Courvoisier Cognac Opens The Doors To "Maison Courvoisier With Pusha T And Emerging Artists"
Multi-platinum rapper and entrepreneur Pusha-T partners with Courvoisier Cognac and performs during Maison Courvoisier on Saturday, February 15, 2020. Maison Courvoisier is an immersive luxury experience that pays homage to the brand’s Chateau in France and showcases the power of shared success by partnering with talent at the top of their game to spotlight their favorite artists in the areas of fashion and art.
Jeff Schear

Pusha T And Courvoisier Welcome Chicago To Maison Courvoisier Experience

King Push and Courvoisier Cognac give NBA All-Star Weekend warm vibes with art, fashion and good liquor.

As the festivities from the bitterly cold 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago brought nearly the whole Midwest and beyond to the city, Courvoisier Cognac left everyone with a glowing warmth as strong and hearty as the liquor itself this past Saturday, Feb. 15 at the Morgan MFG. The esteemed brand opened the gates to its Maison Courvoisier Experience with Pusha T, featuring the artwork and fashion of Rhuigi Villasenor and Al-Baseer Holly, with surprise sets from Gunna and Tory Lanez.

For Push, teaming up with Courvoisier is all about staying true to their sacred moral codes, as he embraced their story of how the brand continued to prosper over the many years.

“We’re sticking to the mantra ‘honor your code’ and we’re living by that. It’s amazing to be partners with Courvoisier,” said Push.

The drip from meticulously crafted scenery falls as soon as you enter the make-shift liquor mansion. Between the walls of the rustic yet elegant area, the guests were treated to Al-Baseer’s colorful and eclectic interactive art gallery, Rhuigi’s fashion display, and a mini-tour of the private stock room with a tasting of one of their exclusive blends. Chicago’s own DJ Sean Mac soundtracked the night as the crowd drank barrels of Courvoisier VSOP and their special cocktails, the “King Push” and the Courvoisier French 75, all while snapping flicks at the high-end photo booths.

Meanwhile, the man of the hour, Pusha T blended into the crowd in his all-black attire. He spent part of the evening giving the media a quick tour of both exhibits and taking photos with Rhuigi and Al-Baseer.

After Sean Mac practically turned the building into the club scene from New Jack City with his fully loaded 90s set, the majority Black female crowd flocked to the front of the stage for King Push. Straight out the gate, he had the whole crowd screaming the lyrics of “If You Know You Know” word for word and continued with other deep cuts from his Grammy-nominated album Daytona.

Throughout the show, Push gave the Chicago crowd plenty of musical treats to go with their drinks, starting with his classic verses from Kanye’s “Devil in A New Dress”, “So Appalled”, and “New God Flow” from Cruel Summer, along with more Windy City love like his verse from Yeezy’s “Mercy” and his earth-shaking closer, his 16 from Chief Keef’s “Don’t Like” remix. And he kept his foot on the crowd’s neck as he took the room back to ’02 with the Clipse’s claim-to-fame hit, “Grindin.”

Before Pusha T would close the show, he brought out Gunna, to the surprise of the packed and semi-drunken room. Moving off the crowd's warm vibes, Gunna kept a hot hand all night as he rocked the stage with hits like “Speed It Up”, “Hot”, “Oh Okay”, and shut it down with “Drip Too Hard”. The crowd ate it up while he periodically took selfies with fans in front of the stage and rapped some of his verses on a few of their respective Instagram Lives.

After Sean Mac tempered the crowd from another set, an unexpected Tory Lanez ran on stage to “Broke In A Minute” with a hot crowd. He became a livewire, gyrating to “Talk To Me” and doing tongue-in-cheek call and responses. “If you got an STD then throw your hands up! All their hands mean some of yall lying,” he said in jest.

As the electrifying Lanez spent the whole show singing and getting to know his front row of ladies through singing to them and on their phones, he blew the roof off, wrapping up his set with the fiery “K Oh K”.

Before he hopped on stage, VIBE had a quick word with Pusha T inside the green room during the party and spoke with him about his collaboration with Courvoisier, sharing his love for fashion with Rhuigi Villasenor, and what stands out to him about Chicago’s culture and fashion.

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You’ve been a huge fan of Courvoisier for a long time. What drew you to the brand?

The heritage, man. The heritage, the whole story behind it, the whole idea of shared success and how the brand was birthed by pulling up one another. I see similarities in that and just how I look at life and where I am in music and how I can pull up the next future MCs and the next artists in general.

Or even how you and your brother [No Malice] were able to pull each other up over the years.

Brother, friends, family, everybody. Each one, teach one, that’s what it’s all about.

For decades, Courvoisier has been celebrated throughout hip-hop in songs and beyond. How has it been able to remain such a long-lasting staple in hip-hop?

I think hip-hop is drawn to heritage and things that are luxury. It has a luxury aesthetic to it. The taste level is up there, and I feel like hip-hop is drawn to those things.

What are the common threads that bond you and Rhuigi together, considering your passion for fashion?

I think our love for fashion, him being technically great at it and me just looking at it from afar. Me seeing his rise, him being—I own three stores, so I have my employees clamor over his stuff and I’m like, ‘okay, we gotta get this stuff in here.’ Just watching that fanfare.

How did he change your perspective on fashion, if he did in any way?

My perspective on fashion has always been the same in regard to music and fashion, just that whole fusion. All of my favorite rappers were always fresh, they were always fly. [Big Daddy] Kane, Slick Rick, everybody was always—I always saw it as one. I had to want to be like you in every aspect, not just rap like you.

Since you’re in Chicago during All-Star Weekend, what are some takeaways you got from the city’s fashion scene?

I have to say that there are a lot of trendsetters here. A lot of trendsetters here from Don C to Virgil [Abloh]. Even with ‘Ye, I see—watching them progress in fashion I will say that it’s really dope to watch them still learning and trying to learn. I think their hard work and ability and love of fashion is paying off.

Lastly, what’s something amazing from Chicago that you’ve seen since you’ve been here that you didn’t expect?

Well, I’m from Virginia and when I got here, I didn’t know house music was as big as it was here.

You didn’t know that?!

I did not know! This is the Midwest to us. Until I started coming here as an artist in traveling, that’s when I learned it was a part of your culture.

Since then, who are some of your favorites you may have picked up on?

No, I’ve never known. I’ve never known. Ever [laughs]! I just always knew it was a dance thing where we’re from. And I didn’t know when I came out here that house is like a lifestyle. [In Virginia,] you’ll have a house [music] set at a party, that’s cool. Here you have whole house clubs [laughs]. Things like that.

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The Millennium Tour 2020: Pretty Ricky Returns To Heat Things Up

The energy inside the Chase Square at Madison Square Garden is electric. The Millenium Tour 2020 returned to New York City on a rainy Friday night (March 6), satisfying fans’ yearlong wait for the nostalgic vibes to arrive in the city that never sleeps.

Big hoop earrings and jersey dresses paint the picture inside the lobby while chatter amongst small groups of people about which artist on the bill will have the best set fills the air. "I'm here for Pretty Ricky," says one elated fan as she rushes to find her spot on the line waiting to enter the doors of the Hulu Theater. "My boys are back and I'm not missing out on this."

Around this time 15 years ago, the members of Pretty Ricky were beginning to make their debut in a crowded R&B scene that included other notable groups like Jagged Edge and 112. Their platinum-selling debut single "Grind With Me" charted at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and helped the group stand out by opening the door for listeners to explore their raunchy, steamy world.

Since that time, the group has experienced ups and downs. Their first two albums, Bluestars and Late Night Special, were certified Gold with the latter debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The success from their first two albums catapulted the group into superstardom, winning millions of fans across the world and touring with the likes of Omarion, Chris Brown and Bow Wow. Unfortunately, personal issues and inflated egos within the group caused friction and placed a hold on things for the next few years.

Fast forward to today, and Pretty Ricky is back to heat things up. As a part of The Millenium Tour 2020, the group joins Omarion, Bow Wow, Ashanti, Lloyd, the Ying Yang Twins and more on a 32-date tour across the country. It's the second time in two years that Pretty Ricky has hit the road with the first being last year's The Millenium Tour, and if anything, the group is having even more fun with it.

Pretty Ricky back in NYC like they never left on The Millennium Tour 2020#PRETTYRICKY#THROWBACK#THEMILLENNIUMTOUR2020 pic.twitter.com/7RODWvEbsH

— ME VKV DON DVDV 🇭🇹 (@BlackDynamite91) March 10, 2020

"There are stretchers outside just in case someone faints," Spectacular tells VIBE as the group prepares for a special meet-and-greet with fans before their set. "You know how Pretty Ricky does it."

"It feels like 2005 all over again," Pleasure P exclaims as fans screamed just outside the curtains. "All the girls got on their throwback stuff. The energy is great, and of course, we're banging them with hits every night and it feels good."

The hits were flowing as Pretty Ricky made a strong case that they were the best performers on the bill. During the lively set, rabid fans sang along to "Grind With Me," "Your Body" and "On The Hotline" while rocking to the first-ever live performance of the group’s newest single "Body." The Florida natives even showed they haven't missed a step hitting their trademark gyrations in silk white pajamas with precision.

First ever live performance of Pretty Ricky’s newest single “Body” in NYC. #THEMILLENNIUMTOUR2020#PRETTYRICKY#BODY pic.twitter.com/Ac41pzC4KL

— ME VKV DON DVDV 🇭🇹 (@BlackDynamite91) March 10, 2020

"We know this is exactly what the people need, that good music and that good feel from back in the 2000s," says Spectacular who also performed on stage in nothing but a towel halfway through Pretty Ricky's set. "We want to bring that same feeling back and it feels great being back on this tour to give the fans what they want."

"Every single night we get to come out here and create a nostalgic experience for them," Baby Blue adds. "It's kind of like we were the soundtrack to their life and it feels good to create that lifetime experience. They get to relive their high school moments or maybe the first time they lost their virginity, their first kiss or the first time they went out with their homegirls."

A few years ago it seemed Pretty Ricky would be no more after they put their issues front and center on VH1's Love & Hip Hop: Miami and tried numerous times to fix their problems. There were even reports of a fight breaking out backstage between Pleasure P and Baby Blue at a show in Phoenix in 2018, but Baby Blue assures the guys are more than good this time around.

"It's a family and the thing about that is sometimes you might get into disputes, or whatever, then two hours later you're hugging. That's the strength in family and it's good that it's like that with us," he says as Slick 'Em cracks a joke with Spectacular to the side. "Sometimes in other businesses you might not be able to voice how you feel about certain things and how it gets received. With family, you can voice those feelings, but you have the option to make a change and go back to that family member and tell them I apologize and I love you. I think that's what keeps us together because it's a family-based business."

Keep up with Pretty Ricky at @PrettyRicky on Twitter.

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An interior view of Spotify Celebrates Black History Is Now Pop-Up on February 28, 2020 in New York City.
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Spotify

Spotify Opens 'Black History Is Now' Pop-Up In New York City

As Black History Month comes to a close, Spotify is taking the annual moment to another level. On Friday night (Feb. 28), Spotify hosted a VIP preview of their immersive exhibit-style pop-up celebrating "Black History Is Now: Phenomenal Black Music." The opening party was an exclusive first look at Spotify’s celebration of the songs and women that have shaped the way music is made, experienced, and replicated across the world.

The pop-up celebrates 32 phenomenal songs and women, with representation ranging across genres and generations—from Bob Marley and Mary J. Blige, to Lil Nas X and Lizzo. Opening to the public for one weekend only, the exhibit features a look into the songs and artists with stories curated by music journalist Jewel Wicker, interactive elements curated by the Spotify creative team, surprise merch drops, and performances and panels.

As part of the experience, Spotify also partnered with Levi’s to build out a customization station, where guests can pick out patches designed by Joe Freshgoods and Jamilla Okubo and have them pressed onto Levi’s jackets. After DJ Olivia Dope, delivered jams from the likes of Bel Biv Devoe, Spotify's Director and Head of Music Marketing at Spotify thanked her team and attendees for joining the festivities.

Shortly after,  6LACK hit the stage and performed jams like "Ex-Calling," "Pretty Little Fears," and more. The pop-up is open to the public in NYC on Saturday, February 29th  from 11 am to 8 pm and on Sunday, March 1st from 11 am to 7 pm. As for the free merch, everything will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more details and to RSVP, visit Blackhistoryisnow.splashthat.com.

For more information on the campaign, head over to blackhistoryisnow.com. Scroll down below for more pictures from last night's opening event and watch highlights from the event on VIBE's Instagram Stories.

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Event attendees admire the limited-edition Sprite Ginger Collection items at the Sprite drop event at Extra Butter NY, on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 in New York City.
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Sprite®

Sprite Launches Sprite Ginger Capsule Collection In New York City

Sprite is testing out another way for you to "obey your thirst" or "thirst for yours" with its new Sprite Ginger flavor. Introduced earlier this month, the addition to the soft drink's portfolio  "brings together the classic lemon-lime taste of Sprite with a hit of ginger flavor in every sip," according to a Coca Cola press release

To celebrate the brand's "spirit of reinvention," Sprite worked with veteran streetwear designer Jeff Staple and a team of young tastemakers and artists to develop the limited-edition “Sprite Ginger Collection,” inspired by reinvention and by the facets of culture permeating hip hop, fashion, music, and art. At a private event earlier this month at New York City's Extra Butter, Sprite debuted the brand's first limited-edition creative capsule by Staple and 9 other creatives, which consists of hoodies, jackets, jewelry, tees and more.

During a panel discussion moderated by Hearst style director, Tiffany Reid, Staple alongside creatives BLUBOY, Barbara Rego and Elan Watson chatted about drop culture, how young artists can make their mark in the industry, and the importance of reinvention.

"Having a [fashion] brand for 20+ years almost requires you, necessitates you to reinvent yourself because there's no way you can do the same thing for, forget 20 years, even 3 years before you're literally dead," shared Staple. "To me, the opposite of reinvention is death because you're not moving forward. You're just completely stagnant.

"So for me, it was always me constantly trying every few seasons to figure out a way to reinvent myself. And not in a way where I needed to stay relevant. I never felt a need to stay relevant, but I wanted to actually be able to connect authentically with the next generation of creators because that is actually what inspires me."

Dapper Dan, Amara La Negra, Mack Wilds, and Sway Calloway were among the celebrities and influencers who made an appearance at the event. Harlem's own Dave East performed a couple of his records while DJ Va$htie provided sounds throughout the night while spinning on the ones and twos.

Over the next few weeks, Sprite and Staple will continue the search for up-and-coming designers and host a series of "re-workshops" Extra Butter. Scroll down to see more pictures from the event. For more info on where you get a bottle of Sprite Ginger, head over the Sprite.com. As for where you can cop an item from the collection, follow @Sprite on Twitter and Instagram for surprise giveaways. You can also visit head over to StaplePigeon.com for more Sprite swag!

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