Cognac is the drink that’s drank by Gs: The Clash of Tradition and US HipHop

HipHop and Cognac, a true phenomenal cultural clash. Let’s think about this and have a look at some rap music lyrics where cognac plays a role.

HipHop artists Busta Rhymes and P. Diddy released there song „Pass the Courvoisier“ in 2001 – a new age in Cognac had begun.

Busta Rhymes' Video Pass The Courvoisier

Once the song was in the US music charts, Cognac sales boosted in the North American market. Today it is the most important Cognac market in the world! Since the “Pass the Courvoisier” there were more than over 100 Cognac HipHop songs and tracks released.

It started with ‘Pass the Courvoisier’

One wonders why there is no statue of Busta Rhymes and P. Diddy in the centre historique of the town of Cognac. No, actually we do not really wonder.. Because the traditional Charente cognac world and the US HipHop culture do not have much in common. Perhaps they do not have anything in common. Let’s look at these to guys here for example, Kim Birkedal Hartmann and Ludacris.. they do not quite fit together.

Birkedal Hartmann and Ludacris

Birkedal Hartmann and Ludacris

While the Cognac region is dominated my winegrowing, agriculture, trading and degustation, the slow tasting… the Rap culture is dominated by status symbols, cars, guns, diamonds, rings and expensive objects. It’s a very material world, all about party, who the best is, who has the most ‘bitches’, about making money and finally the American dream.

Cognac mention in rap lyrics

Here are some examples, how it sounds like when Rappers sing about Cognac. It does not surprise that conservative Charente prefers to keep this Rap culture on distance.

NAS IS COMING (Nas featuring Dr. Dre)
Jeep full of chicks, pull up beside, have a listen y’all, nas y’all
Fly gangsta, wavy hair teeth chipped in
My shit bump, in the courtroom drunk, links truck
Rocky bracelet, cognac kernel never chase it

SO MUCH PAIN (Ja Rule featuring 2 Pac)
And I don’t give a fuck ‘cause they don’t give a fuck ‘bout me
So I keep drinkin’ Hennessy, bustin’ at my enemies
Will I live to see twenty-three? There’s so much pain

GANGSTA LEAN (The Clipse)
Just by the way she kiss me
Hold her wit the index and thumb tippsy
Ma I’m so trippy
Hard to hold back, scent so sweet
Got to Cognac and honey wrap her this ain’t drink
From Taiwanese to Amsterdam greeny green
To hydromic that make a weak stomach vomit

TRADIN WAR STORIES (2 Pac)
Pardon my thug poetry, but suckers is born everyday
and fear of man- grow on trees
Criminal ties for centuries, a legend in my own rhymes
So niggaz whisper when they mention
Machiavelli was my tutor Donald Goines, my father figure
Moms sent me to go play with the drug dealers
Hits fall, we thug niggaz and we cam in packs.
Every one of niggaz strapped sippin on nac
In the back, My AR-15

GZ UP HOES DOWN (Snoop Doggy Dogg)
My side, as I mob to the beach, on a mission, and I’m fishin’
for my DJ Warren G, now I look for the bud’s sack
and see where my loves at, on the lake where the doves at
Cognac is the drink that’s drank by Gs

NITRO (LL Cool J)
Play the wall or fall I stand tall you’re small in fact
step aside, you might get fried
by the super technique that the rapper applied
As a matter of fact, the impact will distract
your attention away, from the rest who say
they can mess with Cool J the best of to-day
and best cause the rhymes are so funky fresh
I’ma attack smack and make em stand back
Black strong as cognac I got the knack
to rhyme to the rhythm of this, and give em a gift
that’s swift, other rappers are stiff and don’t riff with
Mr. Smith, cause that ain’t safe

REPRESENT (Ja Rule)
Whare all my gangsta niggaz at?
Supply the town with coke and Hen and Cuban contacts
We keep them coming back, plus the one’s that copped crack
Raw cut, overdose off the feedback, alone
Intoxicated from the Cognac, charge that Al Capone suite to Ammex
Valley to Lex, that black hand is on deck
We rollin in, peelin notes off of g stacks, We Murderaz

B-TRAIN (Bravehearts)
What’s happenin comrad, you ready for combat
Aint no turning back, I drank some cognac
I watch my money stack, it’s popin like dat
I broke a nigga back wit a baseball bat
I crack ya fuckin skull, you need a body bag

XXPLOSIVE (Dr. Dre)
Explosive, west coast shit
My niggu-ish ways attact, girls that used to turn they back
Causin me to yank they arm and pose like I would to the harm
Now I’m sayin thank you cause they tell me, my shit’s the bomb
Explosive for my niggaz drinkin Cognac, smoking weed, always pack
mo’ than one, firearm, chrome rims, ridin on
Chronic in yo’ system, let me know, my shit’s the bomb

So today there are lots of new Cognac expressions: Yak, Remi, nyak or nak, Henn-dog or Henny and other new terms.

Yak, Remi, nyak or nak, Henn-dog or Henny

It’s not a conincidence that afro Americans drink Cognac: They use it to differ from others. It’s a clear symbol for “un-white”, cultural and expensive lifestyle.

Basically the Rap was a very important thing for the cognac industry. It helped getting new customers, conquer the US market and targeting a younger audience. The pop culture of Cognac communicates again and again to drink “the yak” – via radio, internet and tv channels.

Cognac became so big in the US, from 2001 to 2007 – until the world wide crisis hit. While 55 million bottles were exported to the US in 2007, it was only 43,4 million in 2009. But the market is recovering now. Today, and we covered it often enough on this blog, the big cognac houses start to use Rap stars as spokesman. Snoop Dogg represents Landy, T.I. does promotion for Rémy Martin and Ludacris promotes Birkedal-Hartmann’s & Tiffon’s Conjure Cognac.

Conjure Cognac is actually a new brand, especially designed and positioned for the US market.

It will be very interesting to see how the Cognac culture now develops in new emerging markets in Asia – where Cognac basically is also a status symbol.

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