Rappers have successfully killed any class a number of luxury items ever had by simply giving them a passing mention in 16 bars or less. Whether their intention is product placement, or simply reporting the details of the life they lead, rappers tend to introduce or champion luxury goods to the urban market…causing the ripple effect we see daily in the form of knockoffs and general a**hole-ish behavior. Here are six prime examples of products that have become so over-saturated in rhymes and subsequent public interest that they’re pretty much only for the hood now:
Moscato – What was once a perfectly fine dessert wine option has become a staple in urban clubs and Black gatherings of any kind. You’re probably sipping on some right now. Moscato has had a big couple of years in the rap game…the result being rational adults with (I assume) functioning taste buds unabashedly ordering this sweet sh*t to accompany everything from steak dinners to ramen noodles. True story: I attended a Memorial Day cookout with nothing but water, Heineken and moscato in the cooler. People were drinking this stuff out of Styrofoam cups with burnt hot dogs and salt & vinegar chips. Thanks a lot, Drake.
Christian Loubutin (Red Bottoms) – Loubs have been around since 1991, but the way rappers suddenly took note and began working them into their rhymes, you’d swear they appeared out of thin air in 2007. Now the exclusivity has faded and you have every chick (and 68% of the guys) on the block copping a pair of “red bottoms” to step to the club in – be they real or replicated. I’ve even heard tales of shoe soles PAINTED red in efforts to emulate the style…which is likely one of the saddest things I’ve heard in some time. Most people don’t even know how to pronounce “Louboutin.” Or worse…upon hearing the word pronounced correctly, fall under the impression that these shoes are made by Louis Vuitton. Imagine the mix of pity and frustration the shoe salesman at Neiman Marcus feels as Shankeeka and her homegirl asks to see the red bottoms in a size 8…when these French shoes don’t even run in American single digit sizes.
Louis Vuitton Damier – The iconic checkered pattern that has become one of LV’s classic staples since its introduction in 2006 also serves double duty as hood camouflage. Whether azur or standard canvas (ratch translation : the white one or the brown one), you’ll blend right in at the nearest bus stop with your speedy/belt combo (or backpack/zip wallet on a chain combo for the fellas). Extra points if you can manage to find the matching snap back or tee-shirt in the car trunk full of “luxury goods” parked in the lot of nearest package store/wing stop strip mall.
Nuvo – I barely even want to discuss this stuff. It’s like the Capri Sun of champagne, even sold in bite size bottles at some clubs. Yet and still, grown ass men order this pink, sparkling, fruit flavored beverage with a straight face in public, and then have the nerve to flaunt it in VIP as if they are certified ballers because of it. Fact is, the only reason any of us think this $25 barely alcoholic beverage is something fancy is due to the company’s aggressive product placement and endorsement deals specifically targeting the urban market. Someone on that PR team deserves a gold star and some paid vacay time.
True Religion Jeans – Nah…these were always for ratchets who want to feel bougie & elite. With their overly embellished back pockets and gaudy stitching, not to mention the brand’s own love affair with its horseshoe logo, this is a hoodrat’s absolute dream brand. There is nothing understated or subtle about Trues; everyone knows you have them on before you reach a five foot radius of their person.
American Express Black Cards – This one has managed to salvage most of its “high society” credentials…mainly because unlike an alcoholic beverage or fashion trend, it’s not easily attained or knocked off purely for stunting purposes. Either you can afford the $250,000 per year spending minimum or you can’t. But, of course that doesn’t stop your little cousin and his basement studio rap group from claiming Black Card status in their high school parking lot rhymes.
Face it, we’re all guilty of a little “glambition” after hearing an artist we love mention an expensive, exclusive item we’re sure must enhance the lives of the rich and famous. But bottom line: Just because a rapper mentioned it doesn’t mean you need to champion it. So please, everyone, stop mixing up “Malibu-yows” and “Coco-Losos” because Kanye & Fabolous told you to. And PLEASE don’t step into Saks Fifth Avenue looking for Louis Vuitton condoms because Big Sean mentioned how “f*cking in style” he is either. Luxury baubles are great, but living within your budget, common sense, and being an individual each taste so much sweeter than a glass of Moscato.