These days practically every rapper has his own line of headphones. Some become billionaires off of them, but the majority are likely to flounder, the same way the dozens of rapper clothing lines died on the vine.
But a funniest entrepreneurial rapper fad had to be energy drinks. We're reminded of this phenomenon because, earlier this month, the Beastie Boys won a $1.7 million lawsuit against Monster for using their music to promote an event without the group's permission. This may be the final nail in the coffin for the relationship between hip-hop and energy drinks.
The Beastie Boys never had their own energy drink (unless you count Brass Monkey), but just about every other rapper did, about a decade ago. Here's our look back at them.
Energy Drink: Pimp Juice
Among the first rapper to jump on this bandwagon was Nelly, with his Pimp Juice. Named for his eponymous single, the drink stirred controversy among women's and African-American groups, because it used the word “pimp” in the name.
Not helping matters was the horrifying commercial, that used killing a dog and punching a woman in the face to sell the product.
Energy Drink: Liquid Ice
Ice-T was quick to endorse an energy drink as well, claiming his Liquid Ice drink offered “healthy metabolic fuel efficiency.”
Ice's endorsement deal ended quietly, as the company shifted its efforts to the controversial Jimi Hendrix-themed energy drink Liquid Experience.
Rap Artist: Lil Jon
Energy Drink: Crunk
Say this much about Lil Jon: He has energy. His beverage, called Crunk after the genre he popularized, emerged at the height of his post-Chappelle Show pop culture ubiquity.
Unlike many of these others, Crunk's still around! It's now available at Jungle Jim's in the Cincinnati area.
Rapper: Mac Dre
Energy Drinks: Thizz Juice and Fell'n Myself
Even after being murdered in 2004, hyphy icon Mac Dre still managed to release two energy drink after his passing.
Thizz Juice and Fell'n Myself were regional energy drinks weren't well known outside of the Bay Area, where Dre was from.
True story: Also around this time in the region were Hyphy Juice, and even an energy drink named in honor of 2Pac.
Rapper: Kanye West
Energy Drink: Guru Energy
Right around the time South Park pegged him as “a gay fish,” Kanye West decided to enter the energy game with Guru.
I worked at a music store the day Guru went on sale – four scantily clad women in Guru hats and backpacks passed out free cans of the drink. Their talking points: It was “all natural organic” and an “aphrodisiac.” I like to imagine Kanye wrote that ad copy himself.
Rapper: 50 Cent
Energy Drink: SK Street King Energy Shot
Perhaps the king of the hip-hop beverage crossover is 50 Cent.
After making a fortune off of Vitamin Water, 50 entered the energy game relatively late with SK Street King Energy Shots, most memorable for its commercial with him and Joan Rivers.
Rapper: Biz Markie
Energy Drink: Zevia
Not all of these energy drinks were failures. Take Zevia, courtesy of Biz Markie, who used the sugar free soda as part of a special diet, losing 140 pounds.
He's been singing its praises ever since.
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