What began as a joke five years ago has grown into promising wine careers for music producer Will “Tell” Davis and rapper Sadat X, co-founder of the influential group Brand Nubian and a successful solo artist. The Brooklyn duo became a sensation in 2009 after Davis started posting Web videos of Sadat’s laugh-out-loud funny—and often expletive-laced—wine reviews in what’s now called True Wine Connoisseurs. Nearly 70 (and counting) episodes later, the series has landed Davis a consultant job at Winebow importers while he pursues his sommelier certification, and he and Sadat are making their own wine.
How did the show start?
Will “Tell” Davis: One night, instead of the usual bottle of Hennessy, I took a bottle of cheap GatoNegro to the studio just because I thought it would be hysterical to hear Sadat make up a commercial about this wine. It was so funny that I had to film it and share it online.
Sadat X: After that, Will started bringing a different—and better—wine to each session. To entertain ourselves in the studio, we would film a new review and post it. The fifth episode got something like 20,000 hits in a week. That’s when we knew we were onto something.
Why do you think it caught on so fast?
WTD: It’s hilarious. But what really makes the show is Sadat talking about wine in a way that’s real, not pretentious. He makes wine relatable to everyone—not just people who are cultured about it.
What did you know about wine when you started?
SX: Not a thing. But once it took off, we started getting invited to tastings and winery tours. I learned the hard way a tasting is just that: A tasting. At my first one, I went around and drank whole glasses of everyone’s wine. Let me tell you, that was a very merry affair. But like everyone who falls in love with it, slowly but surely, I’m learning to appreciate and recognize the different nuances of wine and styles. Love the discovery. It’s remarkable to think how far we’ve come.
WTD: I didn’t know anything. So I took a job with Winebow. Now, I’m a total wine geek and on my quest to become a sommelier.
What made you want to work in wine?
WTD: I love it. And now I’m starting to really get a taste for some weird wines, like orange wine. But I wanted to be more than a drinker. I wanted to learn all I can and ultimately make our own. So now that’s happening. Our next wine will be either a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio—nothing too geeky. But wine No. 3 is going to be a higher-end red. Probably something Italian, big and bold, like a Barolo or Amarone.
You drink it straight from the bottle and often rate it by how fast you get buzzed. What’s been the reaction?
SX: Some people are mad and say we’re disrespecting wine culture. On the flipside, I was recognized on the street the other day by a middle-aged couple who loves the show. So it runs the gamut.