Troy Ave Talks Wine, His “Merlot” Flow

Troy Ave has never been to a traditional vineyard or wine tasting. But as he showed in the video for “Merlot,” the Bricks in My Backpack MC has had more than enough experience sipping to qualify as an unofficial connoisseur. XXL reached out to Troy for comment on our May issue’s 360 story on hip-hop’s recent obsession with vino, but the BK rhymer’s passion for fermented alcoholic beverage was so strong, our convo spilled over the magazine’s word count. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, XXLmag.com presents the full version of: Troy Ave, Wine Connoisseur.

On his drink of choice:

I be on the Clicquot and I mix it with the Amaretto. I don’t even know (where I learned that), but I been doin’ it for a minute.

On his first time sipping:

I actually got put on to wine at first when I was fuckin’ with this older chick. She was like 28 or whatever, and she used to drink a lot of wine. Looking back on it, she was prolly an alcoholic ‘cus she used to do like a bottle a day. So a lot of times she’d have me drinking wine and I was like, this shit kinda smooth or whatever. You get the same buzz, but you not mad drunk. And of course, it’s way cheaper. You just kickin’ it, get a little bottle. It’s just more convenient; It’s some cool out shit. It’s like smoking a bong hit as opposed to smokin’ a joint. It’s like some cool shit like, “I’m just sippin’ wine.” If you pop some champagne with a chick, you look like you trying to show off. If you like, let’s get this bottle of wine, she gon’ be like, “Oh, this nigga got class.” (Laughs)

On rappers obsession with Moscato:

What’s the new shit? Moscato— they just want Moscato. They don’t even know no type of brand, it’s just Moscato. You can get a $10 bottle of Moscato and it’s like, “Ohh, it’s goin’ down!”

On Merlot:

Merlot, I actually started drinking the brand Kendall Jackson Merlot from Butch Lewis, rest in peace. He was a great boxing promoter, humanitarian and all that. Butch put me on to drinking Kendall Jackson Merlot and it’s just some smooth shit. I’m just listenin’ to the beat like, Nobody trippin’, we just sittin’ sippin’ Merlot. It ain’t no beef when you sippin’ wine, you chillin’. You might be with some young ladies, and nobody’s trippin’. And that’s how I took it… Chill with your profits, the spoils of your labor. And then everything I’m sayin’ in the lyrics is mad in-depth like, I always order the veil— Just little fly shit. You can’t be talking about sippin’ Merlot and then be like, I’ma crack a nigga when I see him on sight. (Laughs)

On Chardonnay:

Chardonnay is for the [ladies], man.

On his Merlot flow:

I got this flow called the Merlot flow. When I’m in the studio sometimes, I might drink Patron and lemonade. I call that creative juice, that’s my creative juice flow. I rarely drink champagne in the studio, cus that shit just fucks up my stomach and my head. But the Merlot flow, you just get laid back. You just got a cup of Merlot and you just spinnin’ it. You at the mic, pause, and you just getting it in. You just feel like a Billy Dee Williams commercial (Laughs). Like, nigga I’m sippin’ wine, what’s good?

On the hip-hop community’s overall embrace of Wine:

I think hip-hop, what it does is powerful. There’s not another type of genre of music that brings multiple cultures together like that. What hip-hop does, it brings shit together… Just like with everything. I see people in the hood sippin’ Moscato that don’t even know how to spell it. Nigga, I don’t even know how to spell Moscato. I could guess it, prolly guess it right… I think it’s a dope thing. It’s gon’ bring a lot of shit together. Nigga is wearing Timbs. Timbs is for lumberjacks. So the shit is just dope. Dope branding, and hopefully the wine companies pick up on it just like the liquor companies did and the clothing companies did.

On the wine community’s embrace of hip-hop:

I think if they’re a hater at heart, then they would feel a way. But you can’t feel a way about something that’s out for purchase. It’s out for purchase, it’s not just for purchase in a specific region or place. It’s not like we flying to Italy and taking the wine that’s only for Italy. You can’t really feel a way.  It’s for your enjoyment and it’s all about your tastes. It’s like somebody in the hood feeling a way about somebody drinking St. Ides or something. People drink St. Ides in Idaho. Believe that. —Calvin Stovall (@CalvinStovall)