the grub street diet

T-Pain’s Favorite Drinks Always Get Too Expensive

Clubs are like, ‘Well, we heard a rapper talk about it so now this is $1,200 more than last week …’”

T-Pain having a drink. Illustration: Ryan Inzana
T-Pain having a drink. Illustration: Ryan Inzana

When T-Pain’s manager approached him about doing a book, he says he balked at the idea of a memoir. “I was like, I don’t think I need to reiterate Mike Tyson’s story or anything like that. I think I’m fine,” he says, adopting the voice of an aging, monocle-wearing businessman. “‘W-w-w-well it all started back in 1984’ — I didn’t want to do that shit.” Instead, his manager suggested trying something different and, perhaps sensing an opportunity for artistic synergy, they landed on a cocktail book named after T-Pain’s 2007 hit single “Buy U a Drank.” When it publishes in November, Can I Mix You a Drink? will feature 50 recipes, which T-Pain authored alongside bar pro Maxwell Britten. (Writer Kathy Iandoli also contributed to the book.) “It was something I was actually interested in, and I didn’t have to sit down with a cup of hot brandy and a cigar,” he says. This week, the musician (and now author) celebrated a wedding anniversary in Vegas before returning home to recuperate in Georgia. And, yes, he had a few drinks. 

Thursday, September 16
I’m such a bad fucking eater, man. My wife is a foodie, so she can’t eat the same thing twice in a week. But me? I’m eating the same shit every day, it’s like, whatever.

I have a lot of respect for people who can cook, ’cause I’m terrible at it — mostly. I don’t know how to do that shit. That’s it. Just from a pure lack of knowledge I’m in awe, like, How the fuck do you guys do that shit up there? 

This was the day when I discovered keto connect dot com, and that you can get your Chipotle and still eat keto. They have a keto bowl. I didn’t know how to take the guacamole off that motherfucker. It was a lot, and I fucking hate guacamole. So it’s basically chicken on top of greens, and then I got a big-ass thing of queso blanco. Oh, Jesus Christ, poured it over that son of a bitch, slapped that motherfucker in the microwave, make the whole salad hot, mix it up, there you go. Scrape off all the motherfucking guacamole or tell them to put it on the side. I don’t know how to do that on the app though.

It’s just the texture, man. Ugh. Bleugh. It’s so slimy. It’s not mushy enough to be mush, but it’s also right before you would call something solid. It’s in such a weird place. It slides everywhere. Oh God. You ever mistakenly ate an avocado slice you didn’t know was avocado? Like, what the fuck did I just eat, a goddamn slug? Oh God, it’s gross. It’s so gross. But, some people like it.

Friday, September 17
We were in Vegas. I can only deal with Vegas for four days without going haywire, but this trip was like a week and a half. I do not remember most of those days. It was brutal, man. A lot of heart palpitations.

I go to Vegas a lot. But my wife and I just decreed that we don’t want to see Vegas for two or three years. That’s it. We’ve gone way the fuck too much. I had a residency for a while, and we just went every other week or every month. It was too much already, I don’t know why we keep going back. It’s been our go-to place when we’re like, “Let’s go somewhere and stay up late.” It’s getting a little repetitive, I should say.

We go to Sapphire. That is a strip club out there. It was open 24 hours, before COVID, but now due to health restrictions they’ve got to close and shit. It used to be I’d never walk out of that place without the sun being up, but now they kick me out at fucking 4 o’clock. So, whatever. It’s not my home anymore, I can’t just sit around there doing nothing!

It’s just so easy. It meets all the requirements for a strip club. They bring the bottle to your table. There’s a lot of strip clubs that won’t let you have your bottles. You have to ask for your drink, and they go back behind the bar to make it. But you still have to pay for the entire bottle, and you have to trust them that they’re making the drink out of what you paid for. You get your own section, but you don’t have to pay for a giant section. They just give us an area of chairs, and they take credit cards for ones, so you don’t have to walk in there with a ton of cash just to get singles. Shit like that is what makes a dope-ass strip club for me. They fit the whole criteria.

Other than Vegas, I like the clubs in Miami and Atlanta. Those are the only ones I’ve been to that stay open late and do full-nude and all those things. Chicago used to be pretty good, they started closing them shits though. But that’s a part of it. That’s the business.

I hate New York strip clubs. They’re all about the money. In Atlanta you got a whole section full of girls, you throw money up, everybody is having a good time. Whenever the song is over, the girls are like, “All right, we split this up.” They all got their own trash bags, throw the ones in there. You get girls in NY, you throw the money up, everybody stops dancing, trying to grab the money out of the air because nobody is gonna share that shit. They have no system for splitting it up. Everybody’s trying to get every dollar they can get. You’re gonna make me not spend money ’cause I don’t want y’all to stop dancing. This is weird. I hate New York strip clubs.

Saturday, September 18
I actually hate gambling. I suck at it, and I do not try it. I don’t know how to play any of the tables. All I know is blackjack, and I guess I learned roulette from watching my friend do it. When I’m in Vegas, I never get on tables, I don’t get on slots, none of that. We just peruse around, see what’s going on, hit the pool parties. Hit the clubs at night, go to Sapphire. I think we hit Sapphire four times when we were there. That’s the spot.

The first time I met the co-author of my book, Maxwell, I took him to a club. You can really tell how a person is by how they treat the staff at a club or a restaurant. He was an all-around gentleman, so it worked out. He was the only one in the strip club with a suit on, so that was cool. That’s a huge deal to me. It really shows how a person was brought up, and their general respect for what we consider to be the “workers.”

My go-to drink at the moment is Cincoro Reposado. It’s getting more and more popular and I hate that. Every time I get into a drink, it gets popular, and the clubs are like, “Well, we heard a rapper talk about it so now this is $1,200 more than last week when you came in.” Everybody keeps trying to force me to drink Casamigos, because somebody said it in a song or something, and I’m just not gonna fucking do it. It’s too much.

I’ve been a tequila guy for a while, but I got off of it and went to Hennessy for a bit because that seemed like what my friends wanted to do. That didn’t work out really. There were a lot of fights, so I stopped that shit immediately and went back to tequila. The way I found Cincoro is from having Tequila Tuesdays on my Twitch stream, and that’s where my A&R on my label brings cool-looking tequila. Just go off the bottle, not really any reputation or anything. We try it and see what it’s like. Since we landed on Cincoro, that’s my go-to. Still trying other ones, but I hate everything. I’m stuck now.

We’ve been to all the restaurants in Vegas, all of ’em. All the places that you’ve heard of, we’ve been there. My wife hates most of ’em, but that’s Vegas for you. Can’t do anything about it. Any touristy spot, they can’t really pay attention and shit. They’ve got to mass produce everything. Even like Hell’s Kitchen, the Gordon Ramsay joint. I’ve been to Carbone. I get it. You’ve got to cook super-fast, not everything is gonna be goddamn delicious.

We did just go to a Mexican place, Hussong’s Cantina, that was in the Mandalay Bay. That shit was crazy. They had some barbacoa nachos, phew. Oh my God, that shit was nice. When it’s not all fat, and when it’s actual meat, I love barbacoa.

I’m not a huge barbecue guy, to be quite honest. I think it’s super-hard to eat. For me everything has to be boneless. Any food that leaves you with a mess on your hands — I’m not a huge fan. I don’t want to use a real goddamn towel instead of a napkin. Sausages? Like smoked sausages? That’s my shit. Any kind of chicken breast that doesn’t have a whole goddamn skeleton in it, that’s fire.

Sunday, September 19
We went back to Georgia. I’m recuperating, man. Chillin’ at home. Makin’ sure my kids are good.

I’m drinking this Arden’s Garden juice cleanse. It’s a two-day detox of two gallons of juice. Stupid. Should’ve gotten a goodman IV. It’s not fun, it’s not fun at all. Just a big fucking jug of disappointment. I wouldn’t recommend drinking anything else while you’re doing this, unless you want to throw up out of your ass.

I wouldn’t say there’s any place we go to a lot, but there’s this one spot that’s called Oasis Goodtime Emporium. You can guess what that is. It’s pretty much Atlanta’s version of Sapphire. Oasis is the place to go. We usually have all the drinks we want. They bring shit to your table. We know everybody in there.  As soon as we pull up, they’re like, here’s your spot. They accommodate us. Frickin’ Oasis, man. Great place.

There’s this chicken place in my hometown, Tallahassee, called Lindy’s. Oh my gosh, I don’t know what the hell they do to their chicken, it’s so weird. It’s perfect. Around Atlanta, Mazzy’s is really close. It’s still not Lindy’s. But it’s the right crispiness and the right sauciness. The right amount of sauce, the kind of fries, they put the fries right next to the chicken, so when you’re done with the chicken you put the fries in the hot sauce the chicken was in, and mix it all the way. It’s such a difference, man. I don’t know what it is. It’s just something that can’t be taught. You just gotta know that. It’s the ratio thing.

Normally when I’m home, drinking is always involved. It’s usually because I’m stressing about what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m just running around the house like, What the fuck am I supposed to doing right now? And I know there are 30 things. I have two whiteboards up in my office and whiteboards all over the house. But I just refuse to look at them, and instead decide to sit in the middle of the room like, Why the hell did I just come in here? And I was like, You know what, I’ll go grab a drink, rethink it, and come back to it.

I would say drinking definitely takes down the wall when I’m doing music. You know, the fear of being bad at it. It definitely takes down defense mechanisms like, Don’t say that because nobody is gonna know what you mean, or Don’t say this because people are gonna think you mean something else, or Don’t put that sound in there, because I know it sounds good to right now but nobody is gonna know why it sounds good to you. It takes down all those questions and all those stupid-ass queries about your own self. It makes me stop questioning my damn self, and letting me know I’m actually good at this shit.

My wife and I got real into beer for a while, but then I gained 40 pounds. We would try different things. We never really landed on a beer. We would go to local markets and breweries and see if anybody was making some cool shit. We did like one, I don’t know who made it or what kind of beer it was, because we were already drunk at a restaurant. It was called Dragon’s Milk. That shit was amazing. Thick as hell. It had a high alcohol content. The actual beer was sweet but still beery. Yeah, it was fuckin’ nice.

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