Dave East always toasted to the good life — even as a budding rapper. The Harlem native remembers pooling funds together with his friends to buy bottles of Belaire Rosé while in a makeshift recording studio in New York City.
“We used to scrounge all our bread together — it would be like five of us — we’d be good,” recalls East. “This would be when we would be recording in my crib. In [apartment] 6E.”
At the time, it was his way of living vicariously through the opulence of Belaire ambassador Rick Ross, who oft name-checks the term “black bottle” in lyrics and on social media: “Everybody in the hood was heavy listening to Rick Ross. It was ‘black bottle boy this, black bottle boy that.’ When it came out, we was on it.”
East and his friends would even collect their empty bottles and keep them on display. Six years later, the Harlem native has come full circle. Luc Belaire announces today that the Def Jam rapper is its newest global ambassador. “I’m a gold bottle boy!” East says — a nod to the new Belaire Gold — to Billboard, moments after inking his deal from Los Angeles. “It’s lit.”
East joins Rick Ross, DJ Khaled, Steve Aoki and A Boogie wit da Hoodie as artist faces for the French wine brand. “It’s a dope thing, that I’m a part of the legacy,” he says. The 29-year-old (signed to Mass Appeal/Def Jam Records) has steadily risen in hip-hop, in large part due to a prolific mixtape career. He says that early releases like 2012’s No Regrets and 2013’s Gemini were fueled — almost literally — by the wine: “I did a few mixtapes off the Belaire, to be honest.”
Sovereign Brands’ CEO Brett Berish points to East’s self-made success and professional persistence as a natural fit for the brand. “We like people who are beating their own drum, who are off on their own doing their own thing. Dave is that guy,” Berish says. “It’s that self-made feeling of entrepreneurship.” East will be promoting Belaire’s full range of wines, including Belaire Rosé, Belaire Luxe and Belaire Gold, but it’s the latter that his personal favorite: “I like the gold. It’s not as sweet. I like the taste. We’re gonna do gold bottles this year.”
For newbies to Belaire bottles, East recommends drinking Belaire Gold straight with ice. “Put some ice in it. It doesn’t have that bite that a lot of champagnes have.” He sees appeal across his musical audience: “I feel like the female audience can get into it [and] the guys can drink it, without getting overly out-your-mind. Sometimes you wanna get a little bent. It’s the perfect drink for that.”
An added bonus: East, who is currently on his Paranoia 2 Tour, says that it’s smooth enough to drink nightly. As he puts it, every day is a celebration. “I can sip on some champagne every time.”