Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 1:06 AM
Nicki Minaj Battles Hip-Hop's Heavy Hitters For...
“I’ve never been afraid to walk into the boy’s club,” Nicki Minaj tells me. “Ever. Ever, ever, ever.”
Minaj is between meetings in New York City, talking about a new venture that puts her in a head-to-head competition with hip-hop’s biggest stars, Jay-Z and Diddy among them. She’s entered the wine business with Myx Fusions Moscato and a line of sweet and fruity Moscato wine in single-serving blue bottles.
“If I’m sippin’ in the club, Myx Moscato,” she raps on Ciara’s “I’m Out,” and her “High School” video with mentor Lil Wayne and her “Up in Flames” video feature bottles of Myx.
Spokesperson? Not quite. She’s a co-owner. Aiming to tap into the rapidly expanding Moscato market, estimated to be growing at 25% annually, Minaj partnered with Mona Scott-Young, Myx Fusions Moscato CMO, and Peter Reaske, Myx Fusions Moscato CEO.
In doing so, she’s going where men have gone before. Jay-Z, Diddy, and Ludacris have deals with wine, beer, and champagne brands. Jay-Z turned up his nose at Cristal champagne and partnered with Champagne Cattier and Sovereign Brands to preach the virtues of Armand de Brignac, popularly known as Ace of Spades. Diddy touts the virtues of Cîroc vodka for a fee and refers to himself as “Cîroc Obama.” Ludacris co-owns Conjure Cognacs.
“I’ve gotten offers to do partnerships with heavy liquor before,” Minaj says. She chose Moscato because “I wanted it to be something I really enjoyed the taste of, before I put my name on it.”
Researching this story, I couldn’t come up with another female rapper who had done this sort of deal before with a booze company.
Minaj plans to “dominate the market” by handling her brand like a man. So far, the Nicki Minaj empire has included a season on “American Idol” spent feuding with Mariah Carey, gigs endorsing Pepsi and Adidas, product lines with MAC Makeup and OPI nail polish, a forthcoming clothing collection she’s described as “Harajuku Barbie” that will be sold at K-Mart, best-selling albums, acting roles, and a series of concert tours. According to Forbes, she earned $15.5 million in 2012.
“I kind of think of myself almost like a man,” Minaj explains. “I’m not going to fall back from something because it’s never been done before by a woman. It’s time for a female Jay, a female Puffy.”
Myx Fusions Moscato CMO Mona Scott-Young, a veteran of the hip-hop business who’s worked with some of hip-hop’s biggest names — 50 Cent, Missy Elliott, LL Cool J, and Busta Rhymes, to name a few — and is executive producer of VH1′s “Love & Hip Hop,” sees this as a natural progression.
“We saw this as a no-brainer, next phase of the evolution: the women’s phase,” Scott-Young says. “Nicki is a trendsetter. She doesn’t do what everyone else is doing. She likes the idea of being a game changer.”
Watch out Wine Spectator.
“Wine is a very stuffy business to begin with,” Scott-Young says. They intend to make it a little more fun. One Myx Fusions Moscatos ad has a trio of Nickis and a nod to a ménage à trois: “The Perfect Minaj.”
So, how does it taste? A publicist sent me two four-packs: one original flavor and one peach flavor. I didn’t expect to like it, but I did. It’s kind of like a wine cooler, it’s a little fizzy, and it’s sweet.
I’d buy it.