Don't Knock The Hustle
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Out Of Control?

I'm not a businessman, I'm a business, man . . ."
-- Jay-Z

Blogger Tracy Clayton (of Mixed Reviews) wrote at Hip-Hop Blogs that rappers such as 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit and most recently Nelly, are becoming the new athletes as they're now endorsing their own sneaker lines. But while those rappers are selling their soles for sneaker deals, it looks like Missy Elliott -- who herself has a sneaker deal with Adidas -- is going to drive pass them in her new jeep, "beep, beep" vrrrroom.

Chrysler Group is in talks with Missy Elliott to expand the promotion of the automaker's new Jeep Commander -- the SUV that appears in the rapstress' "Lose Control" video -- in an effort to paint a street-smart attitude for the vehicle. The pact would include Missy contributing new music to a 30-second spot that's set to be shown to dealers in September.

Yes, folks, cars will be the next big thing for rhyme-spitters to endorse. As Reebok becomes the home for rappers to hock kicks, Chrysler is setting themselves up to be the goto place to cruise for a SUV.

Turn on the television and you will hear Kool Keith spitting rhymes about an "adrenaline rush" in a car commercial for Chrysler's Dodge Charger. Mos Def's spoken-word rhetoric is featured in an ad for the GMC Envoy Denali, as well. Rhyme-slingers who couldn't nab sneakers deals -- mostly indie-rap stalwarts -- will jump in and snatch up this lucrative market, fo' sho. I wouldn't be surprise to see Little Brother, Common, Cam'ron (and his Dip Set crew) spitting bars for [name your favorite car here] in a TV ad. Will luxury car companies like Bentley, Cadillac and Jaguar follow suit? I know that producers like Prince Paul and DJ Shadow have contributed music for Jaguar commericals, but I haven't seen nor heard a rapper pitch the luxury vehicles (other than in their glossy videos).

Dang, imagine rap sensation Mike Jones in a Cadillac car commerical. Here's the treatment:

"Back Then'" instrumental comes on . . .

Chickenhead: "Whose Cadillac Escolade(sic) is that?"
Corny Nigga: "It's Mike Jones's"
Chickenhead: "Who?"
Corny Nigga: "Mike Jones"

Announcer: Whenever Mike is tippin' on fo-fos, he's cruising in a Cadillac Escalade. Smooth interior, dual-side air bags, supreme handling, road-side suspension and customized signature spinners. Yeeeah, now that's gangsta.

Mike Jones pulls up in the car. Stops. And the window rolls down.

Mike: "Back then, they didn't want me, now I'm hot they're all on me. Buy this car, bitches."

Fade to black

End of commerical.

So, Tracy posed this question: Will hip-hop artist now tone down their lyrics and attempt to go more mainstream and/or pop in light of lucrative endorsements?

No doubt. Ka-ching!

And to fuel Tracy's argument even more -- Jay-Z is set to appear on Topps' 2005-2006 basketball trading cards. Jigga's mug will be featured in the 2005-2006 Topps NBA card series as a Rookie Card, a Relic Card and an Autographed Card. The collection arrives in stores Aug. 24.

Jigga a NBA rookie? Nah, kid. I think he's the new Jordan.

Hip-hop is big business, baby. Hate it or love it.