#ForTheCulture: How Hennypalooza Became Hip Hop’s Most Important Function Of This Generation

All photos were taken by Raven B. Varona

What started as a small kickback in a Harlem apartment transitioned into becoming the nation’s most talked about party series…possibly ever. The phenomenon known as Hennypalooza has brought so much joy and great moments to people nationwide thanks to two of the most essential yet fascinating things any party goer can ask for; great music and cup full of Hennessy. Like the iconic adult beverage often inspires their consumers with a simple slogan “Never Stop, Never Settle”, Hennypalooza has stuck with the message and elevated their brand to heights they wouldn’t have imagine. Shutting down major cities such as Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, Chicago, even the Caribbean island of Bermuda, this party tour which was brought to you by the genius creatives of Kameron McCullough, LowKey, GeniusHD, Austin Millz, YoShowtime, DJ Meka and ChriStylezz. HP has transcend not only the way we vibe out to great music but it introduces a great escape of partying responsibly with brown water in your cup and dancing the worries out of whatever life has brought to your front door. It perfectly aligned the mirrors of how beautiful and how astonishing black culture is exhibited in our own two eyes.


Speaking of experience, I became an believer and avid fan of Hennypalooza from the moment I stepped into the event at The Well located in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY for the very first time. The atmosphere there was just an amazing energy as there were an abundance of beautiful women, fly, trendy fellas and free Hennessy being distributed with the party’s logo on the cup from the bar courtesy of the perks in which it came with purchasing a ticket. There were even moments where I was separated from my friends from a long period of time and the vibes were so friendly that I was able to create new friendships with associates, through the art of just sticking to one of the unwritten “guy codes/brotherhood” in the infamous “Swag Surfing” wave or randomly holding a guy back to handle a twerk session with a girl he obviously couldn’t handle.

Ever since my first experience there, I noticed that the party ambience improved impressively whenever they circle backed to where this all started at. From the anticipation of social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to when it was the actual day of the actual event, there’s no way anyone wouldn’t know about an HP event was occurring in your city. The energy, the vibes, the aroma, atmosphere that Hennypalooza introduced has open eyes to many public figures who so happened to show up just to party or to performed. Dipset’s own Cam’ron, Murder Inc’s Ja Rule, Mister Cee and the legendary Just Blaze have became witnesses of how much of a “lituation” Hennypalooza is to the culture of hip hop. In addition, there were some athletes being spotted turning up at the event as former NCAA All-American and 2-time NBA All Star Carlos Boozer was there to experience the turn up that commenced when they shut down Coney Island the end of the summer of 2016.

Approaching their 5th anniversary in the party scene, Hennypalooza is ready to go out with a major big bang. With the event occurring this upcoming Saturday at Terminal 5 located in Manhattan, NY, LowKey was able to take time out of his busy day to talk about the significance of the 5 year anniversary of this event and how significant it is to him and his counterparts.

RESPECT: Growing up in NYC, there were spots the milllenials used to party at such as The Elks, Empire Skating Rink, The Skate Key and Santos PartyHouse just to name a few, how were yall able to reintroduce the vibes and the party culture to whose who were barely familiar with how exciting and lit the NYC party scene was back in the days?

LowKey:  To be honest with you, I grew up in New Jersey but I was well aware with all of those clubs in the City like Exit, The Tunnel, all of those spots. We were familiar with the nightlife out there was and we were trying to do the opposite of what we didn’t like about it. Obviously, growing up, you didn’t have that much money. You didn’t have that much access to do s***, like to go pay and get inside of the clubs. As we grow older, my friends and I who are down in the industry started to go and witness those open bar parties, industry parties and the club life. As you go to these parties, you start to see a trend of things you don’t like such as the lines, the price of drinks, the music and the women. We came together as a unit and said “Yo, let’s cultivate our own part of NYC nightlife”. It doesn’t have to necessarily have to be the club, it doesn’t have to necessarily have to be at night you know. At the time we created all of this stuff, the day party wave was starting to become popping and that’s where we kind of ran with it. We took THAT lane and we weren’t trying to create the nightlife in the sense of trying to take people that party at HAUS or M2 or Pink Elephant and all of that type of s***.  We were trying to find a spot for people like us. The people who didn’t have that much money but wanted to party. The people who weren’t the coolest in their cliques, who didn’t have the best wardrobe but still wanted to party, get girls, talk to dudes, in that sort of nature. We thought Hennypalooza was perfect for the environment for stuff like that. We thought Hennypalooza represents the general people in the middle. You know, you not poor but you not rich. You got just enough to do what you want to do. You got just enough to look how you want to look. I think Hennypalooza exemplifies that.

RESPECT: You know by starting a dynasty, you are as strong as the person standing next to you. If you can breakdown how value their assets are to the team, how would you describe each member that made this a successful run?

LowKey: You know ChriStylezz brings new energy. I’ve been the original host of Hennypalooza for three-four a half years now. I realized that in order to keep people happy and intrigued, you have to reinvent things. You have to put new faces out there to the people. You have to bring new energy and ChriStylezz is exactly that plus more. You couldn’t ask for a better person for that position to give the party new life. He’s younger than me so he tapped into a different demographics. He’s more loud than me so he is tapped into a different audience and it’s a balance. Everyone knows that I’m cool,I do what I do and I have my flavor. But Chris comes in with a different flavor to it and to see those two powers on stage is just fun. Those dynamics are fun to watch. He’s one of the best additions this party ever had.

 

 

 

There’s Raven, and that’s our superstar. People come to get their picture taken by Raven. Raven has shot for so many people; from Big Sean to Future. She’s currently on tour with Hov. We got here early as for as the world to witness how great her skills are. She’s shown people who have never been to Hennypalooza what Hennypalooza is like in so many different variant and colorful pictures.The textures, the emotions, expressions, she’s shown through pictures are very hard to pull off but, she does that with so much ease. Raven is another big part of the conglomerate of Hennypalooza because without those visuals, people don’t get to see the joy that the party brings out of them. You can see and you can hear the music and the effect it has whenever a song drops through her pictures. She’s a gifted photographer with a blessed eye. Like Chris, we couldn’t ask anything better than her. She’s definitely a beast.

RESPECT: How everyone in group were able to find the balance of working while partying on an average of roughly 4-5,000 people a night in the major cities like LA, NO and Chicago.

LowKey: We understand what we were there for at the end of the day. We understood what needed to get done. It’s a sacrifice we have to make. We come together and we come up with an understanding from each part and what we are expected from one another to get it done. We know that it’s going to be times where someone can’t do something and it’s up to one of us to pick up the pieces and keep the ball rolling. All of this works through communications. All of this doesn’t work without communication at the end of the day. We find a balance of knowing that it’s family first, but also that growth comes into play and that comes with time. That doesn’t come overnight. We have disagreements, we have arguments but that’s what family does. We do that with siblings, with close friends and all and that’s human nature. Without that, there’s no progression and by managing to understand everyone’s dynamics,it’ll allowed us to continue to party together and keeping this well oiled machine.

RESPECT: What would be your ideal Hennypalooza moment that you want to happen that didn’t happened yet?

LowKey: Honestly, I think all of the moments I wanted to happened, happened already. I celebrated my birthday on that stage. We celebrated the biggest songs on that stage. We celebrated friends birthdays on that stage. My parents came and saw me performed on that stage. I’ve gotten into my share trouble of women on that stage. I think I was able to see everything on that stage. Over the last five years, we had a fun time. Overall, I’m happy to see what I saw on that stage. From December 28, 2012 til today, I’ve seen a lot. Witnessing Wale, Pusha T, Ty Dolla $ign, Nipsey Hussle, Lenny S from RocNation, Dave East when he was first getting his name out and it was buzzing, Ja Rule, Cam’ron, DJ Clark Kent, Mister Cee. A lot of these people who we modeled our careers around are intricate to us. We been blessed to see alot of people on that stage so whatever comes after this, I’ll be happy because I’ve seen it all.

RESPECT: If you can pick a song, album, movie, rapper, athlete or public figure to describe the outstanding 5 year run you guys have with hennypalooza, what would it be and why?

LowKey: I would have to say Jay-Z’s career. I think Jay-Z’s “Reasonable Doubt” was ahead of his time. I think the first party was ahead of it’s time. They didn’t know wtf is a reasonable doubt. He came into the game talking about all these kilos, moving bricks and doing stuff out of speed boats. How he is able to make it happen, as far as hennypalooza, I think everyone is like “bring henny and chicken, wtf”. Now if you see it 5 years later, now you like “Oh so that’s what that was, that was they was building”. Then you have your flawless albums and we have our most classic parties; the three year anniversary at Webster Hall, we shut down LA, we had some flawless victories. Then we had our set backs but that don’t every make it out to the public. The family knows about the setbacks. Similar to Jay, they meaning the family knows the setbacks Jay went through not the public. Or, it could be aiming for a certain direction and fail to conquer. The same can be said for us. We aim for a certain direction and missed but the party was still enjoyable and still fun. So I say Hov because I hop we can continue to let this grow even more so we can come back and deliver the message to our people and tell them that you can make money with your friends. You can operate an successful black business by letting egos go, make some money and have fun.

The last Hennypalooza of 2017 is going down this Saturday at Terminal 5 located on 610 West 56th Street. Tickets are still on sell so I advise you to get them ASAP before you miss out on another historic night. Feel free to purchase one by clicking on the link here.

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