For decades, references to luxury have been sprinkled into the music, incidentally helping to root the songs in a particular era. Think Sister Sledge singing Gucci and Fiorucci in the 1970s or Drake rapping on Hennesy in 2016. Yet the most notable connection has to be between hip-hop and watches, from 1970s New York onwards. The Sugarhill Gang was among the first artists to start showing their money with diamond encrusted watches. Now the diamonds are bigger and the watches are heavier. We took a look at which brands get the most musical mentions and why most of them are hip-hop.
Hip-hop really pioneered the wealth status mentality. A study on the role the economy plays in hip-hop suggests that, because these artists come from a repressed subculture, when the genre became more commercial, their music became more of a celebration of their new lifestyle. . Luxury goods, and watches in particular, have become the diamond-studded means of signifying a new wealthy status.
We searched through Lyrics from A to Z to find out how many times watch brands have been named in lyrics, Rolex coming out on top with 2,380 mentions. In fact, Rolex was one of the first names singers started to drop, probably because the public tended to associate the brand with wealth and status. Rolex is a favorite among many top musicians including Kanye West, Jay Z, Bono and even Bruce Springsteen. But above all, it’s a favorite of hip-hop artists, some of whom have even named songs after the brand, like Iggy Azalea and Ayo & Tayo.
In a video, Jay Z mentions the Hublot Classic Fusion he wears.
The brand also gets an Honorable Mention in Kanye West and Jay Z’s “Otis”, with Kanye even wearing a Rolex Oyster Perpetual in yellow gold in the video. In the same video Jay Z verifies the name Classic Fusion porthole he is wearing. Compared to Rolex, Hublot presents less talk, confirming that Jay Z is a watch lover and knows his brands well.
Musicians and watch lovers
Like Jay Z, more and more hip-hop artists are opting for less mainstream brands. This is the next step away from just flashing your money; this shows that these musicians are also connoisseurs of watches with refined tastes. Despite only scoring 869 mentions, Patek Philippe is unleashed in the lyrics of more contemporary artists such as Future, Young Thug, and Gucci Mane. There are also songs that bear the brand name like Patek by Soulja Boy.
In January of this year, Future and Drake released Life is Beautiful where Drake raps “Virgil got a Patek on my wrist going crazy” – a clue that designer Virgil Abloh would collaborate with Patek Phillipe to design a watch for Drake. A few days later, Drake posted the watch – an all-green Nautilus 5726 set with emeralds – on his Instagram, making it one of the first times we heard about a watch in a song before it was even released. exit.
In terms of namedropping, Audemars Piguet rivals Rolex, with 808 mentions. Jay Z started the trend in 2002 in “Show You How”. In it, he raps “Audemars Piguet, with the alligator strap”. He used his feat. on Frank Ocean’s Cycling in 2017 to remind everyone that he is a long-time fan of the brand, by rapping “Audemars before all of you alls”. Young musicians appropriate and abandon Rolex for Audemars. The brand is mentioned in songs by Young Thug, Offset and, in a different musical genre, David Guetta.
The new comers
So, for decades, watches have been linked to all musical genres that value wealth, status, and money – hip-hop being where trends are set. Although brands like Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Patek Phillipe are the most frequently mentioned, a new generation of artists is emerging, who know better with whom they are partnering. They tend to choose lesser-known brands to show off their expertise.
The likes of Richard Mille and Breitling are starting to spread to the mainstream, with around 200 mentions each in our AZ Lyrics search. Artists like Offset, Migos and other rappers are all dropping brands, as are pop and RnB artists like Chris Brown and Pharrell Williams, who is a Richard Mille ambassador and happily sings a “Richard Mille flat double skeletal tourbillon” in Can i have it like this.
This could mean a shift towards niche collaborations, such as that of Virgil Abloh and Patek Phillipe for Drake, as well as a new trend of artists aligning with lesser-known but high-luxury brands as watch knowledge, rather than the number of diamonds, becomes the new indicator of wealth.