For a long time going back to the 80's & 90's, Hiphop was seen as a passing fad. It’s now 2018 and hiphop is the number one genre of music. It’s influence and impact is everywhere, as seen in movies, tv shows, commericals, and advertisements. Rappers are now celebrities that can effect big business. There are lot of rappers producing alcohol (Jay-Z ‘Armadale’, Drake ‘Virginia Black’, Diddy ‘Ciroc’, etc), shoes (Kanye West ‘Yeezy’s’, Kendrick with Reebok), headphones (Dr.Dre ‘Beats’), clothes brands (Jay-Z ‘Rocawear’, Diddy ‘Sean John’. Wu-Tang Clan ‘Wu-Wear’, and the list goes on.
One area that I’m surprised hasn’t been more infiltrated by hiphop is fragrance. Hiphop has long been about how much money you have and bragging about the nice things you can afford. Rappers love describing the newest Ferrari they purchased or the expensive alcohol they are drinking, but I rarely see any rappers dabble in the fragrance business.
There are a few who have made the leap into the fragrance world and I am going to look at the best of the best that is available.
#5 Rihanna ‘Rogue Man’
Rihanna released her first men’s fragrance Rogue Man in 2014. The fragrance is Oriental-Woody. The top notes are bergamot, clementine, black pepper, and rosemary. The heart consists of cedar, jasmine, vanilla orchid and labdanum. The base is sandalwood, patchouli, amber, musk, and tonka bean.
#4 50 Cent ‘Power’
Fifty released Power in 2009 and he himself participated in its design. The composition opens with lemon leaves, black pepper, and artemisia. The heart is dark wood, coriander, and nutmeg. The base is full of patchouli, musk, and oak moss. “For me, power isn’t just something you learn on the street or in the boardroom—it’s a way of life,” explains 50 Cent. “I really wanted to bottle up the rush it gives you so my fans can make it a part of their lifestyle.” The scent evokes both the grittiness of 50 Cent’s origins and the heady rush that accompanied his rise to power.
#3 Empire Fragrance ‘Lyon’s Legacy’
Through a partnership with Twentieth Centuty Fox, Lucious Lyon from Empire has a new cologne released in 2016 evoking the instantly transformative narrative of striking gold, as the Lyon family has done on “Empire.” The fragrance opens with fresh citrus notes of bergamot and lemon water. Its aromatic heart includes clary sage, geranium and lavender buds, blended with a rich and dark base of amber, vanilla suede and tobacco leaf.
#2 Sean John ‘Unforgiveable’
P.Diddy released Unforgiveable for men, under his Sean John banner in 2006. It actually won the FiFi Award Fragrance of the Year Men’s Luxe 2007 (The first by an African-American designer). Top notes are birch leaf, green mandarin, tangerine, juniper, basil, bergamot, grapefruit and Sicilian lemon. Heart notes are iris, lavender, and clary sage. The base notes are tonka bean, amber, sandalwood, rum, and cashmere. Online reviews draw a comparison to Creed’s Millesime Imperial (how close it actually smells to it is hit or miss)
#1 Jay-Z ‘Gold’
Jay-Z’s launched his first fragrance, ‘Gold’ in 2013. It is an Aromatic Fougere fragrance for men. The top notes are ginger, grapefruit, blueberry, and cardamom. The heart of it emphasizes masculine vetiver with pink pepper, lavender, and violet leaf. The base is amber, teak, and vanilla. What stands out is the sweet, warm, vanilla opening. Anyone that likes a scent in the style of Versace Eros or Paco Rabanne 1 Million might enjoy this one.
Verdict: Jay-Z gold takes the top prize for this list because I personally enjoy that warm spicy, vanilla scented base. Sean John's Unforgivable is a very close second though. Having worn both, I found that Unforgivable stayed a little longer on me so it was a tough decision to put the Gold up at #1. That's not to say it might not last on someone else. Remember, everyone wears fragrance differently.