James Lindsay Creates a Culture of Wealth and Confidence with Rap Snacks
Over the past 20 years, if you have visited your local corner store, gas station, or even Kroger and Walmart, chances are you have seen a very colorful bag of potato chips that feature familiar faces. Rap Snacks is more than just a bold-flavored chip. It represents one man’s journey to feed a desire that he’s had since a child while creating something that he can be proud of while contributing something to his culture and an underrepresented industry. Being a snack food connoisseur since a young age and continuing to enjoy a snack into adulthood, James Lindsay realized as the years progressed, although there was a larger variety of flavors, the brands were still the same and nothing represented the little boy inside of him.
James, a Philadelphia native, is a graduate of Cheyney University who holds a bachelor of science degree in marketing. After college, he had the opportunity to perfect his marketing skills while he served as a manager in the consumer products industry for Johnson Products and pharmaceutical company Warner-Lambert. Using his knowledge, he eventually purchased a small line called Mr. G Snack Foods around 2001. Then in 2007, Lindsay launched Soulful Foods, Inc. The first product launched under the Soulful Foods brand was a collaboration with the Queen of Soul Food, Sylvia Woods. This partnership produced Sylvia’s, a kettle-cooked potato chip fried in sunflower seed oil.
In 2010, Lindsay began focusing on the marketing side of the music industry while co-managing platinum-selling recording artist Meek Mill. Through this, James helped Meek connect his brand with corporate America and eventually secured deals with companies such as Puma, Monster Energy Drink and Ciroc. During this time, rap was a prominent business in the Black culture and he felt that it was time to combine his love of music and snacks.
Like many business owners, he has experienced his share of challenges throughout his journey especially as it related to being able to find adequate manufacturing and distribution for his brand. Eventually working out the kinks, he began to see the success of the brand. When you look at the bag, you will always be amazed by the art and the entertainers on the bag. During his process, he and his team have created many flavor profiles over the years and he pairs them with the personality of the celebrity that has been chosen. Such pairings include Honey Jalapeno that features The Notorious B.I.G, Cheddar Barbeque that features Cardi B. and more.
His vision increased to not only include chips, but the brand has also begun diversifying and now includes pork rinds, noodles, mac and cheese, vegan food, and Boss Up, the non-profit and app that teaches kids and adults how to invest in the stock market. With over 25 years in the industry, James and his vision have helped to change the narrative in an industry where Black people were represented at less than 1%. Rap Snacks has managed to teach artists the importance of creating equity in your brand by engaging in business opportunities. They have carved out a niche in the community while continuing to pour excellence back into the community. Rap Snacks has become influential in teaching people how to create financial independence and provides tools on becoming the producer instead of just the consumer.
James aims to continue inspiring Black entrepreneurs and with this simple advice hopes to create more wealth in our community, “Find what you love and pursue it and be a researcher, understand what you’re getting yourself into,” he shares.