whatever You Like" has the line "Patrón on ice" on the hook, but it was only counted as one mention. Also, in the case of collabos like "Crack a Bottle," which features both Eminem and Dr. Dre (both of whom appear on SoundScan's list), the reference was marked for whomever the song belongs to (in this case, Eminem). Conversely, if Eminem dropped a liquor reference in a song that belonged to an artist who does not appear on the list, it was counted as a reference for Em.
The Rappers: Eminem, Jay-Z, Nelly, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Ludacris, Nas, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Ja Rule, Dr. Dre, 2Pac, LL Cool J, Ice Cube. T.I., Too Short, DMX, The Notorious B.I.G., Will Smith, MC Hammer
The Booze: Dom Pérignon, Grey Goose, Bacardi, Alizé, Patrón, Moët, Cîroc, Hennessy, Rémy Martin, Cristal
Sit back and drink it all in: these are The Most Name-Dropped Liquor Brands in Rap History.