“Yo two years ago, A friend of mine / Told me Alizé and Cristal blows your mind…” 2Pac rapped on “Got My Mind Made Up.” It follows that there’s really only one way to celebrate Tupac Shakur’s birthday, and that’s with a round of Thug’s Passion with your folks on a hot summer day. For the uninitiated, Pac christened this mixed drink on the song “Thug’s Passion” on his album, All Eyes On Me. On the intro to the song, Pac declares, “Alright, new drink. One part Alizé, one part Cristal–Thug’s Passion baby, Yall know what time it is. This drink is guaranteed to get the pussy wet and the dick hard.” Whether that rings true or not, it is indeed a refreshing beverage.
Alizé strikes many of us as a signature drink of the 90s, but it may not have ever gotten any traction had it not been for 2pac. One brand director descibes the beverage’s success as such:
“The cognac-based fruit-flavor liqueur idea really originated around 1986 with the introduction of Kobrand’s Alizé, which started out selling for about $25 a bottle, and was being targeted directly at 45- to 55-year-old white women. At the time, it seemed to make good sense. It was an easy product to drink, kind of delicious with passion fruit in it, and it had a classy cognac image. But it sat on a shelf for about 8 years and didn’t move. The intended target audience just wasn’t buying in. Then, about 1994, it was decided to liquidate the inventory. The shelf price was dropped to around $16 a bottle. Coincidentally, this was the same time the product began to appear in rap videos. In particular, the internationally-famous rap legend Tupac Shakur, came out with his video hit called ”Thug Passion”, and rapped about Hennessy, Alize and Moet. These three brands are still riding the waves of this notoriety today. Four weeks after this hit came out, Shakur was assassinated, and these three brands just took off.”
Clearly the staying power of Alizé is another facet of Tupac Shakur’s impressive legacy, but the alcohol industry owes much to hip-hop in general. Rappers have originated many an alcoholic beverage, including Oakland natives Souls of Mischief’s Guinness and Jaegermeister concoction “Black on Black Crime.” And after Biggie Smalls and the rest of hip-hop made Cristal famous, who can forget Jay-Z’s 2006 rebuke of the brand following racist remarks from managing director Frederic Rouzaud. In the wake of hip-hop’s divestment in Cristal, Jigga christened Ace of Spaces as the new industry standard for Champagne. Hip-hop’s role in the beverage industry is taken for granted now, but back in the 90s it was Pac who set that precedent with the perfect rapper concoction, something equal part’s expensive champagne and cheap corner store liqueur. Cheers!