Cigar & Spirits Magazine: How long have you been passionate about cigars? When did you light up your first stick?
I always thought cigars represented maturity. This is when I was a kid, and it represented authority. It represented experience, and someone who was fairly secure. They are thinking about life and made a decision to smoke it.
It was like with wine. My mom used to drink wine. I watched adults drink wine. I tasted it and hated it as a kid. I didn’t get it. Didn’t think I would smoke cigars, really, but I was more drawn to cigars and wine. I could see that for myself.
As you went on, did you come to appreciate the artisanal aspect of it, as well as the aspirational part of it? The craft.
When I first touched the cigar, it was just curiosity, I didn’t continue to smoke. Then I found myself around the right person who wanted to educate me about a cigar, and let me have a go at it. Again, it took a little bit. I didn’t like anything yet. It didn’t hit me till I was around 23, in Miami.
I smoked a lot more marijuana then than I do now, and it was a way for me to have a smoke without it being illegal. I can smoke outside. Once when I was having a nice drink outside by the ocean in the early 90s, I got my hands on a box of Cohibas.
Once you develop that initial appreciation, it just opens up this whole other realm, because there’s so many different types of cigars to experience. Talk to me a little bit about being a brand partner with Escobar. How that originated, what’s been rewarding about it so far.
Well, through music, I’ve been showing people my lifestyle with the type of drink I drink, what I like to smoke, suits I wear in my videos and photo shoots, and I rap about it. I rap about cigars and finer things. A lot of people would approach me and say, “Tell me about what kind of cigars you smoke,” and at this point, I only had like Cohiba and Davidoff, so I didn’t really have that much to tell people. I knew that Cuban cigars are the best at the time. I realized that I was a walking poster child for a couple of things, and cigars were one of them. I knew one day I would have to partner with the right people so that people can experience my experience, and experience my music in a more physical sense with actually touching the brand.