N.E.R.D.’s rapper-producer-jewelry designer-self named “kidult” Pharrell Williams is quickly adding more hyphens to his title than a certain Oscar-hosting renaissance man, and now he’s got another: alcohol gustorialist.
Tomorrow he debuts “Qream with a Q,” a vodka-based liqueur made in partnership with premium alcohol company Diageo, that comes in two flavors: strawberry and peach. Williams was involved in the process from perfecting the consistency (“Most crème liqueurs are really thick and chalky. The consistency alone makes you feel like you’ve gained another ten pounds”), the alcohol content (same as wine), and the perfume-reminiscent bottle (which he sketched himself). He came by the ELLE offices to give us a taste—yes, in the middle of the day; we regret nothing—and we asked him about his booze muse, his multi-tasking career, and his thoughts on Kanye’s rumored new fashion label.
ELLE: Why a liqueur for women?
Pharrell Williams: I thought the market was lacking in drinks for women that make them comfortable about indulging. Every time you look at the television, it’s all Spanx and Bally Fitness. When I think of the women I’m aiming for, I think of Sarah Jessica Parker…a confident women that’s in the know, from the shoes to the news.
ELLE: What should women listen to when they drink this?
PW: Aretha Franklin’s “Natural Woman,” Stereolab’s “Flower Called Nowhere,” the Isley Brothers’ version of “Summer Breeze.” Anything dreamy.
ELLE: So you perform, produce, design furniture, and collaborate on sculpture art. You’re like the Gwyneth Paltrow of hip hop. Or the James Franco. Which would you prefer?
PW: Well, I think Gwyneth is hot, but I also think James is talented. So either one is a compliment.
ELLE: Speaking of multi-hyphenates, Kanye West is reported to be starting a fashion label. Thoughts?
PW: It’s going to be good. I mean, he has some good taste so I expect nothing less than something great from him.
ELLE: There’s a lot of hubris that often comes with putting your name on a product. Some hip hop stars would’ve come out with something strong in phallic-looking bottle.
PW: You’re so right about that. There’s definitely something subliminal about those magnum-size phallic bottles. It’s meant to connect to a man’s ego immediately. It’s like, ‘Oh, I think this is more for me—the bigger the better!’ I’ll let everybody else have that market and I’ll go after what I know—and I know women.