Stromae

Viral Virtuoso Stromae Is Exactly What America's Been Missing

VIBE sat down with the French-speaking Belgian singer who's up next for global domination.

To the untrained eye, Stromae is an unlikely star. In Coachella’s lavish VIP section, tucked away from the fest’s stoned and costumed attendees, the 30-year-old man born Paul Van Haver sticks out like a sore thumb in the midst of fussy, flashy celebrity hubbub. Stromae—a Belgian-born Rwandan rapper, singer and songwriter with a French tongue—is a slender, towering man with glossy eyes, a neatly side-swept coif and taut bronzed skin over a sharp chin and cheekbones. He comes off as withdrawn at first, but he’s gentle, polite and smiles often. You can tell he’s the shy sort when he’s not elevated on a stage in front of thousands. Instead of donning the blinding jewelry, black-on-black garbs and trendy bowler hats paired with skinny jeans like many of the festival’s performers, he’s outfitted in a collared prep shirt with busy patterns, above-the-knee shorts and canvas loafers, all variations of the same orange hue. None of it screams “famous.”

Even though the trailer is a welcome refuge to Indio Valley’s 90-degree weather outside, he fiddles with the thermostat quietly before asking, “Do you know how to turn the air conditioning off?” When he can’t figure out how to work the dial, he waves a “nevermind” with his hand before plopping down on the couch. Adjusting to the West Coast temperature is the least of his concerns right now. After this interview, he’ll make his Coachella debut in front of thousands. The nerves are definitely there.

While it may be his first time touching down in Indio, Calif., he’s no stranger to performing in the States. Right after he’s done with his two-weekend Coachella duties, he’s scheduled for another big show in L.A. At the Staples Center? we ask. “No! No, no, no. It’s too big,” he replies with a laugh before revealing that it’s at Club Nokia. “Thank you, but no.”

Stromae is modest and humble about his exposure and the breadth of his fan base, but the numbers don’t lie. The YouTube flame ignited in 2010 with the video for his 2010 Cheese single, “Alors on Danse,” which amassed 68 million-plus views and spawned a remix with Kanye West and Gilbere Forte. As of right now, his Racine Carrée album singles “Tous Les Mêmes,” “Formidable,” and “Papaoutai” have all raked in 77 million views, 111 million views and 247 million views, respectively. The new animated video for “Carmen” dropped at the top of April and has over seven million views less than 30 days later.

Aside from the YouTube stats, it’s hard to pin down the sonic derivative of 2013's Racine Carrée, which boasts songs with traces of folk, African and Caribbean sounds, pop, dance and the drama of Broadway. When it comes to global reach, the LP has been certified 12 times platinum by the Belgian Entertainment Association (BEA) and triple diamond in France by the National Syndicate of Phonographic Publishing (SNEP). All he’s got left to do is win over America.

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Stromae was the unforeseen champion of ‘Chella. Watching his live show, you wouldn’t be able to tell that he’s the same shy man from the trailer. Any hint of introvert vanished with the switch of his hips in “Tous Les Mêmes” (he plays both a man and woman in the video) and dancing with a massive digital army in “Ta Fete.” He’s an actor of sorts, able to slip in and out of different characters—a flirtatious woman, a gruff man, a stumbling lush, a militant leader—toying with all these extreme and extravagant beings he claims to be naturally far from. It’s almost as if he slips on a new self before stepping foot on the stage.

The only English came during brief banter between songs, but judging by the roaring screams and applause, the diverse crowd felt and loved the live experience. “It’s not about a language,” he says. “If I do my job, I hope they will understand something.”

Before Stromae tore down the stage at the Mojave tent and a special appearance from Kanye West the second weekend, he tells VIBE of his hip-hop favorites, how music transcends language barriers and why you should pay more attention to Stromae, the artist, than Paul Van Haver, the person.—Stacy-Ann Ellis

VIBE: This year is your first Coachella. Are you nervous to share your gift with people who may have no idea who you are or what you're saying?
Stromae: Of course I am. I am really nervous, but it’s a good energy. It’s a good stress. It’s going to be nice, I hope. I will try to do my best, and I hope that people will understand something even if it’s in French.

Are you previewing any new music or just oldies from Racine Carrée
No, I’m still promoting my second album. I’m not really composing now for the next one and I'm keeping the special [stuff] for after. But I’m trying some stuff in the lab; some ideas and when I’m in my shower. Just some melodies, but nothing really concrete.

Who would you like to work with on your next project?
Yes, Adele would be nice. Maybe Riff Raff? I don’t know why him. (Laughs) He’s funny and he’s not too serious, which is the most important thing I think. He’s never really serious, actually. He’s making fun of himself all the time and that’s the thing I’m doing as well. That’s the proof that you are a human as everyone is. And Lorde again. It'd be nice to collaborate on a new track. For hip-hop, I’m a huge fan of G. Dep.

How did you become such a G. Dep fan?
I don’t know, just because of "Special Delivery." For me, that’s a classic. I don’t understand the words, but that’s not a problem. It makes me dance so it's okay and it’s enough. Unfortunately G. Dep is in jail, but he’s one of my favorite ones.

I want to talk about the new video you put out for “Carmen.” Where did you come up with the idea? Did the Twitter theme stem from a personal experience?
Yeah, that’s the fight we had with my manager because he always wanted me to post some stuff—my meal, where I am, everything. Just those ridiculous things. I don’t want to judge anybody, but I think that’s my privacy and it has to stay my privacy. I just wanted to talk about the danger of loving yourself much more than Twitter or social media. I don’t think [the concept of] loving yourself too much exists since the creation of social media. I think Andy Warhol said that one day everyone will be famous, and he was true because we are exactly in this period. I think that it’s a bit dangerous – and I’m the worst person to talk about it because I’m always on stage, performing and showing my face. I’m trying to focus on my job. I don’t think that being famous is a job. My job is composing, singing, performing, but not being a star. Being a star is not a job and that’s really important for me say. This work is really cool to communicate, but it can be a bit dangerous.

In many of your videos like "Formidable," "Papaoutai" and "Tous Les Mêmes," you’re very much a performance artist, playing a live character. Why did you choose to go the animated route with this one?
I didn’t really want to be in front of [the video], maybe because of Europe. A lot of people saw my face and I don’t want them to get bored of my face. That’s my big fear. That’s maybe the reason I did that. At the same time, it was the easiest way to explain this little bird becoming completely dangerous and eating you. We had the chance to work with Sylvain Chomet and a French rapper, who helped me write the scenario. Actually, they wrote it together.

Which rapper?
His name is OrelSan. He’s really, really talented. He has so many ideas and gave me the idea of the blue birds. He gave me this image in the studio when we were writing the song, because he helped me with the songwriting, he said to me, 'I see a race of a lot of people running on the blue bird.' I was like that’s so true, that’s the vision of Twitter I have. So I called him two years after and we did the video.

Why did you include President Barack Obama in the video?
I think that’s one of the most famous presidents on Earth and maybe the one who has the most followers. That was the best example. England's Queen, as well. I put the most famous ones and the most tweeted ones like Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. That’s the face of Twitter we have in our minds and it was important to take really important Twitter faces and at the same time, be at the same place to judge nobody. I’m judging you, me, everybody. Just our behavior in general.

How would you say you've evolved musically and artistically from your first album to where you are today?
I think I understood how to share music, not to compose alone. It’s important to be alone to find your sincerity and be spontaneous and everything, but at a certain point, you need somebody else to judge your work. Not judge but actually help you to go further. You need everyone and that’s something that I learned during the composition of the second [album]. Because in the first one, I was alone, like "no, I have to compose alone." That’s just ridiculous. You need people to discover yourself. It’s so important.

How different is it performing in front of American fans versus internationally?
In America, it’s something positive in general. In Europe, the perception and approach is completely negative and when you come to the U.S., the approach is completely positive. That’s the feeling I have, but that’s just the cliché, of course. I think that there is good in both, but the crowd [in America] is usually screaming all the time and really positive like, 'Okay, go on. We support you,' even if they maybe don’t like it.

Who's the last artist you played on your iPod?
I think the last person was Rihanna, “Bitch, Better Have My Money.” I think it’s a good track.

You should do a remix to it.
Yeah, maybe. (Laughs) There are so many good trap remixes, so I maybe need three months to get the good level.

Several artists have remixed your past work like Kanye West, Angel Haze and others. Have you connected with them since?
The last one is Lorde, and we met after she made the track. She's really interesting and human. It’s not a compliment, it’s a fact. Her team and my team went out, and we just chilled out. She asked me my opinion about a track, about the collaborations, Q-Tip and Haim, and the people she wanted to work with. She had a pretty good sensibility to know who has to be on the track and stuff, so I agreed a lot. She was listening to me and that’s important. I was pretty honored to be listened to by Lorde.

What do you think people should know about Paul the person versus Stromae the artist?
I think you should know more about Stromae than Paul. If you know Stromae then of course you know a part of Paul, because that’s a part of me. I can’t say it’s completely two different persons. I think that they need to know that socially, I’m really shy in real life. When I’m on stage, that’s a job. It’s acting, it’s faking, just making fun of yourself, telling bad jokes—I’m pretty good in this—dancing, just to entertain. I’m really shy and it has to be like this because otherwise, I couldn’t be on the stage, you know. It’s because I’m so shy, I can be on stage, so pretentious, like, 'Okay, who do you think you are to be on the stage in front of thousands of people?' I’m a bit crazy, yes. Maybe you have to know that I’m a bit crazy.

Photo Credit: Stacy-Ann Ellis

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Ian Reid

Let Jacquees Tell It, He’s The Jodeci Of This R&B Game

Rodriquez Jacquees Broadnax doesn’t want to be the bad guy of R&B. He says this with a sinister, yet warm smile. With year-end debates taking over social circles, Jacquees wants all the flowers for his glowing debut, 4275. “I ain't never had a year like this, I got one of those careers and lives that keep going like this,” he says, as he raises his iced out wrist to draw his progression. “It keeps going up, my sh*t just keeps going up.”

At 24 years old, the singer knows a thing or two about the ever-changing genre. Nearly half of his life has been dedicated to music, specifically to quiet storm-like sounds that now take on new meaning in our adult love lives. He’s hibernated under the radar for some time with his 2014 debut EP 19 and released gentle falsettos and big name features with Chris Brown, Ty Dolla $ign and Trey Songz along the way.

But between his accolades, he’s been condemned for his favorable “Quemix” of Ella Mai’s “Trip” and now, his self-proclaimed status of “The King of R&B” for his generation.

"I just wanna let everybody know that I'm the king of R&B right now," Jacquees said in an Instagram post on Sunday (Dec. 9). "For this generation, I understand who done came and who done did that and that and that, but now it's my time. Jacquees, the king of R&B.”

R&B artists like J. Holiday and Pleasure P shared their two cents on the matter while the game’s most elite like Tank, Tyrese and Eric Bellinger dropping stacks of knowledge on the gift of consistency, respect, and talent. But Jacquees has these things and then some with legends like Jon B., Donell Jones and Jermaine Dupri in his corner. Despite quick reactions from his peers, Jacquees is confident in nature and proud of his space in the game.

“I think I'm the leader though, as far as males go, I think I'm the number one,” he tells VIBE, just days before his “King of R&B” comments went viral. “You're talking about R&B young dudes who understand who goin’ [at] it, [but] who are they going to put in the front? I believe everyone will say Jacquees.”

Jacquees’ music is just a branch of what R&B has evolved into. Over the years, artists like SZA, H.E.R., Daniel Caesar, The Internet, Miguel and many more have flipped the genre on its head by churning out music that not only speaks to the soul, but to their vocal abilities. Successful R&B records aren’t confined to rap guest verses and traditional instruments now take center stage. But Jacquees sits in an interesting space seeing as his style caters to a grey area of folks who just heard their first Monica album yesterday and now appreciate a good nayhoo like the rest of us.

With hopes to release his sophomore album in February 2019, Jacquees chats with VIBE about his confidence, making 7275 and why he’s the perfect leader for R&B today.

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What have you learned about yourself as a human and an artist in 2018?

Jac

quees: This was my biggest year. I made the most money I’ve ever made. I dropped my album and was able to take care of my family. I ain’t never had a year like this and I thank God for that. I got one of those careers and lives that keep going like this, (slowly raises a hand to the ceiling) It keeps going up, my sh*t just keeps going up.

I think I learned about my whole self in 2018. Being that it was my biggest year, I went through a lot of stuff personally, but I think the biggest thing for me was listening to other people but also trusting myself. I have a strong mind so more of listening to myself helped.

Do you think you're the good guy or the bad guy in R&B?

Who do you think I am?

I think you’re a sweetie.

I don’t wanna be the bad guy, I’m a good guy. I’m easy to deal with. I’m a sweetie, but ain’t sh*t sweet though. (Laughs)

You have a lot of ‘90s and 2000s influence in your music. Do you ever feel you might sound dated, or do you think you’re bringing new sounds into the genre?

I just think I'm bringing a whole new sound. When I was younger, someone told me if you switch up what you’re doing, someone else is going to do it and you’re going to be pissed off. Just stick with it. When I was 14, everyone was telling me I needed to make club records but I didn’t want to do it. I remember CEOs saying, “Just let Jacquees do that [what he wants,]” because it’s a clock.

I figured out how to get my records at the club without changing who I was. I remember making “B.E.D.” and finding my flow on my project 19, you know? That’s when I got my swag.

What does love look like to you right now?

I think about a family. I think about me, a girl, a kid or something, like a whole family. One day I’m going to have it. I’ll still be in the game but I’ll say, “Yeah, that’s my wife over there with our son and daughter.” I'm getting older, too. I’ve been in the game for 10 years for real, but I’ll be 25 next year and soon they’ll be a little Jacquees.

There are a lot of layers in today’s R&B, especially in the mainstream resurgence it’s had. In that, there aren’t as many young male black vocalists being pushed to the forefront. I want to know your thoughts on where you exist in the genre today.

I think there's a big wave coming back right now because even if R&B didn't die down they weren’t promoting it that heavy. Artists were making songs, they just weren’t being acknowledged on a mainstream level. I think the game is really putting R&B back on top. You know, you’ve got artists like me, Tory [Lanez], Ella Mai, H.E.R., so many people, you know what I’m saying? Of course, you had Chris [Brown], Trey [Songz], all of them but that’s when we were in school. It’s a new time, ain’t no big male R&B singers.

I think I'm the leader though, as far as males go, I think I'm the number one. You're talking about R&B young dudes who understand who goin’ [at] it, [but] who are they going to put in the front? I believe everyone will say Jacquees. They’re not rugged like me. You’ve got Jodeci and Boyz II Men. I’m Jodeci, they’re all Boyz II Men. I’m street, they’re not street like me. You can hear it in their voice. There’s a difference.

It’s no disrespect to nobody because they’re all my friends, but I still wanna be number one. If we’re playing the game and I lose, I’ll be mad as hell but I’m still a good person. I just want to win.

As you should. Everyone wants to make the best music they can–

But I ain’t no hater either. The game is like a sport. The game is like high school. I remember being at this year’s BET Awards and seeing certain singers and thinking, ‘Oh, they’re seniors.’ I knew I was a freshman, but I saw Meek and all of them thought, “He’s a senior.’ You know how it is when you walk through school in the first year. Then the second you’re like, “I’m the ni**a now.”

When I did the Soul Train Awards in November, I felt like a sophomore that everybody knew. They knew me from my freshman year, but this time I’m playing varsity.

You’ve said before you want to do this for a long time–

Yeah, I want to make music forever and it’s my choice. I want to make enough money for me to turn down shows because now, I have to take everything I get. I always tell artists, you got this much time to make this much money. Because after that, sh*t’s closed. I've seen it happen.

For me, I know I got longevity in this game because I'm an R&B singer and a lot of R&B singers have longevity if you take care of yourself, you know what I'm saying? Even rappers, you know what I'm saying? You keep that flow going, don't do no lame sh*t, you know you’re stick around.

How do you take care of yourself?

You gotta take care of your health. That's number one. Your mind and your health is your biggest thing. Keeping good people around you...stay in good spirits with me. I like to keep good people around me. I like people around me [who] make me laugh. Smile, I don't really like people around me that I got to be like, “What's going on?” I just like people who are themselves.

Stream 4275 below.

READ MORE: Tyrese, Usher And Others Reacts To Jacquees' Claim That He's The King Of R&B

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Music Sermon: The Groundbreaking Sprite and St. Ides Hip-Hop Campaigns

Today, rap music is used to sell everything from electronics to tax filing services to nut butter grinding machines at Whole Foods. We understand that hip-hop culture is essentially the root of everything cool and hip in culture, period, and it’s been commodified and appropriated within an inch of its life. But in the early ‘90s, the genre was far from Madison Avenue-friendly. Aside from the groundbreaking deal between Adidas and RUN DMC, brands didn’t yet see full value and impact of hip-hop…except in the food and beverage industry.

Beverage companies centering campaigns for the urban demo around black music was nothing new; Coca-Cola had ads featuring artists such as New Edition and Anita Baker singing their hearts out for the cola in the ‘80s, and Schlitz Malt Liquor had a legendary – and hilarious - run of spots featuring The Commodores, The Four Tops, Teddy Pendergrass and more through the ‘70s and early ‘80s. However, in the early ‘90s two brands put their entire business on hip-hop’s back, by not only building their brands but spring-boarding the recognition of the music and artists as a marketing and advertising tool: Sprite soda and St. Ides malt liquor.

In the ‘80s, Sprite was languishing behind competitor 7Up when parent company Coca-Cola decided to focus on the youth market, and the quickly growing hip-hop culture was part of the strategy. African-American ad agency Burrell Communications tagged hip-hop acts for a series of spots that began a long-standing marriage between the brand and the culture, starting with Kurtis Blow in 1986. It was one of the first national TV ads to feature a rapper.

KURTIS BLOW - 1986

In 1990, the brand kicked off the “I Like the Sprite in You” campaign, using rap acts that matched the soft drink’s bubbly energy, starting with Heavy D & the Boyz before partnering with Kid ’n Play the following year. The ads featured the artists clad in lemon-lime fare, rhymin’ about lymon.

HEAVY D - 1990 KID’N PLAY – 1991

With Kris Kross, they turned it up a notch and had us crunk inside the Sprite can. Edgy. Also, this was catchy as hell.

KRIS KROSS - 1993

Then in 1994, a young brand manager from Clark Atlanta University named Darryl Cobbin had an idea for a new direction: Gen X was about authenticity and independence of thought, not following the hype. Sprite ditched the pop-friendly crossover acts and identified more “authentic” rap artists – lyricists with street and cultural cred – to rep the brand. “Lymon” was also out of the window, as they moved away from marketing taste and towards marketing attitude. (Cobbin later spearheaded the iconic, yet grammatically questionable, Boost Mobile “Where You At?” campaign.)

Gone were the bright yellow and green sets, because while the new slogan said, “Image is nothing,” it was all about image. Bright and shiny was traded for dark and gritty. Now we were in the studio; a fly on the wall for freestyle sessions. In the first spot of the series with Grand Puba and Large Professor, Puba closes with “First thing’s first, obey your thirst.” It’s legend even within Coca-Cola that Puba ad-libbed the phrase that then became the brand’s tagline that remains to this day.

GRAND PUBA & LARGE PROFESSOR - 1994 PETE ROCK & CL SMOOTH – 1994 A TRIBE CALLED QUEST – 1994

The “Obey Your Thirst” spots also took us the street corner, the club, and inside the ring when Sprite resurrected the legendary KRS One vs. MC Shan battle.

KRS ONE & MC SHAN - 1996 NAS & AZ – 1997 THE LOST BOYS – 1997

By the late ‘90s Sprite had spent roughly $70M on the “Obey Your Thirst” campaign, tripled sales, and commanded a majority market share of the citrus category (which also included 7Up, Sierra Mist, and Mountain Dew).

Sprite had also succeeded in becoming an official and established part of the culture. They were family. The brand further expanded into urban youth culture through a partnership with the NBA, while continuing to evolve the creative of the rap campaigns.

KOBE BRYANT, TIM DUNCAN & MISSY ELLIOTT – 1998

Near the end of the decade, Sprite explored the overlap between hip-hop culture, comics and martial arts with a series of posse spots based on Voltron (representing all hip-hop regions) and the 5 Deadly Venoms (with all female emcees).

VOLTRON SERIES - 1998 5 DEADLY VENOMS SERIES – 1999

Over the years, Sprite has continued to be one of the most consistent brands in hip-hop. We’ve grown accustomed to spotting the logo everywhere from music festivals and shows to the background of BET’s hip-hop cyphers. They revitalized the “Obey Your Thirst” campaign with Drake in 2010 and paid homage to the greatest lyricists in rap with the “Obey Your Verse” campaign featuring iconic rappers and cans with classic lyrics in 2015.

SPRITE "Obey Your Verse - Cooler" (starring Rakim) from SHOUT IT OUT LOUD MUSIC on Vimeo.

St. Ides’ run with hip-hop doesn’t have the same happy ending as Sprite’s. The brand’s usage of rap petered out in the mid-90s after wide backlash and a series of lawsuits.

For St. Ides, hip-hop was the brand campaign. It’s how they built their business. The brand was introduced in 1987 and their rap campaigns launched in 1988. The malt liquor 40 oz., with significantly higher alcohol content than beer at around a $2 price point, was already a staple in lower-income neighborhoods and hip-hop culture. The “Crooked I” capitalized on that.

Parent company McKenzie River secured Ice Cube as their anchor spokesperson and tapped West Coast producer DJ Pooh to spearhead advertising creative. Pooh lined up a veritable who’s who of additional West Coast rappers over the years, including Geto Boys, Cypress Hill, Warren G, Snoop and Tupac; plus the thorough-est from the East, including Eric B and Rakim, Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie and EPMD.

EPMD & ICE CUBE - 1991 GETO BOYS & ICE CUBE – 1992 ERIC B & RAKIM - 1992

Unlike Sprite’s campaigns which were first jingles and still felt like commercials, even when elevated to trading hot bars for Obey Your Thirst. St. Ides spots, however, looked and felt like straight up music videos with album-worthy production and flow.

ICE CUBE – 1993 MC EIHT – 1994 NOTORIOUS B.I.G. – 1995

Complex even named Wu-Tang’s St. Ides spot “Shaolin Brew” as one of the collective’s 100 best songs! (But at least it’s ranked near the bottom; #97.)

WU-TANG CLAN - 1995

In fact, in 1994, the brand did turn the hottest of the joints into an album, with the St. Ides promotional mixtape dropping at your neighborhood liquor store. It featured full-length songs about getting twisted off the malt liquor from Ice Cube, Wu-Tang Clan, Scarface, MC Eiht, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and Nate Dogg.

The Snoop and Nate track is low key a jam, still. Homegirl in the background starting at the 10-second mark is a whole mood.

This blatant marketing of malt liquor directly to black and brown youth wasn’t going to go unchecked indefinitely. It was all irresponsible, even while being genius for the demo. In 1991, the Wall Street Journal listed the St. Ides ad campaign among one of the worst of the year, which probably didn’t matter at the time since WSJ readers weren’t St. Ides’ base.

In 1991, Public Enemy released Apocalypse ’91: The Empire Strikes Back. The album featured “100 Bottle Bags,” a direct criticism against malt liquor companies marketing specifically to urban communities “…but they don’t sell that sh*t in the white neighborhoods.” Shortly after the release, St. Ides found itself in Chuck D’s crosshairs, and he fired the first in a series of big shots against the brand, marking the beginning of the end of their love affair with hip-hop. An 80-second radio spot featuring Cube used a sample of Chuck’s voice without his permission. The ad had already aired over 500 times on rap radio shows when Chuck sued St. Ides parent company McKenzie River for five million dollars (they settled out of court).

Then, St. Ides and McKenzie River fell under legal scrutiny from the New York State Attorney General in 1992 for using verbiage like Cube’s lyric “Get your girl in the mood quicker, make your jimmy thicker…St. Ides.” to suggest the malt liquor increased sexual prowess. Can you imagine the think pieces if that spot ran today?

They were later in hot water with the New York AG’s office again, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco (the ATF) for advertising perceived to the be targeted towards minors, with complaints that it glamorized gang affiliation and promoted sex. After having production completely shut down for a short while and getting hit with heavy fines, St. Ides tried to clean up its act, adding “drink responsibly” messaging into the spots.

By ’96 the run was over. Hip-hop was growing up, getting money and moving towards more sophisticated alcoholic beverage choices. Alizé and Hennessy, anyone?

The relationship between hip-hop and alcohol never ended, of course, but has continued to evolve to match the evolution of the lifestyle. We don’t go to the corner store no more, homie (save a brief return in the early aughts of Four Loko). We’re toasting to the good life with premium brands, some of which are now owned by the artists.

We can look back now with the wizened, woke eyes of maturity and possibly scrutinize our artists selling out at the expense of the community, but for the young and burgeoning hip-hop culture, both the St. Ides campaigns and the Sprite campaigns opened the door for the power and commodification of hip-hop and consumer brands. For better or for worse.

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J.Cole, Teyana Taylor And Other Snubs Of The 2019 Grammy Nominations

It's that time of year again when inner circles and strangers on the Internet debate who's up for a gramophone.

On Friday (Dec. 7), the nominees for 2019's Grammy Awards (Feb. 10) were announced to a span of hot takes, early but informed predictions, and a wall of confusion as to why certain artists were overlooked. While some entertainers excitedly received the good news (Cardi B discovered her nods while leaving a courthouse), others were left scratching their heads.

Here's a look at why those who were snubbed by the Recording Academy deserved to be nominated.

READ MORE: Drake, Kendrick Lamar, And Cardi B Lead 2019 Grammys Nominations

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