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Rap Snacks

Spotlight: Rap Snacks CEO James Lindsay On Building A New Marketplace For Hip-Hop

The man behind the infamous hip-hop chips speak out. 

"I knew that I created a brand years ago that I could rebrand and make synonymous with what's going on in today's world."
There's been a lot of talk these days about hip-hop going pop. But what about going popcorn? Or potato chips, or cheese puffs for that matter? Rap Snacks CEO and majority owner James Lindsay is bringing some of the genre's biggest stars to convenience stores around the country by putting their likenesses on bags of chips, each featuring their own specifically-designed flavors with an exercise in next-level branding that'll have music fans licking their lips.

READ: Snoop Dogg Teams Up With Jack In The Box To Satisfy America’s Munchies

Lindsay originally launched the company in 1994 with a brand partnership with Master P, but things slowed down for Rap Snacks around 2011. But after spending years co-managing Meek Mill (a role he still holds), last year Lindsay rebranded and relaunched the business, sorting out previous issues with manufacturing and distribution and rolling out new flavors that included Migos' Sour Cream with a Dab of Ranch, which even got its own jingle from the superstar trio.

Now, in markets around the East Coast and Midwest (with plans to expand westward) there are packs of Fetty Wap's Honey Jalapeño, Boosie Badazz's Louisiana Heat, Fabolous' New York Deli Cheddar and Romeo Miller's Bar-B-Quin with My Honey chips -- the only holdover from the old flavors, which Lindsay claims to be the first-ever honey barbecue chip, created when Miller was known as Lil Romeo. (Miller, Master P's son, is a limited partner in the company.) And, as of Sunday, Lindsay -- who designs the flavors himself -- has added four more varieties to the Rap Snacks roster: Lil Yachty's Hot Cheese Fries and Hot Chili Pepper & Lime Crunchy Curls, Trina's Honey Jalapeño cheese puffs and Migos' new White Cheddar with a Dab of Ranch Popcorn. The company even has Rap Snacks-branded vending machines that will be going out to the market soon, playing music videos by their various endorsers.

READ: Lil B Whips Up Vegan Delights On His ‘Food Makes Me Happy’ Cooking Show

Lindsay says it's the years spent working with Meek Mill where he saw changes in the music industry that signaled the time was right to bring Rap Snacks back. "I just noticed that with the internet these kids were really into items that were approved by the artists and I knew that I created a brand years ago that I could rebrand and make synonymous with what's going on in today's world," he says. "Social media has played a big part in the resurgence of Rap Snacks, because people knew about it but everybody didn't know about it."

As far as the business goes, Lindsay says each flavor is a partnership with the artist. "I told these guys, 'You make what I make,'" he says. "The new version of Rap Snacks is something just to teach these guys the power of their brand. Years ago they needed a lot of these big companies to pay them to do X, Y and Z, now they're becoming the brand where they can sell through all their social media followers and they don't really need those big companies anymore. They can make a lot of money just promoting their own brand."

And, maybe in this case, their own chips too.

Spotlight

When you're coming up make sure you focus on something that you really love to do. Do your research, be innovative and outwork everybody.

My big break came two years ago, when we relaunched Rap Snacks, because social media had caught up with the Rap Snacks brand. The Migos' Rap Snacks jingle was the breaking point.

Dealing with musicians is very different because you have to learn how to think like they think. A lot of times they are in a more creative space when it comes to business. You have to learn how to meet them in the middle in order to build relationships and get the job done.

When I strategize I try to focus on the present and the future of how I am looking to move my business forward. A part of strategizing is out-of-the-box thinking. It's called the surprise effect... People don't see you coming.

I've learned to move in silence. I've learned to also be patient and be very strategic about how you move.

The best advice I've received is to do you... Be you, believe in your talents and bet on yourself instead of other people.

Spotlight is a new Billboard.biz series that aims to highlight those in the music business making innovative or creative moves, or who are succeeding in behind-the-scenes or under-the-radar roles. For submissions for the series, please contact [email protected]

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Eva Marcille Tears Up As She Recalls Kevin McCall’s Alleged Abuse

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“It took me a lot of time to even be able to get up the courage to talk about it because it’s embarrassing,” she said. “Coming from where I come from and being as astute and courageous as I am, you always feel like, ‘it can never be me.’”

Marcille explained that she and McCall were not “really in love” before she became pregnant with their daughter, Marley. “It wasn’t a relationship that lasted long enough for me to really even know him,” she noted. Even so, it wasn’t long before their romance took a violent turn.

“[The abuse] didn’t start for me until I was pregnant with Marley. And then about a month after having Marley, it didn’t stop; it got worse,” she tearfully recalled. “And it got worse with her. The final straw was when Marley was actually in my arms once. And I was like, ‘I can’t do this no more.”

Marcille has since married someone else (she married Michael Sterling in Oct. 2018), but she suggested that her history with McCall is both triggering and relevant to this day.

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Watch the clips from Eva Marcille’s latest interview below.

 

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#PressPlay: #EvaMarcille gets emotional detailing her abuse and speaks on her ex #KevinMcCall’s recent domestic violence arrest (SWIPE) Via @rickeysmileyofficial

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Apr 18, 2019 at 8:18am PDT

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Justin Bieber Blasts Laura Ingraham Over Nipsey Hussle Comments

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He added: "Did you not think about the family who just lost a loved one and now have to see you mock him on national television It’s absurd and you should be fired period."

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Ingraham has not responded to the recent call to action. Check out all of the reactions below.

 

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Laura Ingraham absolutely disgusting what you did on national television. How dare you laugh in the face of a person who has passed on. Doesn’t matter who it is. But disrespecting someone’s who was a pillar in the community and did right by people? Did you not think about the family who just lost a love one and now have to see you mock him on national television It’s absurd and you should be fired period. #repost #spreadawareness

A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on Apr 18, 2019 at 10:22am PDT

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