Cab Cabernet – Talks “Krushed Grapes”, Running An Escort Service & Ghostwriting

Cab Cabernet - Talks "Krushed Grapes", Running An Escort Service & Ghostwriting

Harlem-based rapper/producer/director and Krushed Grapes Lifestyle owner Cab Cabernet presents the self-directed music video for “The Lifestyle”, the self-produced single featuring Von Qwest and Noni Kai. “The Lifestyle” is the first single from Krushed Grapes: Harlem Vintage, Cab’s forthcoming album featuring guest appearances from VonQwest, Noni Kai, Kat Starr Johnson and Priciliya Marie as well as production from Roddy Rod, RTNC (the producer behind Your Old Droog’s album, J. Bless, Declat, Tigga-Bounce, Frank Lotz and White Indian.

Formerly known as Hanif-Jamiyl of New England group Maspyke (of whom Roddy Rod is also a member, Cabernet performed alongside Mos Def, Q-Tip, Slick Rick and EPMD, co-founded Bukarance Records, and ghostwrote for numerous artists before reinventing himself in 2006, founding a private all-male escort service catering only to female clients and opening a cigar lounge. In 2009 he released the album Krushed Grapes (listen on Soundcloud) and the following year he unveiled Krushed Grapes Footwear, a line of luxury, handmade sneakers.

KG Lifestyle also produces handmade leather accessories including wine carriers, cigar cases, briefcases, wallets and hats, sold and customized at the customer’s request. The video was shot in several landmark Harlem locations including the Cotton Club and Jackie Robinson Park. Cab describes “The Lifestyle” as “the story of Cab Cabernet and friends. Circa ’41, Harlem USA. Style, class, refinement, and quality of life was the standard. Krushed Grapes was the lifestyle.”


SFHH: You’ve been in Harlem a while now. How have you seen the neighborhood evolve?

CC: When I came to Harlem, crack was still in high demand, and supply. Post-crack Harlem is more developed in terms of real estate (old abandoned buildings now luxury condos), but the culture is fading as a result. The other day a woman commented that “Harlem is on the rise”. This is a loaded statement. Is it on the rise because it is now safer for certain folks to walk their little doggies at 3am in the morning? Sure. For other folks, the folks who were born and raised here, still are harassed and assaulted by police, and are being pushed out of their own neighborhood. Cab Cabernet is down for preserving the culture of old Harlem, and celebrating the change that is new Harlem. A medium.Cab Cabernet - Talks Krushed Grapes, Running An Escort Service & Ghostwriting

SFHH: Any crazy stories you can share from running a private all-male escort service?

CC:  Too many. I wrote a screenplay which I included some of those stories for film, and the first KG album (2008) was based on the service. One story in particular that I love is an incident that I call “squirting”. One of my regular clients squirted on the face of one of my specialists, and he mistook it for another substance lol. Stay tuned for the film Full Bodied coming soon. 

SFHH: Did you ghostwrite any well-known songs? What’s the experience of hearing your words coming out of someone else’s mouth like?

CC: Yes, I have. a gold and platinum R&B artist and group  from the ‘90s. But under contract, I agreed not to disclose that info. I would imagine that it feels similar to doing a live show and watching the crowd sing along to your song. Great feeling.

SFHH: What was the inspiration for your upcoming album Krushed Grapes: Harlem Vintage?


CC: Harlem Vintage represents vintage Harlem, old Harlem. An era lost. A culture neglected. A celebration of a sound, a feeling, a life and time.

SFHH: How did you come up with the name Cab Cabernet?

CC: Cab Cabernet is inspired of course by Cab Calloway, which represents a vintage Harlem era, as well as the most popular red wine grape on the planet, Cabernet Sauvignon. Sounds like a cat that would own a wine-influenced lifestyle brand. Dig?

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