A gallon of Hennessey, no flights on Southwest, no rotary phones and more.
The Smoking Gun has an incredible collection of concert riders — those are the documents that artists send along to concert venues with their demands. Yesterday, I found myself reading every single one of the hip-hop ones — I figured they had the highest probability of ridiculousness and hilarity — and, as I went through, I compiled this list of the highlights.
Here are the 11 most insane demands that rappers have made in their concert riders. Enjoy.
1 | DMX
Longtime readers will know I have an ongoing love affair with DMX’s insanity (as chronicled in my 11 Most Ridiculous DMX Moments list). I love both of these requests. It’s a hell of a rough rider. Ahem.
First off, that’s an absolutely insane amount of Hennessy. No other artist demands any quantity of alcohol even close to that. For the cheaper Hennessy, that’s $300 worth… for the more expensive kind, it could be $800 worth. If I was running a concert venue, I’d pour the four bottles of Hennessy into an empty milk jug. Or into 20 percent of a five-gallon cowboy hat.
And second… three boxes of condoms. THREE. Per concert. I guess he doesn’t want to impregnate another woman who rapes him.
2 | Nelly
I guess Nelly doesn’t want to have to check in 24 hours in advance to make sure he’s in the A1-A50 boarding group.
3 | Puff Daddy
In his rider, he demands:
Before serving, all food and ice must be inspected for hair, package, paper, etc., and all catering staff must wear hair nets.
Either Puffy had a bad experience once upon a time with hair in his food… or this is one of his many delusions of grandeur. (I’m a king who must have all food inspected for imperfections and tasted for poison!)
For some reason, I’m thinking it’s option B. The guy had a full time umbrella holder on staff — he’s probably got a food tester too.
4 | Public Enemy
This is absurdly strange for two reasons.
One, Public Enemy is famously associated with anti-Semitism, highlighted by Professor Griff’s rant about how “Jews are responsible for the majority of wickedness in the world.”
And two, while I get that Islamic dietary restrictions follow basic Kosher rules (as do, I guess, Nation of Islam dietary restrictions)… other parts of PE’s rider completely belie the Kosher demand… starting with their request for one bucket of KFC. (They also demand a party tray with “kosher meat and… American and Swiss cheese.”)
5 | 50 Cent
50’s the only person who demands that the venue commit a crime to make him happy.
6 | Jay Z
This guy really picked a brand identity for himself that he’s sticking to, huh? It would be like Larry the Cable Guy demanding to be picked up in a Trans Am. Or He-Man demanding to be picked up by a giant, talking, green tiger.
7 | Bow Wow
I get that younger generations don’t know how to use the rotary dial… but are they really so prevalent that his team has to specifically demand a “push-button type” phone in Bow Wow’s dressing room? They should also make sure to specify that he needs a computer (no Amiga or Tandy), a car (no horse-and-buggy or steam locomotive) and bathroom (no outhouse with a crescent moon carved on the door).
8 | Queen Latifah
Back before Queen Latifah found some success as a Serious Actress (and zero success as a singer), she was touring as a rapper.
In her rider, she demands a 12 piece bucket of KFC but makes sure to note “Kentucky Fried Chicken is not considered dinner.” I tend to disagree. When you make deep-fried chicken (at 110 to 370 calories and 7 to 21 grams of fat per piece) an appetizer, that becomes a very slippery slope. That’s the zone where you start having Chipotle “just to tide you over” or hiring Lionel Hutz to sue seafood restaurants for running out of food in their all-you-can-eat buffets.
She also demands a 12-pack of “Lifestyle or Rough Rider condoms” backstage. And far be it for me to make some judgmental comment about her promiscuity when, earlier, I found DMX’s to be hilarious. (After all, I am the guy who wrote a 2,700-word list about why people need to stop taking out their latent sexist feelings on the WNBA.)
Plus, according to the only one of Queen Latifah’s songs I know, she’s not a bitch or a ho. And who am I to defy the principles of U-N-I-T-Y. I don’t want her to turn around and punch me dead in the eye.
9 | Gnarls Barkley
Each of the two members of Gnarls Barkley has his own room. They don’t specify which room belongs to which guy.
All we know is that one room is stocked to the brim with stereotypes — a bucket of fried chicken, grape jelly, Hennessy, a pack of Magnum condoms and a pack of Swisher Sweets blunts — and the other room goes much more, um, honkified — with Newcastle and Stella Artois beer, ginger ale, Snapple iced tea, banana muffins, and, for some reason, a pack of men’s white athletic socks.
Although both guys in Gnarls Barkley are black, I’m going to blindly speculate that the condom/blunt/Henny room is Cee-Lo’s, since it also calls for hot water, tea and honey… and he does the vocals for the group.
And, if so… good for him knowing how to relax in style at a show, stereotypes be damned. If I put together a rider I’m not going to be afraid to demand that they provide gefilte fish, a humidifier, and a sweater and gloves that I can put on should it get too cold in there.
10 | Snoop Dogg
This rider is 10 years old, so maybe Snoop’s not quite this video game obsessed anymore in his old age. But back in 1999, he made it very clear: All he cared about backstage were video games.
He doesn’t demand alcohol or condoms or fancy cigars or name brand sodas or anything. Just, repeatedly, a Playstation. The best of the Playstation demands reads:
VERY IMPORTANT: Snoop’s dressing room should have one complete Sony Playstation with miscellaneous 1999 sports video cartridges (Madden 99, NBA Live 99, NCAA College 99, Triple Play 99, and four controls) and an appropriate video screen… please trust that this will be some of the most important money you spend.
Trivia fact: Madden 99 had two different covers, one with John Madden… and one with Garrison Hearst. Now THAT’S star power.
11 | Ja Rule
Not sure why Ja Rule has beef with his bus driver but, in the lodging section of his rider, he specifically calls the guy out:
“When there is a room provided for the bus driver, this room is to be located on a different floor from artist.”
Man I hope that comes back to bite him in a couple of years when his downward career spiral is complete and he’s some other artist’s bus driver.