I first got to know Post Malone through his 2016 breakout hit White Iverson. It dominated the radio airwaves, club playlists and Instagram captions that year (Saucin' on you!). I didnt much question what he looked like until he appeared on the style blogs in one of his first paparazzo snaps sporting a hot pink Yves Saint Laurent jacket. Thats Post Malone? I remember asking myself, his gold teeth and tongue staring back at me.
Since then, of course, Post Malones look has gone even more Post Malone, most notably the addition of numerous face tattoos. Most famously, he has Always inked under one eye and Tired under the other. About an inch below his hairline, across the length of his forehead, is a line of barbed wire. Fact: dudes look is radically different. Refreshingly, he is an icon that looks iconic. And thats before you hear the voice that cuts through a party like Bianca Jagger riding a white horse into Studio 54. These days, I cant get enough of that raspy je ne sais quoi.
The idea of Post Malone, and his boundless outlook on life that has contributed so much to his meteoric rise, takes some getting to know, but eventually we all become converts and find that it would be fun to share a beer with him or perhaps a wild night on the town. With the likes of Justin Bieber, Migos, and Kanye West in his orbit, his most recent album, Hollywoods Bleeding, showed a discernible progression. His sound had grown in depth and dynamic force. The video-game playing, Croc-sporting early twentysomething who delighted masses of university students with his keg standing skills and party anthems does still exist to some degree, but there are now multitudes of Post.
The past two years in particular have given way to a sort of bon vivant, a man now at a tipping point into his late-twenties. With that has come a healthy assortment of double-breasted suits (hes a big fan of Tom Fords tailoring) and grail-worthy timepieces, but also a string of career decisions that aim to cement Post Malone as more than a singer/songwriter. In addition to his role as a brand ambassador for Bud Light, for example, he designed his own shoe for the holiday season with Crocs, a brand he singlehandedly revived and made cool with the millennial and gen-Z set. He also recently relaunched Shaboink, a lifestyle brand originally offering hemp cigarettes and now shilling pandemic-approved clean kits filled with facemasks, gloves, hand sanitiser and vitamin C candy. Most recently, he became part owner of Team Envy, the Dallas, Texas-based parent company to two of the highest grossing video game teams, valued at $170 million. See, not just a pretty face after all.
Post Malone, James Morrissey and Dre London
But no venture has garnered more attention and divided more of his millions of fans than his new ros, Maison No9, and thats why GQ Hype got together for an exclusive conversation with Malone and his partners, manager Dre London and entrepreneur James Morrissey. Together, they form a sort of Three Wise Men of modern winemaking the whole of which, it turns out, is greater than the sum of the parts. As Malone's longtime manager, London heads up the artists career on and off the stage and has been dubbed The Post Whisperer", while Morrissey oversees distribution and logistics under his own portfolio of premium spirits brands, Global Brand Equities. Malone is, of course, the face, but all three are responsible for honing what has become a proven disruptor in the stale world of wine.
But this new venture, from one of the worlds favourite genre-bending stars, was born over what could only be described as a drink-fuelled dinner. I think it was right around Grammy time in LA and we met at the restaurant called Nice Guy to catch up, Post tells me. James had just got back from a winery in the South Of France and we were talking and I knew right away I wanted to get involved with this. The following week the three of us were on the French Riviera together.
This was an idea that came out while we were tipsy on wine and talking like a Wolf Of Wall Street bull, Dre London interjects. But Ill be real, I remembered that moment and I reminded everyone the next day! A year in Provence ensued, with the three gentleman taking frequent research trips to the winery during breaks in the artists Runaway tour schedule. Any time we had a day between shows in Europe, we made sure to get over there and check in on everything, says Post. Dre and James had to book a plane for us last minute from Paris right after my last show there and the team had to rearrange a lot of plans and shit to make this happen, but I felt a responsibility to be heavily involved in the creation.
Post started having this acquired taste for expensive wine after he and Mark Wahlberg hung out too much
But why ros? To some, it may have been just as fitting for us all to be imbibing Post Malone ale or a more robust spirit meant for the bombastic nights out he so often highlights in his music. For that, we can thank another fellow celebrity. He always drank wine, but not as much as beer, London tells me. But he started having this acquired taste for expensive wine after he and Mark Wahlberg hung out too much! Indeed, between his abdominal maintenance and cryotherapy sessions, Wahlberg is a self-proclaimed wine hoarder, with a cellar in his sprawling Los Angeles home that has amassed hundreds of bottles, mostly old-world reds.
Like anything the Post Malone empire touches, though, his wine had to be different. You look at the ros category for the last ten years, it's been seeing double digit growth some years, 50 to 60 per cent increases on previous years, Morrissey, ever the astute businessman, explains. But all the brands are very similar. They're very traditional. They're very French, which is great, but nothing is really speaking to that more contemporary consumer. Who's not doing the pink photo and the ocean? Instead, the Maison No9 bottle presents a taller, more lithe frame, with a glass cork and logo inspired not by the ocean or the rolling hills of Provenal vineyards from which the wine hails, but by face tattoos. Specifically, the sword inked on the stars right temple, a nod to his favourite tarot card, The Nine Of Swords, representing fear and anxiety.
The Maison No9 bottle presents a lithe frame inspired by the sword inked on Posts right temple
It was a sentiment felt by this motley crew when they began to dip their toes into the often-archaic world of winemaking. Their frequent visits to Provence offered up some unexpected perks, such as uninterrupted sleep I think Ill remember that first night of sleep on the vineyard for the rest of my life, Malone says but their presence was also met with adversity.
It was like we werent supposed to be there, bro, London says through laughs. That was a turning point for me that made me understand, like, OK, we're in places that were not supposed to be, as I can see the noses turn up as I walked by. Imagine you have tattooed-face Post Malone, me, his manager, whos a black guy, and James the Irish redhead walking by. People were like, Where did these guys come from? So I think people thinking that this wasnt possible was probably the largest hurdle for me.
In the end, this attempt at alienation and lack of acceptance became motivation for the group to further rethink the traditional model for winemaking. Oh weve totally done shit different since day one, Malone says. When we started we actually said disrupting the traditional way of doing things was our first priority. Weve all been aligned on that from the start. This began with a limited preorder drop date, modelled after brands such as Supreme, which saw 50,000 bottles of Maison No9 sold in the companys first two days of business. Since then, even as much of the initial hype has settled, it appears to have already transcended its aura of celebrity ownership.
The wine could appease the palate of a wine savant and their cheese board or, more likely, delight a novice
Fans who may have voiced their prerelease doubts about this project seem to have turned too. In a video that has amassed more than 550,000 views, one TikTok wine and spirits reviewer named @Yung_Laur tells viewers, Im obsessed. This is my new favourite ros. Light, fruit forward, dry, clean, zippy? Its a little zippy! After tasting it myself, the blend of 45 per cent grenache noir, 25 per cent cinsault, 15 per cent syrah and 15 per cent merlot really is an all-appealing ros thanks to its smooth mouthfeel and bright, fruity flavour profiles. It could appease the palate of a wine savant and their tepid cheese board or, more likely, delight a novice who prefers their glass with a side of pizza and spicy chicken wings, as Malone and his friends are known to indulge in.
Bottles of it have also landed in the hands of pals, such as Jennifer Lopez, Kylie Jenner and Diplo, but a secret stash of sorts is being broken into as we speak. When I spoke to Malone and his team last month, the trio were making grand plans for post-lockdown festivities that, as youre reading this story, are coming to life. We were meant to go to Greece for vacation this summer and because of Covid and everything we had to cancel it, but we have these big, big magnum bottles sitting on the boat right now, London says. So were just waiting to get out there and relax and wind down with some Maison No9 on a yacht in the middle of the Greek ocean.
Its a scene that feels plucked from a rap music video, a moment of pure, unabashed enjoyment that has become a distinctive calling card for Post Malone, who, despite what you may see at first glance, is just a good guy looking for a good time, who, like most of us, gets fancier with age. "I wouldnt say [this project] represents a different persona, its just a nice switch up, he tells us. "I feel like you drink ros when you want to put on your three-piece Tommy Ford suit and get a little fancy and I like to get a little fancy every now and then.
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