9th Wonder On The Everlasting Marriage Of Hip-Hop And Sampling

R&B's roots in hip-hop are firmly planted in sampling, the Grammy-winning producer explains to VIBE. 

Third time seemed to be the charm for D’USSE's Re-Mixer Series. As a multitude of guests arrived in Los Angeles for Grammy festivities this month, music and spirit enthusiasts settled in at Hollywood's Beauty & Essex to enjoy lessons in music and sampling by legendary producer 9th Wonder.

The third annual D’USSE Re-Mixer Series brought out those curious about the cognac's spirited cocktails along with those who were ready to hear the sounds of DJ Oliva Dope. In addition to 9th's presence at the mixer, fellow music and DUSSE lovers like Memphis Bleek, Rapsody, Insecure's Sarunas J. Jackson and Bacardi Senior Portfolio ambassador Colin Asare-Appiah were also ready to show off their cocktail making skills.

But there wasn't just D'USSE cocktails to indulge. Guests enjoyed rich lessons on the importance of R&B's marriage to hip-hop. While today's resurgence with artists like SZA, Ella Mai, H.E.R. and Daniel Caesar have brought emphasis back to the nayhooos of it all, early tunes remind us that hip-hop's skeleton carries plenty of soul.

Chic's "Good Times" provided weight for The Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight," DeBarge's "A Dream" gave reflection for 2Pac's "I Ain't Mad At Cha" and James Brown's "Funky Drummer" allowed us all to lay back and enjoy Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's "Let Me Ride."

R&B sampling continues today in nearly every chart-topping hit. Donny Hathaway's 1972 track "Jealous Guy" gives power to Chance The Rapper's "Juice," Beyonce's '03 tune "Me Myself and I" loops lovingly on Meek Mill's "24/7" with Ella Mai and The O'Jays' 1972 single "Backstabbers" spruced up Drake's "Fake Love."

As 9th Wonder shared the beauty of notable samples as guests like R&B songwriting legend Brian Michael Cox popped in to teach scratching methods to aspiring DJs, the relationship between hip-hop and R&B seemed to be stronger than ever.

"I think we need that," 9th shares with VIBE about today's balance and the current popularity boost in R&B. "I'm a historian by nature so I watch trends and I watch culture. Everything repeats itself whether we're talking about fashion and especially music. When I was 20 years old, D'Angelo was my version of something 20 years before that which was Marvin Gaye and Stevie [Wonder]."

Today, 9th praised artists like BJ The Chicago Kid and H.E.R., who took home two Grammys for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance for "Best Part" with Daniel Caesar, for providing more than just trusty falsettos.

"I think with H.E.R., Ella Mai, Daniel Caesar, Anderson .Paak and BJ The Chicago Kid and a myriad of other R&B artists who are budding believe in the music and believe in the feeling," he explains. "That's another resurgence that happened in the 90s but everything runs in cycles, history repeats itself and nothing is new under the sun."

D'USSE's relationship to music is also something worth noting 9th says. "I think spirits in a way make you euphoric and there are moments in hip-hop that make you feel euphoric too," he says. "Sometimes, your favorite song can be just as important as your favorite drink. When you're dealing with drinks and music, you're dealing with the five senses and how they go together. They also rely on each other too. You can't have one without the other."

With D'USSE's cognac carrying classic notes and grape varieties, 9th views its relationship to the music just the same with classic sounds from legends like Teddy Pendergrass and The O'Jays.

"If I were to have any soundtrack or label that's dedicated to D'USSE cognac, it would be Philadelphia's Gambling Cuff, all the Teddy Pendergrass, The O'Jays 'For The Love of Money' and 'Backstabbers,' 'Love TKO,' 'Turn Off The Lights/ Close The Door,' he listed. "All of those are really smooth, really cool. That's the kind of music that matches the drink."

One can only hope the gems gleamed through any buzzed feelings the cocktails brought forth. If so, it's a lesson in music worth remembering. "A lot of people don't know the history of drinks like that and a lot of people don't know the history of sampling like that either," the producer says. "Bartending [and making spirits] is their passion, music is mine. We just have to make sure people realize it's paramount to everything."

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Delta To Relaunch SkyMiles American Express Cards With More Perks For All

Business owners and consumers alike will soon be able to reap even more benefits from the Delta Skymiles American Express Card. Beginning January 30, 2020, cardholders will be able to earn more miles on everyday purchases and access more travel perks.

The relaunched American Express Card portfolio will include 4 tiers of card options for consumers (Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card) and 3 tiers of options for business owners (Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card).

“We’re constantly listening to our customers and spent the last year digging deep on what they expect from an industry-leading Card. The result is a diverse portfolio of redesigned Cards that will deliver rich rewards and benefits that give travelers unmatched options that fit their lifestyle needs,” said Sandeep Dube, Delta’s Senior Vice President – Customer Engagement & Loyalty, and CEO – Delta Vacations. “Each Card is tailored to what our customers have told us is most important to them – ranging from ways to earn even more miles to travel perks along the way.”

Some new perks for consumers and business owners include earning 2 times the miles for purchases at restaurants and supermarkets, no transaction fees, earn 3 times the miles for airfare and hotel bookings, access to complimentary upgrades and more.

“This is a powerful expression of the backing we provide to our shared customers. We listened to their needs and made exciting changes to the Cards that give them greater value across the board,” said Eva Reda, Executive Vice President, Global Consumer Partnerships, American Express. “With lots of perks that elevate your travel experience, double and triple miles on spending where it counts and so much built-in value, it really pays to have our Delta Cards.”

To learn more about the new perks and their limited time offer (ending on October 31, 2019), visit news.delta.com.

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A view of the atmosphere at the Star-studded Adventure Ride hosted by Polaris Slingshot And RZR on September 12, 2019 in Tenmile, Oregon.
Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for Polaris Inc.

Polaris' Slingshot And RZR Offer Unforgettable Behind-The-Wheel Experiences

Polaris is taking customers on a wild ride. The company behind more than 30 products including off-roading vehicles and snowmobiles offers up unforgettable experiences that cater to your inner adrenaline junky.

Earlier in the month, the powersports giant flew members of the press and social media influencers, including Snoop Dogg's son Cordell Broadus, rapper Bia and BMX rider Nigel Slyvester, to Eugene, Oregon for the Polaris All Out Adventure. The daylong event gave participants a behind-the-wheel experience with the Polaris RZR and Polaris Slingshot.

After being in business for more than 60 years, Polaris continues to expand its reach to include a diverse group of consumers. “[It's about] creating accessibility to power sports and an interest that maybe folks didn’t have before because they saw it as something that you had to be off in the woods [to do], or you have to be off in the snow,” Joey Lindahl- Marketing Manager, Customer Growth & Engagement told VIBE.

“We make all that stuff, too — but now this is another option and it is really something that we see resonate with a lot more people than maybe have been our other products in the past.” The company has seen “organic growth” among “young riders, women, and people of color,” added Lindahl.

Among the lineup of impressive creations, the Polaris Slingshot steals the show. The sleek, three-wheel autocycle reaches speeds of up to 130 mph and was designed by Tiger Bracy, Polaris' Senior Manager of Industrial Design.

Bracy has worked with Polaris for more than a decade and is among the small group of black designers in his field. And even after years in the business, Bracy still gets excited to see his designs go from paper to pavement.

“I’ve been doing it so long that I’m used to it,” Bracy shared with VIBE when asked of his reaction to seeing a Slingshot on the road. “I think the first time that I saw something [that I designed] it wasn’t on-road if was an off-road product. It wasn’t [about] seeing someone on it, it was it being manufactured and coming together. Because in my brain I can see this but it’s still on paper, once it's out and it’s there and people are enjoying it? [My] mind [is] blown.”

More customers have identified with the Slingshot than the company anticipated, which allows Polaris to learn more about a diversified group of buyers. Although the Slingshot doesn't have a specific target audience, it was designed to “reach a different buyer,” Bracy explained.

“It’s not for everybody,” he said. “It’s a polarizing vehicle in terms of how you drive it, how it looks, but we wanted to take that risk to go find a new area.”

See more in the video below.

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AP Images/Grand Marnier

Celebrate Apollo 11's Historic Moon Landing With Grand Marnier's "Moonwalk" Cocktail

It's been five decades since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to land on the moon. To mark the historic moment that occurred on July 20, 1969, global French liqueur brand Grand Marnier is celebrating the historic "Moonwalk" cocktail inspired by Amstrong and Aldrin's lunar journey.

In 1969, Joe Gilmore, head barman of the Savoy Hotel's American Bar, invented the drink to commemorate the astronauts' return from their successful mission. The classic cocktail — made of Marnier's cognac and bitter orange-flavored liqueur, champagne and more — is said to have been the first beverage they sipped upon their homecoming.

“The cocktail was a mix of grapefruit juice, Grand Marnier, champagne and rose water,” he explained to Wonderland in 2008. “The Savoy sent it off in a flask and I received a letter back from Neil Armstrong thanking us and saying it was the first drink they had when they came out of quarantine.”

In honor of the 50th anniversary, we're sharing the classic "Moonwalk" recipe for you to enjoy from the comfort of your home today and for years to come. Scroll down for more details and relive the historic moment in the video below.

Bonus: We've added four more Grand Marnier cocktail recipes for the French holiday, Bastille Day (July 14). À votre santé (Cheers)!

 

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