Appetizers
June 21, 2006
The Rap on Cristal

"You can't even drink Crist-OWL/You gotta drink Crist-ALL," proclaimed hip-hop rapper Jay-Z in his hit "Excuse Me Miss" a few years back. No more. Jay-Z may or may not be rewriting his lyrics, but he's definitely banned the French champagne Cristal from his sports lounges, report various news sources.

MUSIC JAY Z.jpgJay-Z's ire was raised by comments by Frederic Rouzaud as reported in the
British magazine The Economist. Rouzaud is managing director of the French champagne house Louis Roederer, which makes Cristal.

Rouzaud's comments suggest he isn't entirely pleased with the popularity of Cristal in the hip-hop community, where the champagne, which customarily sells for $250 to $300 in wine shops, and much more in restaurants, is seen as one of the more refreshing expressions of bling.

When asked whether the association between Cristal and hip-hop could be detrimental, Rouzaud is reported to have replied: "That's a good question, but what can we do? We can't forbid people from buying it. I'm sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business."

Jay-Z subsequently released a statement calling Rouzaud's remarks "racist" and saying he is replacing Cristal in his group of 40/40 Club lounges with Dom Perignon and Krug.

Now, Rouzaud is sounding conciliatory, saying he didn't mean to suggest that hip-hop's fondness for Cristal is unwelcome. The most comprehensive and up-to-date coverage of the issue was posted earlier today on the Web site winebusiness.com.

In the meantime, how does "Krug" for "Cristal" sound if Jay-Z were to rewrite this line from his song "Can't Knock the Hustle": "My motto, stack rocks like Colorado/Auto off the champagne, Krug's by the bottle." Just doesn't have the same bling, does it?

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