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Last Updated: Monday, 19 June 2006, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Jay-Z boycotts Cristal champagne
Jay-Z
Jay-Z is one of the biggest hip-hop stars in the world
Rapper Jay-Z is boycotting Cristal champagne after a brand executive hinted he did not like the association between his product and hip-hop.

Frederic Rouzaud, managing director of Cristal producer Louis Roederer, was asked if the link could be detrimental.

"We can't forbid people from buying it. I'm sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business," he told the Economist magazine.

Jay-Z called the comment "racist" and plans to pull Cristal from his bars.

The rapper and record producer, who is president and chief executive of Def Jam Records, said he would now stock his 40/40 Clubs in Manhattan and Atlantic City with Krug and Dom Perignon.

"It has come to my attention that the managing director of Cristal, Frederic Rouzaud, views the 'hip-hop' culture as 'unwelcome attention'," Jay-Z said.

'Unfounded'

"I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands, including the 40/40 Club, nor in my personal life."

However, it was the magazine interviewer who used the phrase "unwelcome attention".

The champagne house called the accusation "unfounded".

"Louis Roederer would not have existed since 1776 without being totally open and tolerant to all forms of culture and art, including the most recent musical and fashion styles which - like hiphop - keep us in touch with modernity," a statement said.

But Jay-Z's spokesman Ron Berkowitz said his client was still offended.

"They're trying to distance themselves from the hip-hop community," Mr Berkowitz said.

"The hip-hop world certainly helped elevate the presence of Cristal. At the end of the day, isn't the goal for any company to sell bottles?" he added.

Cristal champagne - which sells for between $450 (215) and $600 (324) in Jay-Z's bars - has become synonymous with the "bling" lifestyle after being referenced in countless rap songs.

Jay-Z mentions it in his 1996 track, Can't Knock the Hustle - "Auto off the champagne, Cristals by the bottle."




SEE ALSO
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