LL Cool J wants y’all to know that despite earlier reports, he never landed a lip balm endorsement because “they didn’t like my black lips.”
After 13 studio albums and more than 30 years in the game, LL is considered one of the greatest rappers of all time. At the height of his career, the Queens-native was considered a sex symbol fond of going shirtless and constantly licking his lips.
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You would think that lip balm companies would have offered him endorsements, especially back in the day due to his growing fame. But LL tells The Blast he was ever approached because brands such as Chapstick “didn’t like my black lips back then.”
Back in 2007, it was reported that LL was negotiating with Chapstick for a deal.
“It’s an obvious fit. LL has been licking his lips for 20 years,” his then manager Chris Lighty told Brand Week. “They’ll get to speak to people who normally would not pick up Chapstick.”
But Chapstick is one of several corporations who passed over LL as he was on the come-up in the rap game. Still, LL was offered other endorsements, one of which he cleverly managed to reference another Black-owned brand while shilling for a mainstream one.
Complex writes: “In 1999, LL was tapped to freestyle about the Gap for a series of ads featuring singers and dancers. Unbeknownst to the retailer, LL turned this into one of the wittiest [raps] ever. Not only did he cleverly undermine the Gap, he also turned the commercial into a promotion for the black-owned FUBU clothing brand.”
The rapper decided to go a little off-script while shooting the TV spot, referencing the brand by rapping what its acronym stands for, “For Us, By Us.”
Heavy reported that the folks over at Gap didn’t realize the nod to urban-clothing label til months later. The move was a game changer for FUBU CEO Daymond John.
“FUBU was clever enough to put a hat on LL in a Gap commercial,” Esco Clothing founder Willie Esco Montanez said, according to Complex. “Changed everything.”
Watch LL’s GAP ad below:
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