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A Hennessy-based “Rapper’s Delight” cocktail and “Salt-N-Pepa Seafood Mac & Cheese” are just some of the offerings visitors will find at the Hip-Hop Museum Pop-Up Experience, which opens today at 3 p.m. at Union District Oyster Bar & Lounge.
Dave Mays, founder of entertainment magazine The Source and creator of the pop-up, wants the five-week event to have “kind of a Hard Rock Cafe atmosphere for hip-hop,” something Mays says he’s never seen before.
“I got goosebumps the first time I walked through the room,” he says.
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At the pop-up, visitors will find a collection of hip-hop related artifacts and memorabilia that track the genre from its origins in the 1970s through the late 1990s, the majority of which come from the personal collection of Jeremy Beaver, founder of D.C.’s Listen Vision Studios and a co-founder of the event. Artifacts on display include autographed vinyls and a brick from Eminem’s childhood home on Detroit’s 8 Mile Road.
As a hip-hop enthusuast, Mays says seeing the collection is emotional. “You just get so much energy in there reliving so many moments in life when you’re looking at artifacts and things from Biggie or Tupac or De La Soul or any of the other artists represented in the collection,” he says.
The hip-hop inspired happy hour menu will be offered Mondays through Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and “Throwback Thursday” parties featuring guest DJs will happen weekly. Prior to the parties, which start at 8 p.m., Mays will record live podcast episodes, host hip-hop trivia, and celebrate icons like DJ Clark Kent and the Sugarhill Gang.
The pop-up is presented in collaboration with Hennessy, the cognac which Mays says “has a long history with hip-hop.”
“Hip-hop pretty much made Hennessy a multi-billion dollar brand just because of the way hip-hop artists have been referencing it in their music since the ’80s and ’90s, featuring it in their videos, talking about it, and drinking it,” he says. “It was a natural alignment, and I’m glad they saw the need for something like this.”
And given the historical dominance hip-hop has had over pop culture, Mays says that need is clear as day. “It’s definitely time that hip-hop be recognized properly.”
Hip-Hop Museum Pop-Up Experience at Union District Oyster Bar & Lounge, 501 Morse St. NE. (202) 656-2509. hiphopmuseumdc.org.