Paris Hilton’s hip-hop connection: She can hustle

Paris Hilton during the Cannes Film Festival.
(Todd Williamson / Invision)

On its surface, the arithmetic is baffling. Paris Hilton plus Cash Money Records equals … sweet, sweet music?

The jury is still out on whether the former “Simple Life” star’s record deal and current EDM-accented musical direction will yield a bonanza of Top 40 hits à la label mates Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj. But for Paris completists, Hilton’s alignment with hip-hop’s imprint du jour appears to be a textbook move.

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As far back as 2006, the professional party girl was claiming fealty to hip-hop’s “from the streets to the penthouse” ethos and contextualizing her achievements as an entrepreneur (with a lucrative perfume line, endorsement of champagne in a can and signature nightclub chain) like some kind of blond bombshell version of Jay-Z.

“I’ve worked my ass off. I have done things no heiress has,” Hilton told your humble Pop & Hiss correspondent that year. “I’ve done it all on my own like a hustler.”

After all, she enlisted hardcore New York MCs Jadakiss and Fat Joe to guest on her ’06 club banger “Fighting Over Me.” And Oscar-winning Three 6 Mafia member Juicy J lent his services as a writer-producer to Hilton’s debut album “Paris” on Warner Bros. Records.

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Lest anyone fail to grasp her connection to urban music, the socialite laid out her identification with rap stars’ empire-building drive and self-created mythologies. Never mind the fact that Hilton is set to inherit a reported $30-million fortune and that her empire was built before she breathed a single note into a microphone.

“I love hip-hop. I grew up listening to Dr. Dre,” Hilton said. “With the hip-hop world, they came from nothing, from the streets. I respect their turning into these huge stars with huge mansions all on their own.”

Given her recent remarks to the media that unlike “Paris,” the music on her sophomore album will be “electropop music,” the question must be asked: Why sign with Cash Money instead of a more dance-oriented label like, say, Boyznoize or Astralwerks?

In a word: freedom. “I want to let her do what she wants to do,” Cash Money co-founder Bryan “Birdman” Williams told Pop & Hiss. “We’re going to support it.”


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Twitter: @__chrislee