Rappers and hip-hop celebrities today are huge cash cows. They hawk everything from pre-paid credit cards to soda, shoes, and snacks. For a long time however marketers didn't believe in the power of the urban pitchman. The first prominent pitchman was MC Hammer, just look at this old pepsi commercial:
Lol @ "Proper".
Here is Hammer hawking chicken:
and who can forget hammer endorsing BK's.
Man those were the days. Hammer was at least endorsing mainstream products that everyone could use without damaging themselves too much. The same couldn't be said for the mid-90's when St. Ides jumped onto the gangster rap train and through artists like Dr. Dre and Biggie into their ads. This just stereotyped the black male in the ghetto mentality even more by promoting malt liquor sales.
Today, the advertising and endorsements are much more high profile and integrated into the characters of the artists themselves. From Puffy's Sean John clothing line and Unfaithful cologne, to the endorsements of premium vodkas by Puffy, Damon Dash, and Jermaine Dupri. It contrasts the earlier commercials as these men all have ownership or distribution stakes in the product. Even Queen Latufah has gone on to be one of the main spokespeople for both Jenny Craig and Revlon cosmetics. Hip-hop has gone a lone way and should be celebrated for showing longevity and the ability to adapt to the changing times