What happens when the worlds of hip-hop and TV advertising collide

As a closet hip-hop fan, some of my favourite TV adverts feature some badass rappers that I happen to love. Some people say they’re selling out, but I disagree. They’re making brands cooler and getting paid a tidy sum to do so. It’s just good business sense. Below are my top five TV adverts featuring stars of the hip-hop world. So if like me, you’re a fan of the gangsta beats, grab your snapback and take a look.

Eminem for Chrysler – 2011

I’ll be honest: Marshall Mathers is my one true love (and I’m his, he just doesn’t know it yet). So I could be a little biased in my high opinion of this Chrysler advert.

From start to finish, the voice over’s storytelling of the one time greatness of America is captivating and powerful. The visuals of Detroit are impactful and unmanufactured. The transitions are slick. The cinematic quality made me feel like I was watching a film trailer rather than a car advert. And then there’s the best bit: Eminem’s piece to camera. Swoon! All in all, it’s a really polished TV advert that holds your attention the whole way through.

Jay-Z for HP – 2006

You can’t see Jay-Z’s face for the duration of this ad, but you don’t need to. The second you hear his voice, you know it’s him wearing the expensive suit – and you can’t help but want to listen to what he’s got to say. As he talks through how he uses his laptop in different aspects of his life, you watch him control holograms with his hands – both are equally as mesmerising. The dialogue and the visuals are simple but extremely effective. And the fact he’s in a suit implies he’s got his business head on, after all, he is the ‘CEO of Hip-Hop’.

Snoop Dogg for Money Supermarket – 2014

Snoop Dogg’s collection of TV adverts is beginning to rival his music compilation. He’s lent his brand and music to Nike, Pepsi, Adidas, Orange Mobile, and Orbit chewing gum over the years. And he’s been more than happy to poke fun at himself, and indulge in any silly scenario that’s put to him – essentially; he’s an ad maker’s dream.

His latest staring role is in Money Supermarket’s new ad which sees the token, nerdy hip-hop loving Caucasian riding the ‘streets’ in an invisible car. He’s nodding to fellow ‘Gs’ at the lights, partying with twerking groupies, and churning up the dirt with his wheels. He’s basically as cool as Snoop Dogg now he’s found his car insurance through Money Supermarket. It’s a funny advert that has a nice and simple premise. And Snoop’s unanimated voice over and straight face delivery allows him to keep his cool credentials.

Dr Dre for Dr Pepper – 2009

Probably one of my most memorable TV advert jingles goes a little something like this: ‘Doc-tor Pep-per, what’s the worrrst that could hap-pen?’ It’s a great concept for a campaign and you can’t help but sing along.

The following year, Dr Pepper launched their ‘Trust me, I’m a Doctor’ campaign which was equally as genius. It meant they were able to breakaway from their slapstick comedy ads and give themselves some street cred with the endorsement of Dr Dre. It cleverly featured teasers from his long-awaited album which would have definitely got people talking. And the Doctor link is strong and clear. A well-thought concept goes a long way.

P.Diddy Ciroc Premium Vodka – 2008

There’s nothing ingenious about the concept of this advert, but I really like watching it – so I suppose that’s the sign of a good advert? The ad centres around an exclusive-looking party and is all about ‘The art of celebration’. It’s shot in black and white which gives it an arty feel and takes us back to the Sinatra era. Plus, it’s filmed at one of Sinatra’s former California homes and ‘Come Fly with Me’ plays throughout, so it’s pretty clear what the inspiration is here.

What I like most about the advert is how glamorous and luxurious it feels. The shots are elegant and everything looks expensive. It’s certainly aspirational and with P.Diddy leading the ad, he brings that certain ‘swag’.