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.
Describing his newest venture last thursday Thursday night, rap icon Pharrell Williams evoked another icon: 18th century French Queen Marie Antoinette. Antoinette was “a woman who had basically the world at her fingertips,” he said. Until, of course, the guillotine fell, Speakeasy noted. “But she had a hell of a lot of macaroons!” he said.
For Williams, Marie and her macaroons embody the exclusive and indulgent message he hopes to communicate with Qream, his new vodka-infused specialty liqueur. Hosting a party to celebrate the launch of the liqueur, Williams chatted with Speakeasy as celebrity guests, such as “Entourage” creator Doug Ellin, “Growing Pains” star Alan Thicke and Serena Williams strolled around a modern Spanish Colonial home set in the Hollywood Hills and a panoramic view of the city lights of Los Angeles.
To distinguish their new concoction, Williams and his partner, global distilled spirits titan Diageo, made Qream specifically with women in mind. With its designer perfume-inspired bottle design, Qream feels like a spirit that would be at home in a Louis Vuitton boutique, and that’s the whole point.
It also boasts fewer calories per serving than red wine and has a “thinner consistency than any other cream liqueur” on the market, says Williams.
Virginia has always been known as the state to breed some of the best producers on the map. And probably two of the world's biggest superproducers—both Timbaland and The Neptunes—are of course Virginia natives. "B.M.F." hitmaker Lex Luger also traces back to V.A. being born and raised in Suffolk, Virginia.
But before Timothy Mosley and Pharrell Williams became the most sought after producers on the globe, they formed a group called Surrounded By Idiots dating back to their time in high school.
According to Tim's A&R Larry Live, S.B.I.'s 1990 recordings are said to be the first time they ever stepped foot into a recording studio. At the time, Timbaland went by the moniker DJ Timmy Tim and Pharrell called himelf Magnum. Three unreleased songs from S.B.I. have surfaced and we can say it is definitely a rare piece of musical history. Hear what was running through the creative minds of V.A.'s finest 20-something years back.
Skull Caps & Strip Shrits by Livehouseent
Skull Caps & Strip Shrits by Livehouseent
"If ur freaky Baby"(sbi's) Produced By: Dj Timmy T. by Livehouseent