Best 1990s Rap Commercials for St. Ides Malt Liquor
In the 1990s, the St. Ides Malt Liquor commercials were the best! Snoop Dogg, Wu-Tang Clan, Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac and Ice Cube would not only hype the "Crooked I" in commercials, but they also created great original music and lyrics to help move the product. Here is our list of the most memorable rap commercials for St. Ides.
The 90s were a glorious time for, what we then called, "Gangsta Rap." Following the lead of artists like N.W.A., the genre took on a whole new sound and image that was much less politically correct than its origins. Say what you will about the constant glorification of drug use, alcoholism, misogyny, homophobia, gun violence and materialism that were unfortunate byproducts of Gangsta Rap's golden age, but there is no denying that it was the best decade of music the rap game has produced in its short history.
Back then, nobody was worried about having a "bad image." In fact, most artists thrived on it. So it wasn't a big deal for rappers to attach their brand to less P.C. products like condoms, blunts or, in this case, St. Ides Malt Liquor. I loved these commercials back in the day because rappers would show up and drop a brand new verse for them and most of them were really good! Without further ado, here are our favorites.
Ice Cube loved St. Ides so much, he even got his much lesser-known boys in Da Lench Mob a gig promoting the brew. This is one is actually like a regular beer commercial (barbecues, pool, backyard activities, etc.) but with a really good soundtrack.
This is definitely among the older spots on this list (1992) but Rakim set the bar pretty high for those that would follow in terms of lyricism. Eric B. was there for moral support and to let you know, by way of his confident power stance, that he also is down with St. Ides. Seriously though, he moves once during the whole commercial. That's badass right there!
Don't let their persona fool you, Cypress Hill got their drink on in addition to getting their smoke on. You gotta give them bonus points for flawlessly and simultaneously promoting three things -- St. Ides, not drinking and driving and the hook of one of their biggest hits. Well done, guys!
Ice Cube did more of these spots than anybody. Here's Cube with Willie D, Bushwick Bill and Scarface from Geto Boys on one of several times the four worked together. Scarface also wrote a separate verse for St. Ides, but we couldn't find a video for it (there are a few of those, actually). The audio is included on the mixtape at the bottom of the list though.
I loved MC Eiht back in the day, even though he opened every track on his 1994 album 'We Come Strapped' by saying "Gee-yah. We in the muthaf---in' house." Seriously, almost every one of the 15 songs. I only saw the 30 second version of this spot back in the day. Thanks to YouTube, we get to see the whole thing here!
I don't think I've ever heard a beer commercial where someone says they've gotta go because their beer is getting warm and that they have to piss. That's what I call truth in advertising!
When 2Pac got out of jail and signed to Death Row Records (I can't believe I didn't see the irony in that statement back then), he and Snoop were thick as thieves. Not only were they '2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted' but they also had their very own flavors of St. Ides Special Brew. Snoop's being blueberry, of course, and 2Pac's was appropriately titled "Thug Passion."
I was surprised to hear Method Man, Raekwon and Ghostface Killa in this commercial and not Old Dirty Bastard. Dirt McGirt was clearly the drunkest of the bunch, which probably explains his silence as well (RIP ODB). You gotta love those "special" effects at the end too. Why did they green screen the background when Ghostface jumps out of that box? They couldn't just have him do that in front of a real liquor store? He does shoot lasers out of his hands at the end though. Oh the 1990s.
He may have moved on to Coors Light these days (as have I, coincidentally) but Ice Cube was clearly a St. Ides man in the 90s. Here he is again, in full-on Soul Glo mode, reminding us that not only will St. Ides put hair on your chest, but it will also "get your girl in the mood quicker" and "get your jimmy bigger." I'm not sure if the FDA will back up those statements, Cube.
I was always more of a West Coast/2Pac enthusiast back then, but I was also a huge fan of Biggie Smalls. There's no denying his lyrical skill and delivery, which he so effortlessly executes in this commercial verse which is better than most rap hits of today. It's also quite funny to hear him boast that St. Ides is "less filling." I'm sure that was a big concern of his.
Remembering this commercial is actually what sparked the idea for this list. I loved this commercial so much that I would get bummed out when it was over. I always wished that this was a full length song because it was so catchy. There is an extended minute-long version that appeared on a 1994 St. Ides mixtape (which you can hear at the bottom in its entirety) but still, I'll choose this 20 second track over anything coming out today... even Snoop's current stuff (Sorry, Snoop).