Wine and hip-hop tend to make an odd coupling, with much of the coverage of the two centering on inexplicable fads (e.g., Moscato popping off) and money-grubbing artists trying to use their sway to shift cases of rosé. But under the radar, rap legend Sadat X (of Brand Nubian fame) and his producer, Will Tell, have been celebrating a more homegrown love of wine since 2009, when they launched their online show “True Wine Connoisseurs.” As they filmed four seasons of the show, they also recorded new music, leading to the recently released mixtape Planet of the Grapes.
Lettie Teague of the Wall Street Journal caught up with the duo to discuss the cultish success of the Youtube series, as well as the controversy it sparked among stiff wine snobs who couldn’t wrap their heads around a couple of rap dudes swigging Pinot Noir straight from the bottle (they began pouring into glasses as the show progressed) and rating wines—most of which came in at $20 or under—based on their “Fucked Up Factor.”
Granted, True Wine Connoisseur is not the place to go for well-researched varietal breakdowns or rigorous tasting notes. But what Sadat X lacks in expertise he makes up for in unbridled enthusiasm, and it’s fun to see a couple of guys getting into wine—and gradually becoming more informed as they go along—without any forced pretension. Some reviews turn into impromptu ciphers, while others include hilariously chaotic trips to tasting rooms.
With hip-hop so full of schilling from crappy booze, it’s refreshing to see a show like this. If you’ve missed it over the past few years, there’s no better time than now to catch up—that way, you’ll be ready for the True Wine Connoisseur bottles that the vino-swilling duo hopes to release as their next project.
[via Wall Street Journal]