By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

September 12, 2023 | 4 min read

A nostalgic spot starring hip-hop pioneer DJ Premier and current hit-maker Don Toliver celebrates the genre’s evolution and its relationship with Bacardí rum.

Rum brand Bacardí today unveiled a new commercial starring legendary hip-hop producer DJ Premier and modern rapper Don Toliver for the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs).

With this campaign, Bacardí becomes the VMAs’ first-ever spirits partner. It also honors the 50th anniversary of the hip-hop movement, which officially began on August 11, 1973, the date DJ Kool Herc spun the first breakbeat at a party in the Bronx.

The 60-second spot takes viewers on a time-traveling journey from the 1980s to the present day, chronicling hip-hop’s evolution and its rise to popularity. It also illustrates Bacardí’s enduring legacy within hip-hop through its most memorable music mentions, from Run DMC’s 80s classic You Be Illin to Don Toliver’s 2020 smash hit, After Party.

In an effort to resonate with hip-hop devotees young and old, DJ Premier – lauded as one of hip-hop’s most important producers and DJs – created the ad’s song mix, while Don Toliver closes in the present day with a performance of After Party.

Powered by AI

Explore frequently asked questions

The spot, filmed at Miami’s iconic M2 club, was directed by Paramount Brand Studio’s senior vice-president of creative, Dayo Harewood, known for directing award-winning hip-hop music videos like A Milli for Lil Wayne and All I Do Is Win for DJ Khaled.

Each era depicted within the ad includes time-specific details. In the 2000s, segment, fish-eye lenses were used to evoke the essence of the time‘s music videos. The equipment DJ Premier uses throughout is also representative of each time period.

“As a vanguard of the visual identity of music, we’re honored to be the first-ever spirits partner of the MTV VMAs, especially during the 50th anniversary of hip-hop,” said Paramount Brand Studio’s SVP Matt Newcomb and Bacardí Rum’s North American VP Lisa Pfenning.

“As the VMAs have long celebrated both the sound and the style of Hip Hop, Bacardí has long been embedded in hip-hop culture, inspiring some of the most memorable lyrics, movements, and music video moments from artists who have defined a generation. We look forward to working with MTV and Paramount Brand Studio to present this monumental celebration and highlight the multiple points of hip-hop culture.”

The spot, a collaboration between Paramount Brand Studios and 305 Films, will air twice during tonight’s VMA telecast, which begins at 8pm ET. It precedes a star-studded tribute to hip-hop, with performances by LL Cool J, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne.

According to the brand, the commercial is just one facet of Bacardí’s VMA partnership. Other components include Bacardí Vintage, a shoppable retrospective of hip-hop fashion from the 1980s to today, curated by vintage purveyor Metropolis; the Bacardí x MTV bottle, a limited-edition collector’s item designed to honor hip-hop’s 50th anniversary; and the VMAs’ first signature cocktail, the Mojito Mo-Problems, made with Bacardí Superior rum, club soda, lime juice, mint, and passionfruit syrups.

The campaign’s media plan spans online video, digital, social, out-of-home and broadcast.

For more, sign up for The Drum’s daily newsletters here.

Creative Hip-hop Creative Works

More from Creative

View all