Editorial: How Cristal Hustled Hip Hop

Everybody in Hiphop Hates Chris, but so what?!
How Cristal hustled Hiphop
By: Hadji Williams aka Black Canseco-June 22 2006

Hadji Williams author of Don't Knock the Hustle

Hadji Williams author of Don’t Knock the Hustle

After spitting its virtues for ten summers, Jay-Z and his hiphop minions are now boycotting Cristal, a hiphop staple after Frederic Rouzaud, the brands managing director made what many are calling elitist and racist comments against the hiphop community’s economic support of Cristal in a recent interview in The Economist magazine. (www.targetmarketnews.com)

What can we do? We cant forbid people from buying it. Im sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business. Rouzaud said of hiphops pallets.

Well, as a 15 year marketing vet, I’ve got a scoop for Marcy’s all-time great: Your boycotts too late, fam. In case you havent noticed, it works like this, folks: Hiphop, like the Blues, like most everything from the black community before gets mined for its cool cache. And this time, y’all been strip-mined and pimped as corporate cheerleaders. And basically for free, no less.

Rouzaud never cut any brother a check for any of those mic checks. The nouveau rich and the not-so riche been chasing Cris and those uppity brands because Jig, Puff and every other bruh with some BDS and MTV said the bottle was hot. And it workedCristal is the 8th most popular brand in 2005 behind Mercedes, Nike, Bentley and Rolls Royce. Meanwhile most of the Hampton’s, Hollywood and Wall Street are, as Mr. Rouzaud, put it curiously serene.

Fact is Rouzaud is shooting his mouth off now, because he knows Cristal doesn’t need hiphops praises anymore. The Jigs up and they’ve moved on. The whole black kid made good angle is played and upscale consumers aren’t feeling us anymore. You can only play dress-up for so long before the clock strikes. Theres a reason someone like David Beckham now carries more marketing muscle than any handful of ethnic celebs you can name. (Read KNOCK THE HUSTLE I warned y’all this was coming.)

Secondly, its called luxury for a reason, folks. Luxury always excludes. Luxury excludes by class, by price, and yes, by race. And I don’t care how much money you got, IT stops being luxury once enough negroes cop it. Sorry, but its true.

But young heads are still sleeping: In the eyes of most marketers Hiphop (and black folks at large) are just disposable media outlets. It’s all about reach, frequency and brand equity. Hov don’t have the reach n frequency he used to; in fact, hiphop doesnt. (Hate if you want, you know I’m right.)

Therefore most luxury brands are starting the slow steady exodus back to more exclusionary brand strategies paler faces in their ads, more upscale and selective partnerships and cross-promotional opportunities. They want their swagger back.

See, I know this game. While my cats hustled on the streets, I got my grind on the suite stoo many brands to mention. Never Cristal, but I did help a certain, +A vodka get mad bullish few summers back. (Yep, that was me. See KNOCK THE HUSTLE.)

Anyway, once I got hooked up with some Euros who owned a hard cider brand called K. You know why they called me?

We know that in order to really push this in the states we need to get it in the black community. That’s what these Irish cats told us, point-blank. They’d never been to the US but they knew that much. They asked me for a list of hiphop stars, hot urban clubs, etc. Their plan was simple: Get slick brothers and sisters hyping it up knowing full-well everybody else would be on it in a couple of years, if not sooner.

Unfortunately cats weren’t really feeling the hard cider so it never popped. But that’s how that part of the game works. We sit in rooms and politic and scheme. Sometimes checks get cut and next thing you know your favorite rap superhero is dipped in [INSERT BRAND HERE]. Rouzaud and his kind are no different. No matter what they say.

Now, I’m not saying that’s how/why Jay got with Cris. I’m sure Hov was a Cris fan back when he was just hyping Jaz; just as Run was lacing up Adidas before their contract, and LL rocked Kangols while he was slicing up Kool Moe

Anyway, Mr. Rouzauds sentiments are an orchestrated shout out to his base that he’s putting the velvet ropes back around the Cristal. But he’s not alone. While his my-clothes-arent-for-black-folks/Oprah-interview was a hoax, Tommy Hil’s announcement that the Hilfiger brand is moving out the urban arena and back to its upscale mainstream roots is quite legit. (Google the press releases for more info.)

You cant slam a door on folks that are walking out on you. Most of the companies that have gotten cool and rich off of hiphop cosigning are cashing out and moving on. Some are looking to Hispanic consumers. Many are going for NASCAR Dads and Soccer Mom sets. Others are chasing upscale Anglo roots. Some are trying to revive the X-treme thing, etc. But make no mistake: The bachelor party’s over and hiphop just got run thru by half the cats in the house. And now, they’re going home. So who cares if you don’t want to put out anymore?

My advice to the hiphop community is this: Keep these companies names out of your mouth and don’t ride for any INC until you know exactly who you’re dealing with. Do your due diligence. Most of these folks have no regard for you, your community, your culture, or your art. Youre just a means to an end; and when push comes to shove, theyre mean and focused about getting their ends.

And to every crime nigga that rhyme: they’ll touch your mic every time, cuz their minds are quicker. Much quicker.

A 15-year vet of the marketing industry, Hadji Williams is author of KNOCK THE HUSTLE: How to save your job and your life from Corporate America. Email him: author@knockthehustle.com

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Ines Sainz- How many of us cared about her being Sexual Harassed vs How Good she looked?

The flap around sports reporter Ines Sainz and her ‘beef’ with the NY Jets has brought to light a number of troubling issues within sports that we’ve been discussing for the past 30 years including; sexism in a league that has no shortage of disturbing incidents, accessibility and professionalism. We’ve seen this movie before. The story line goes, attractive reporter in a male dominated sport is ‘doing her job’, when high-priced players and in this case the Jets head coach Rex Ryan and defensive back coach Dennis Thurman decided to behave in a way that we would not tolerate off the sports field in other work environments.

In this incident, Ryan and Thurman reportedly threw balls in Sainz direction during a Saturday afternoon practice causing players to run near her while she waited for an interview with quarterback Mark Sanchez. She said the ball throwing wasn’t really the issue and didn’t take it too seriously. She said she didn’t really take the cats calls she got in the locker room seriously. Sainz claims it was the reaction she got from other reporters that eventually caused her to communicate to the world via twitter that she was ‘feeling uncomfortable’.

The fall out was predictable. NY Jets owner Woody Johnson apologized and promised to look into the matter and hold the feet of those responsible to the fire. The NFL is investigating. Women sport writers and reporters of every type have been brought to the fore front, interviewed and asked how things have changed over the years. Most of their reactions have been cautionary like Teri Thompson who pretty much said; ‘Yes things have improved, but we still have a long ways to go’, seems to be the mantra

Ines Sainz defends her salacious outfits

Next we have the age-old discussion about attire. One one hand we have some saying a reporter like Ines Sainz sends the wrong message with her provocative style of dress. Saturday she wore tight jeans and a halter top. On Monday night she wore a mini dress with a revealing neckline and stilettos. Sainz has coyly defended her head turning outfits. She claims its how she dresses and while she hears the cat calls ‘noise’ she ignores them and goes about doing her job.

Many have supported her laying claim that it doesn’t matter what she wears. In no way shape or form, should any woman be harassed. Some have even pointed out that her attire of dress is cultural and that in many places throughout Mexico and Latin America where Sainz is from, her outfits wouldn’t cause such a stir. Obviously they have here in the US.

On the other hand, many aren’t buying it. One long time sports fan named Cynthia —– dedicated a Dave Chappelle video to Ines Sainz stating that while she agrees women shouldn’t be harassed for what they wear, one needs to take into account their motivation.. She asserted ‘Some females PRETEND not to like the attention.


Hadji Williams author of 'Don't Knock the Hustle' feels Sainz was unprofessional in her attire.

As of late last night this debate on attire was raging on the airwaves, in blogs and on twitter. Long time activist and author Hadji Williams (Can’t Knock the Hustle )who goes by the twitter handle Black Canseco was knee-deep in this conversation as he wound up relating his long tenure in corporate America where he claimed Sainz attire of jeans and halter top would’ve been deemed unprofessional.

“I’ve worked 15 yrs in corporate gigs. I’ve seen women rip each other apart over attire. Inez would get torn down at places I’ve been at”  he noted.

When challenged about why should women have to dress a certain way in order to not get harassed,  Williams asserted that he was not defending the players. He felt those responsible should indeed be held accountable.

He added; “One wrong doesn’t negate another wrong. What the players did were wrong and should be dealt with. Inez Sainz outfit was still unprofessional.”

Sadly Ines Sainz and discussions on her outfits take away from the more serious issues of sexism and harassment within NFL with players like Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger who had his suspension for reckless and harassing behavior reduced from six to four games and now former player turned reporter Shannon Sharpe who is accused of domestic violence, rape and issuing death threats against Michele Bundy the mother of his kids. Sharpe has decided to take a leave of absence from his post at CBS until the issues at hand are resolved.

The issues around attire can easily be dealt with. The NFL can simply implement a dress code. Any reporter on the field or in the locker room needs to have on appropriate business attire. Since many of the harassment problems seem to occur in the locker rooms, how about the NFL simply keep that space for the players and conduct all interviews on the field after the game? Why not make it a condition that all players must stick around for 15-30 minutes after the game to talk with reporters who seem to feel its important to get the raw emotions of players after a win or loss?.

Will any of this stop all the cat calls? Not totally, but maybe it will lessen the types of remarks and attitude we heard espoused by  players like Washington Redskin running back Clinton Portis who yesterday suggested that women reporters in the locker room have ’53 packages’ to look at and may want one.

Former NFL tight end & CBS reporter Shannon Sharpe

In the meantime, not just the NFL but society in general needs to find more efficient ways to work on the problem of sexism, violence against women and other related issues. Sure we can punish Rex Ryan and whatever Jets player made cat calls, but shouldn’t we be concerned about the hundreds of thousands of folks who woke up the other day and made Ines Sainz top ten in searches as folks sought to get a glimpse of her outfits. Not a whole lot of folks were interested in stopping sexism in the NFL when they went googling her name. If you don’t believe me check out how many folks are looking up Shannon Sharpe this morning. Check around and see how many discussions are being had about a man who is accused of raping and issuing death threats against a woman. That’s what we should be concerned about.

As reporters what role do we have in all this? Are we beholden to a corporate agenda that would say go out and cover the game as if nothing happened because too much money and important relationships are on the line, hence one can’t afford to be rocking too many boats? Or do reporters who feel that a strong message needs to be sent step up and take some bold steps like doing some serious investigative reporting or not giving an offending team and its players any coverage at all..

Big Ben Roethlisberger

How pervasive is domestic violence in the NFL? How many owners are covering up behavior that we saw with players like Big Ben Roethlisberger? If this is really about changing a damaging sexist culture then maybe reporters will have to go beyond the quotes in a locker room and deliver the type of hard-edged journalism that unearthed the rape cover ups in the military where it was discovered that almost 1/3 of the women enlisted were violated and that oftentimes its covered up or ignored.  Wouldn’t it be great if Ines Sainz was one of those reporters peeling back those painful layers and kicking up dust around this issue? Imagine her interviewing Big Ben as opposed to Mark Sanchez?

Where it stands now Ines Sainz is the hot topic who will likely parlay this incident into bigger and better things. People will point to the fact that the Jets apologized and how coach Rex Ryan won’t cross that line of harassment again, but sadly none of that won’t prick the surface of what’s really at hand. It’ll require all of us who are concerned to push the NFL to come down harder on those who cross the line. It’ll require us to push sports reporters to come down harder and make things uncomfortable for the players the way Sainz said she was made to feel uncomfortable. It will require all of us to start moving young people in a different direction so they won’t some off like Clinton Portis. It will also require all of us to draw lines in the sand.

written by Davey D

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

“Can’t” Knock The Hustle! – (Ignorant Blogs VS Jasiri X)

The real steroid abusing snitch Jose Canseco got embarrassed by being knocked out in the first round. Black Canseco knocked himself out with this lame attempt at journalism: http://www.hustleknockin.com/hustleknockin/2009/10/dear-debra-lee-open-letter-to-bet-song.html

What is going on nowadays with black blog spots who claim to be for a positive change in our community, but given an opportunity to support an artist who is the epitome of everything that they claim to promote, they choose to try to disrespect the effort while ignoring the obvious fact that Jasiri X is bringing positive change to the coon inspired, drug dealing, buffoonery that is being broad-casted as entertainment by today’s music industry.

First http://www.Bossip.com embarrassed themselves by totally missing the point Jasiri X’s song and video “Dear Debra” almost started a revolution on their website by posting Jasiri X’s video with the caption: Random Ridiculousness: “Dear Debra Lee” Video http://bossip.com/173449/random-ridiculousness-dear-debra-lee-video

Their arrogance and lack of research backfired with a fierce backlash from readers who pounded the site with support for Jasiri X – https://hiphopandpolitics.wordpress.com/2009/11/02/random-ridiculousness-bossip-urban-gossip-site-tries-to-clown-jasiri-x-video-get-backlash-from-their-readers/

That same day hustleknockin.com knocks Jasiri X for daring to Knock BET’s Hustle:

The only downside of this joint is that it comes from Jasiri X, an artist that almost no one outside the eastcoast underground’s ever heard of and probably never will“. Black Canseco

Really? I guess that we should immediately go back in time and delete history:

Jasiri X and President Barack Obama

Jasiri X and Russel Simmons

Jasiri X and Public Enemy #1 Chuck D

Had Mr. “Black Canseco” troubled himself to “Google” “Jasiri X” he would have found more than enough information for him to at least not play himself by exposing his lack of journalistic credibility.

This single post would have been enough to save his reputation as a credible blogger, instead it now makes his lame attempt to de-fame Jasiri X null and void and if he has a shred of integrity should send him into some serious soul searching:

Hip-hop Pioneers and taste-makers comments about Jasiri X’s new song/video Dear Debra


Professional journalists and writers do research before they write ridiculous, opinion based, void of fact articles. That’s what gives them “credibility”, but I guess since hustleknockin.com is just a self published “blog” and not a respected source of legitimate news, “you get what you get“.

What bugs me out about these lapses of journalistic judgment, is that these are the same people who rant and rave against the very same music industry and artists that Jasiri X’s lyrics are attempting to balance out, but somehow they don’t value artists who are not enslaved/ bought and sold by the same system that they claim to fight against.

If you want Debra Lee or anyone part of the hiphop music media establishment to hear this, you’ve gotta be either part of the establishment“.

The success of this song/video has nothing to do with someone from BET hearing it, BET is a corporation owned and operated by Viacom. One song no matter how great will not change them. However it is part of a on going movement of music by a larger group of artists who offer consumers an alternative to the offerings of the artists that you named.

“This would be a much more powerful message if it came from Rawse, The Roots, or Lil Wayne or Gucci Mane“.

Would the book “Knock the Hustle” be a more powerful message if it was written by Jeff Chang, Kevin Powell or Davey D?

As if the only way people should respect good music and new artists should be if they have the “stamp of approval” from the very same people who sponsor the “death-style” that has been rammed down our throats as Hip-hop for decades.

Sorry Mr. Canseco, I come from a time before A&R’s and labels dictated what Hip-hop was, if that is the only downside that you see in Jasiri X, I can live with that because that leaves plenty of upside!

Please hate on our new video “Beware Young Girl


It explores the disturbing trend of horrific violence and injustice towards women. You wont see your industry boys make one like this either:

More people who according to Black Canseco will probably never hear of Jasiri X:

And More:

Jasiri X and The Legendary Carlos Santana

Jasiri X and The father of Hip-hop Africa Bambataa

Paradise Gray
One Hood