Expensive spirits and rap music have always had a relationship. For years, MCs have rhymed about spirits, partnered with high-end alcohol brands and made money from their sales. However, one unofficial partnership sent the sales of Courvoisier through the roof.
Different drinks become cool with different eras. During the 1990s, 2Pac’s Thug Passion, which he described as “One part Alize and one part Cristal”, was trendy. However, ‘Gin And Juice’ also became fashionable. But these drinks became irrelevant following the dissipation of Death Row and the death of 2Pac.
In hip-hop, Cristal has always been famous, and so has Hennesey. However, in the early-2000s, Courvoisier also began to gain attention. That said, one song in particular certified the cognac brand. Unsurprisingly, this song is Busta Rhymes’ iconic 2002 single ‘Pass The Courvoisier pt II’ featuring Pharrell and Diddy.
Produced by Pharrell Williams, the song was the sequel to the far less successful track, ‘Pass The Courvoisier’, which featured on Busta’s 2001 album Genesis. The original version was far more aggressive, less catchy and didn’t have the mainstream appeal that the second version ended up having.
With his ingenuity, Pharrell reimagined the track and, with his signature guitar sonic, created a catchy melody that could make people dance and evoke a reaction in the club. This revised version featured on the soundtracks of the movies Love Don’t Cost a Thing and Taxi the following year.
Courvoisier did not pay for the song to be made nor the feature of the brand’s bottle in the music video. Following the success of the song, which became a club anthem, in 2003, sales of Courvoisier saw an increase of 20%. The brand’s vice president of marketing at the time released a statement, reading, “As a marketer, you’re thrilled. You can’t buy this. Well, you could, but it’s more credible when you don’t have to.”
Following this, the cognac brand sponsored some of Busta Rhymes’ lavish after-parties and events to show their gratitude. Around this time, Smith’s Brooklyn counterpart, Jay-Z, was working on developing his own brand of Champagne as well. You can see the video ‘Pass The Courvoisier pt II’ featuring Pharrell and Diddy below.