Since May, NYC-native Lenox Mercedes has been sharing his two passions with the people of Atlanta. Founding his company High Gravity Hip Hop has got to be the young man’s pinnacle achievement this year — talk about building for a niche… Craft beer drinkers and hip hop heads unite! High Gravity Hip Hop puts on tastings for anyone and everyone who may be interested in trying something a little different without the stuffy snootiness of most tasting events. And it doesn’t hurt that there’s a dope DJ setting the tone.
On Friday afternoon, MFD was invited to attend a mini-festival for the JWT Group at their Buckhead office. And man oh man, did we get to it with the craft beers! Out of all the product offered, I could’ve gone through a case of Yeti Stout all on my own. Yum!
The turnovers, quiches and mini mozzarella and tomato sandwiches made for a nice pairing with all that booze too. But it wasn’t all about feeling nice off the hops and high gravity — peep my technical term swag. With young DJ Nick the Quick on the 1s and 2s, the gathering instantly had some cool kid appeal.
Legendary DJ Red Alert made an appearance as well as local live show mainstay Dres tha Beatnik. Plenty of other good people in the building, to include Creative Loafing’s Rodney Carmichael and Atlanta’s prototype for the hip-hop creative, Bem Joiner.
The food was served in something called a Caveman Room, LOL. Seriously. Dope idea though! The point was to get us tech-addicted folks to turn our phones off while eating and actually talk to one another. Who ever heard of such a thing? Even if you still have juice left on your phone? Yep. No phones, tablets, no IGing the grub, nada. There were notepads and disposable cameras available for usage (I haven’t even seen one of those in stores for a minute!) but that was it. People didn’t seem to mind in the least though.
After all, just a few feet away, there were video game consoles set up specifically for gamers. And I know it was specifically for gamers because I tried Call of Duty and it kicked my butt in front of a gathering crowd of looky-loos. O___o I had more beer to soften the blow — video games have changed tremendously since the first Halo, LOL.
Good brews, good vibes… If you hear about anything High Gravity is doing near you, make it your business to be a part. Even better, if you have the urge to put something special on for your circle of basic beer drinkers, holla at Lenox — he definitely knows what he’s doing. “There just wasn’t a lot of multicultural marketing happening for craft beer,” says Mercedes. “If any, really. I just felt like this is great product and we need to get it out to people to sample and taste.”
“It’s not about getting smashed,” he adds. “It’s about having a good time. Relaxing and enjoying yourself to some good music with friends. Making new friends and just really bringing everybody together from all different cultures. That’s what hip-hop does and that’s what beer does, we just put it together in this format. ”
Here are a couple thoughts from the attendees that evening:
“People are either asking for the lightest beer, the IPA, or the Sumthin’ Sumthin’ or something that’s pretty high in volume… [laughs]”
Ed. Note: These folks were just getting off from work guys… LOL. #NoJudgments
“My favorite is the Golden Monkey. It’s the highest volume. The highest alcohol content. It gets the job done right away, you don’t have to keep sipping for a while to feel something. But it’s just like, the perfect amount of feeling something.”
Bem Joiner, Atlanta creative:
“Overall, over the years, going to a variety of clubs, you’d see a wide variety of beer, but then on ‘black night’ with the black crowds, there’d only be like, three beers. When I started hanging out with rich white boys or rich Asians, or just very cultured people they would always be like drinking some high gravity, home brew or locally brewed beer and they would talk about it…”
“Almost like if someone as smoking mid weed versus someone who’s smoking some bubble kush or a good strain. You got mid? You can’t even get in the conversation. That’s how it would be with the Heinekens and Heineken’s a good beer! But once you start finding out about all these other beers… Black people were missing in these conversations but that’s where the money’s at. ”
A JWT employee:
“Oh. I’m totally a hip-hop fan! In fact, I almost fell outta my chair when I saw Red Alert walk in the building [laughs]. I was like, ‘I won’t ask for a pic with Kanye but I’ll ask for one with Red Alert. I think it’s great because people have such a narrow view of what black people a.k.a., also known as ‘hip-hop fans’ to some, are into, and they may not think that that consumer is a fan of a craft beer but we’re so diverse in our tastes. And I think this is evidence of that, we go from Red Alert to craft beer. And marry the two!'”