I am always catching big-name rappers like Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, and Nelly singing about their cars, their drinks, and even their own clothing lines. So is it actually product placement, self-promotion, or just singing about what they like??? Well, according to a really informative 2003 MTV News article that I came across, the answer is all of the above.
When I think about products being rapped about in popular songs, the first item that comes to mind is Nelly and his Air Force Ones. The title of the song is AIR FORCES ONES for crying out loud!! How much more product placement can this song ask for as it is blaring through the speakers of cars and clubs all over the country? The rapping paid off for the shoes and Nelly himself, as the show company and the rapper both banked in on this song, signing a deal to produce a Nike-branded NellyVille Air Force 1 Shoe.
On the other hand, rappers have become so powerful and so wealthy that they can promote their OWN products in their OWN songs! Imagine that! Mogul Jay-Z did just that with his clothing brand, Rocawear, in his song, All I Need. The entire song raps to how all we need is the "R-O-C baby!" Rocawear sales are, of course, booming, and I am sure All I Need preached to Jay-Z listeners the need to buy his clothing line. That Jay-Z is a smart guy I must say.
So, while many rappers may be paid to rap about a product with hopes for personal profit or an endorsement deal, or a company cashes in by using an entertainer to mention its product in a song, it sometimes just comes down to the rapper actually liking or using the product. In the MTV News article I posted above, rap producer, Damon Dash states, "We rap about things we like. I'll mention Cheetos because I like them, but if I didn't they wouldn't be in our songs." I am sure rappers are proud they own that $100,000 Lexus or enjoy drinking the Cristal at the clubs, so why not brag about it in their songs??? I don't know if I would be that materialistic, but, I am not a rapper who is bringing in the dough.