An excerpt from Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office, by author Zack O'Malley Greenburg has drummed up controversy surrounding Jay-Z's endorsement of Armand de Brignac champagne.
Jigga's support for the brand came about after he accused a company director at Cristal, his previous champagne of choice, of making racist comments and launched a boycott. How and why the multi-platinum artist chose to tap Armand after that is unclear. What is clear is that, since appearing in Jay's "Show Me What You Got" video, Armand champagne sales increased dramatically.
In 2006, Business Week reported on a few odd details about the partnership, including the fact that Cattier, the company that produces Armand, also produced Antique Gold, a low-quality "champagne" with packaging similar to Armand de Brignac's blingalicious look.
Now reports are suggesting Jay-Z is peddling a cheap wine and turning a profit. In his unauthorized biography, Greenburg quotes an anonymous wine expert who criticizes Jay-Z for taking "a piece of s--t wine and turn it into a $300 bottle of wine overnight." Though Cattier has denied that Jay-Z has any stake in its company, in the book, Greenburg claims the artist is paid an exorbitant amount of money for promoting the brand.
Atlantic Monthly, the source that originally published the excerpt, had the article pulled from its website amid the controversy.