The Rap game is making significant moves into the cannabis sector as the industry embraces calls for inclusion, diversity and access to the supply chain. Several celebrity rappers are now carving out their stake in the business, but at what expense to the consumer and other minorities seeking to gain entry into a lucrative and growing vertical. The current business model appears to rely on celebrity rappers using their fame and licensing their name to secure brand deals. That is not a cannabis company owned by a person of color. Real inclusion should not come at the exclusion of ordinary entrepreneurs who seek to ply their skills, talent and experience into the cannabis sector. A handful of well financed entrepreneurs and those who secure social equity licenses are afforded an opportunity, but the playing field is is not level.
One Rap star after another is trying to sell their goods to a built in set of adoring fans. Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, The Game, Snoop, Cameron, Coolio, Kurupt, Wiz Khalifa, Method Man, Drake and now Jay Z. Damn! At this rate there won’t be any opportunities left for someone who isn’t rich and famous. I believe the public isn’t buying what their selling. This is pot, weed, marijuana or plain ole fashion reefer. It’s not sneakers, soda, music streams, lingerie or wine & spirits. Product matters in the cannabis game. That’s all that matters. The end user could care less about the Rap impresario’s name on the bag or jar! Celebrity weed. That’s plain corny & whack. Let’s not stifle the cannabis industry with an invasion of celebrity rappers. It’s about Real Product- Real People- Real Talk. We set out to capture the consciousness of the cannabis culture with outstanding product at a fair price. We also crafted a brand message built on delivering a product that reflects meaningful and measurable participation in cannabis for people of color! Not some over hyped Rap curated fad or gimmick. The streets and the hood will see through this at the register.
Much of the cannabis consumer base is made up of minorities and women. College age use of marijuana is at a 30 year high. These demographics are a lot more savvy about their cannabis purchases than the industry gives them credit for. A celebrity rapper dropping a line of pre-rolls is not the same as dropping a hot new song on Billboard. The gatekeepers should also re-examine how their corporate structure, values, image and mission statement aligns with this group. Don’t penalize would be minority entrepreneurs who lack the skills on the mic, but make up for it with real business acumen and formal education. I don’t Rap. But my parents did spend thousands of dollars for me to attend Howard University. Jobs, ownership or equity in cannabis should not be reserved for this Rap clique! The American success story is built on the little guy or gal winning at the end of the day. It provides hope and optimism that anyone with drive, determination, discipline and hustle can succeed too.
I got love and respect for all of the rappers I mentioned. They are my peers and embody my generation. I’ve supported their various music and business interest. However, when it comes to weed I’m drawing the line, and so should the consumer. Competition is healthy, but don’t stack the deck by providing all the financial resources, support and opportunity for the privileged few. Homie Cannabis is poised to win in spite of because we aligned ourselves with the people. In cannabis, the streets decide what’s hot and what’s not. Celebrity Rappers selling reefer- is just plain whack!