Beware The St. Ide's Of March: Five Intoxicating Ads For A Toxic Malt Liquor
Ah, the Ides of March.
It’s been something to keep an eye out for, from way back on the day when Caesar got fatally cut, all the way up to the neverending reign of The Caesar haircut.
In this case, we keep one eye open and "crooked like the "I" on a toxic malt-liquor".
Speaking of which, in today’s edition of The Five Spot, we take a look back at five of the headiest hip-hop commercials for said beverage.
Yes, in retrospect, this particularly potent poison and its marketing strategy could be fairly deemed problematic, on a multitude of levels.
While other hip-hop legends of the era preferred you obey your thirst.
But there was a dizzying array of talent, during an early-to-mid-90's Rap Golden Era, who lined up at the Pabst-brewed, golden-hued troth, to shill for this nasty swill.
Bomb comes here today on The Wudder’s very first Ides of March, not to blindly celebrate, nor excoriate, the artists who did so during that time frame.
Hindsight is 20/20, especially when we’re talking about the actions of rap cats in their early twenties, for the first time getting money.
Many have gone on to do bigger and better things.
A few tragically are no longer with us in physical form.
But it’s always good to look back once in a while, in order to look forward.
Here were five St. Ide’s ads that we used to look forward to seeing on TV as a teen:
Snoop & Nate Dogg 1994
RIP Nate Dogg, your silky croon is still missed. And this was Snoop back when he was still Doggy Dogg, reprising that then-sorta-cool-now-kinda-corny-dog-to-Dogg-morphing-CGI-lite technique from the “What’s My Name?” video, to give this jingle a gin and juice vibe, while pimping St. Ide’s from the Westside.
Notorious B.I.G. 1995
Of perhaps all the gone-too-soon-what-could-have-been stories in rap, Biggie’s is the one that feels the most incomplete. 20 years after that fateful night of March 9th, 1997, it’s hard to argue which premature departure represented a more seismic shift in the course of hip-hop. Let alone who had a nimbler flow, or more possibilities of future musical directions in which to go.
Christopher Wallace died at 24. Which means he had just become old enough to drink legally, when he dropped this rhyme about malt liquor that has aged like fine wine.
We miss you, BIG. Even two decades later, you remain ahead of your time.
Wu-Tang Clan 1995
In a nine-man crew, how do you delegate who gets 30 seconds of TV time?
Simple. The RZA slices up some heat on the beat, you let M-E-T-H-O-D kick in the wall like the Kool-Aid MAN, then follow with Rae and Ghost, in the midst of their shared Purple Tape prime.
Plus you gotta give Dirty a cameo. He probably wouldn’t have wanted to waste time writing a rhyme for this anyway, but it's a safe bet that if not otherwise occupied, he wouldn’t mind popping up at the ad shoot, to plunder craft services, collect a check, plus mug for the camera.
U-God? You can have a spot on the longer, radio remix version instead.
Ice Cube 1991
Ice Cube is certainly one of the aforementioned acts who has gone on to bigger and better things. But when it comes to St. Ide’s spots, he was the undisputable king. It’s arguable that the whole campaign of respected rap stars dropping St. Ide’s bars would never have existed without him providing the blueprint.
Cube, long before he became a successful producer/director/actor, would go on to make more St. Ide’s spots than anyone. This would eventually include shared spots with EPMD, The Geto Boys and his Lench Mob crew, not to mention the 1993 solo helicopter/sports-car spy piece you see from the head photo of this Five Spot.
But for our money, this jheri-curl/Jackin-for-Beats era of early solo Cube is the well that all of the rest of these spots would go on to drink from, capped off by the iconic, if scientifically questionable, aphrodisiac claim of this cut’s closing couplet.
Cypress Hill 1992
We were torn between selecting this, or Eric B. & Rakim’s rooftop scene spot, as the fifth and final selection. While Rakim has certainly loomed larger in our hip-hop indoctrination and dedication since than B-Real has, we gave this space to Cypress for the following simple tiebreaker reasons:
-Ice Cube used the “How I Could Just Kill A Man” beat for his first iconic ad mentioned above, so this feels like coming full circle.
-Cypress manages to not just dutifully plug the product, but also work in an ode to their preferred, more organically grown vice, as well as deliver a catchy MESSAGE about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Well played on all counts by B-Real, Sen Dog and DJ Muggs.