St.Ides & The Art Of Product Placement (90’s Flashback)

Product placements are nothing new, especially in hip-hop. Heads like myself often like to gripe about how commercial things have gotten, but we often overlook the overt, almost insulting product placements of the 90’s. This week we’ll chat about St.Ides – that’s right, malt liquor. 40’s were a staple in pretty much every hip-hop video of the 90’s, and most of your fave artists were being paid to swig various flavours of the infamous crooked I.

Timberland boot-wearing urban icons smoking blunt warps were nothing more than walking billboards.

It wasn’t a low-budget affair either – St.Ides had rap royalty on the payroll. We’re talking Tupac, Snoop, Dre, Ice Cube, Mc Eiht, Geto Boyz, Nate Dogg (RIP), Warren G and more. I know what you’re thinking, and no, not only west coast rappers were getting paid by crooked I. Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie Smalls and Rakim also got in on the action. At least you can say that St.Ides did their homework.

Looking at it with hindsight, these commercials, although nostalgic are kind of sad. Hip-hop is a business (I realize), but as someone who used to look up to these greats, it’s disheartening to realize the lifestyle you (once) strived to live up to was largely commercially influenced. Timberland boot-wearing urban icons smoking blunt warps were nothing more than walking billboards for brands scheming to reach a demographic they likely understood better than we perceived they did.

Oh well!

That’s business though, and the more things change, the more they stay the same. Check out a playlist of some of the best St.Ides joints – we recommend the Wh-Tang Clan one, the beat is crazy dope!

Riley About Author

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns