Digital Mixtapes: Case Study – A Hustler’s Spirit Mixtape by Ludacris

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A Hustler's SpiritSavvy businesspeople recognize and envision the revenue that mixtapes can generate when marketed wisely. Ludacris, an astute businessman (and my favorite MC), released his A Hustler’s Spirit mixtape in January 2010.

So what’s so special about this particular mixtape?

A Hustler’s Spirit is sponsored by Conjure Cognac–a joint venture between Ludacris and Norwegian cognac house Birkedal Hartmann.

In a sense, A Hustler’s Spirit is a CD-length advertisement for Conjure Cognac, with Luda’s signature Southern hip hop taking center stage. Aside from a few Conjure commercial interludes and more than a few lyrical plugs, A Hustler’s Spirit is really just a collection of rap music that showcases Ludacris doing what he does best.

For those who immediately jump to label Ludacris a sell-out, you are completely missing the point.

Peep Luda’s hustle: He secured a deal for his very own cognac brand with an internationally-respected cognac company and even selected and blended the ingredients himself (under the direction of master blender Philippe B. Tiffon). Then Ludacris made a brilliant (and logical) move by using his musical talents to endorse his cognac product with a free mixtape.

Uh, hello?!

Imagine the number of people downloading and listening to this mixtape (for free!) that might buy Conjure the next time they’re in the mood for some cognac.

At this point its not even a choice for me anymore—I’m definitely getting Conjure the next time I buy a bottle of Cognac. The mixtape is dope, I’m already a huge Ludacris fan, and the research I’ve done on Conjure indicates to me that it is a superior quality cognac.

Simply put, A Hustler’s Spirit is an excellent example of branding done right. The mixtape simultaneously promotes Conjure and builds anticipation for Luda’s next retail album, Battle of the Sexes. This is a win-win scenario for Ludacris, his business partners in this venture, Ludacris fans, and customers of Conjure cognac.

Everyone gets what they want here: the fans get free music, cognac buyers get a great product endorsed by a trusted brand (Ludacris himself), and Ludacris gets buzz for his next project plus revenues from Conjure sales.

Click here to listen to A Hustler’s Spirit.

Dexter Bryant Jr [d.BRYJ] is the go-to songwriter/producer of dance rock and electro crunk music for modern-day hippies. Dexter works as a digital branding consultant and digital content producer for indie bands and media 2.0 entrepreneurs. He is the Digital Marketing Director of Dynasty Music Entertainment and d.BRYJ Music Media Group. Dexter blogs about music and business @

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