Al Kapone’s pitching a birthday party at the Hard Rock Cafe this weekend. But I’ll get to that in a minute. First, there’s business to discuss.
“It just happens to be my birthday, Kapone says. "But Saturday night, I’m celebrating getting this situation worked out. I’m celebrating this deal.” The deal in question was struck with an Illinois-based liquor manufacturer known primarily for marketing Chicago’s Al Capone, and Tommy Guns vodka — the world’s only spirit packaged to look like the classic gangster gat. Five years back Memphis’ OG was tapped to promote Tommy Guns, and that led to his own line of potable product. Better news, Kapone’s Hustle Vodka, Memphis Heat cinnamon whiskey, and the rum based Sassy Girl C.R.E.A.M have been picked up by the Hard Rock Cafe chain.
“They say it’s very hard for any new brand to get into their system, but we were able to pull that off,” Kapone says. “Quite a few wins for us… We’re really wanting to build the energy for it here first, then it’s almost going to be like going on a tour.”
The big question, of course — is it good? “I can’t put my name on something I don’t like,” Kapone says, bringing classic Memphis heat by describing Memphis Heat cinnamon whiskey as being better than Fireball.
But what about his birthday? Kapone’s cagey about saying how many trips he’s made around the sun, but wears his status as an OG like a badge of honor. “I’m proud to say it,” he says, emphasizing the “O” and laughing out loud. Memphis’ original gangsta has worked a lot of mics. He’s been around, and seen a lot. He knows what it means to be a hustling independent, moving his product to the people. He’s made original work for movie soundtracks, and performed with rock bands and symphony orchestras. So we wanted to ask him three questions relating to the past, present and future.
Memphis Flyer: What’s your best memory? Something that just pops when you think about everything you’ve done?
Al Kapone: The first thing that pops in my head thinking about great moments in my life is the birth of my kids. The birth of my son and the birth of my daughter.
What's the worst?
The worst? I try to look at things in a positive light even when it’s bad. But I’d say the worst thing is being robbed in the 6th grade when I was delivering groceries in South Memphis. Robbed with a 12-gauge.
What are you looking forward to most in the future?
I’m just looking forward to good health, good finances, and a good social life.