Old Atlanta used to be a suit-and-tie type of affair. Some of my early childhood memories were of my mother in her mink coat and high heels and my stepdad with a black suit and red tie (to match my mom’s red heels) on a Saturday night about the city. There is an age demographic that feels the dress code in the new Atlanta has eroded into a more casual sneakers and designer t-shirt laissez-faire type of deal. This past Saturday night Down Home Brewing merged this old and new world seamlessly with a Black Light Sneaker Ball – suit required with the sneakers. It is a glorious feeling to put on a suit at this stage in life that is not of the wedding or funeral variety and a feeling of accomplishment as I arrived – According 2 Hip-Hop was one of the sponsors of the event. In full circle fashion, the year had ended for me where it began – Synergy PR Services, who invited us to the Rap Snacks trilogy of events in March was also a sponsor as well. Earlier in the year after the Rap Snacks One RPM mixer I met the owner of Synergy, Clorissa Wright Thomas. Outside a small building space in Atlanta shrouded with aspiring emcee talents and the succinct aroma of cannabis, we connected on the possibilities of what our respective organizations could be and the year that lie ahead for both of us. Clorissa sent my write-ups to Rap Snacks owner James Lindsey who was impressed and gracious enough to grant us an interview (which he rarely does).
Synergy PR Services has had a glowed-up type of year and I found myself on the red carpet Saturday interviewing none other than Clorissa with both the Synergy and A2HH logos in the backdrop. The beautiful blend continued and I discovered that the gentleman responsible for putting the festivities together – High Gravity Hip Hop owner and founder Lenox Mercedes had a friendship with Clorissa that spans two decades now and is as solid as ever. Lenox not only put this event together with his own grit, wit, and finance, but he also is the reason that A2HH was granted an interview with Atlanta legend and one-fourth of Goodie Mob, Big Gipp.
The main purpose for the Black Light Ball was to debut Gipp’s latest entrepreneurial endeavor, The South Spoken Pils, a palatable Pilsner beer in conjunction with Down Home Brewery and High Gravity Hip Hop.
Big Gipp himself briefly became my tour guide and took me to the bar for me to delve into his next venture. The tagline for the Pilsner reads: From The South Got Something To Say To The South Has Spoken. Appropriate verbiage; especially if you just saw Gipp’s interview with us at According 2 Hip-Hop. A panel committee of Gipp, Jen Price (representing the Crafted For Action Conference), and Down Home’s master brewer Chris Reeves, concluded the 5-7 beer tasting with a open dialogue Q&A on beer, hip-hop, the state of Atlanta, and the galvanization of supporting other black owned businesses.
At the conclusion of the panel discourse, The lights went out and Goodie Mob’s tour DJ, DJ Papi hit the wheels of steel and the celebratory portion of the program began to unfurl. DJ Papi is also a car enthusiast and a member of the Uptown Car Club – Uptown Car Club represented the event with several classic cars parked outside the venue. For VIP guests at the event, they were greeted with “The 404 Pack” a goodie bag backpack equipped with two side pouches and one zipper compartment in the front. Upon opening up the pack, you can see it is actually a cooler style easy to carry backpack that came with an assortment of delights. On the inside were a pack of Gipp Goodies Goodnight Gummies (10 55mg pieces), A Zagga CBD non-alcoholic tequila mini bottle, Gipp Gooddies Night Night Blue Razz Drank (100 mg CBN syrup), 16 oz Black Light Ball Reusable Solo Cup, a stemless wine glass with a lid, a limited edition 404 Pack Black Light Ball T-Shirt (Gipp Goodie Edition), and of course, a 4-pack of the South Spoken Pils.
The 404 Pack Goodie Bag went over so well at the ball that High Gravity Hip Hop and Big Gipp himself have decided to make the 404 pack Goodie Bag available to the masses. For $300 as part of the brewery fundraiser for High Gravity Gardens – Lenox’s brewery concept which is described as “City Winery meets Cirque du Soleil meets Wu Tang,” Big Gipp himself has agreed to deliver the pack himself to anyone who purchases in the Metro Atlanta area. Southern Hospitality at its finest by one of our most lauded representatives.
I also had the pleasure of interviewing brewmaster Chris Reeves – Down Home Brewing Co. is the first black owned brewing company in Georgia. Chris and Down Home were being distributed in stores long before the acquisition of the actual brewery. Down Home is downright phenomenal and comes with catchy names to boot. Light Skinned Imperial Black IPA, Georgia Hooch IPA, and Muddy Waters Porter were some of the standouts. Rest assured, if you go to Down Home Brewing Co., Mr. Reeves will have a style of beer suited for you and whomever you bring.
As I exited the event I ran into Lenox and he spoke about his plans to take this show on the road (with the support of the people). He smiled and told me I was coming with him. Lenox is what many of today’s black entrepreneurs are quite frankly not – He is truly a team first we are all in this together type of man. We spoke about the plight of black business owners and our duty to one another to operate in fairness and never disparage each other in public for any reason. Lenox also plans to start a one million dollar donation fund to give his pride and joy, High Gravity Hip Hop a brick and mortar home. If you would like to support High Gravity on this journey, a QR code will be attached to this article and you can go to HIGRAV.com to donate directly and learn more about the company and Lenox himself.