By Mike Pomranz
Updated September 02, 2015
© Denise Truscello / Getty Images

In 2001, a 26-year-old college dropout living in his parents’ house on Long Island launched a brand that would eventually turn him into a multimillionaire. This rags-to-riches tale (not that Long Island is that “rags” but still…) is the origin story of Hpnotiq, the bright blue-hued booze that is a mix of vodka, cognac and a mysterious, proprietary mix of fruit juices.

Since rappers often extol a similar “up by your bootstraps” ethos, it’s probably not a coincidence that hip-hop culture embraced the drink early on. As First We Feast points out, in the first half of the aughts, the alcohol was name-checked by titans of the industry like Diddy and Kanye. But since that time, Hpnotiq has been less Mr. West and more Mr. Combs: still out there, but mostly just chilling in the background.

However, in the words of another hip-hop titan, don’t call it a comeback: Hpnotiq announced yesterday that the brand is undergoing “a full makeover” built around the hashtag #SINCE2001. That’s right: They’ve been here for years.

The new campaign features help from what the brand is calling the Hpnotiq “Class of 2001”: rapper Cam’ron, rapper and artist Yung Jake, DJ Va$htie Kola and artist Naturel, who’s gotten the ball rolling by redesigning the brand's visual identity with “his signature pop-art-influenced style.”

“With a new visual identity and the roster of brand ambassadors we've curated, there's no doubt that Hpnotiq is poised to introduce new consumers to the original flavor and signature color that didn't just define culture, but created its very own,” said Brittany Capito, senior brand manager, Hpnotiq Liqueur, in a press release. “At the same time, those who remember Hpnotiq from the early 2000s will appreciate the tongue-in-cheek sentiment of the campaign.”

Wait a minute. Did I miss something? What’s the “tongue-in-cheek” part? Or is that just the hope that Hpnotiq could make a comeback at all?