Cupset DC, an arts and culture events marketing brand, partnered with Syce Game and Bud Light for their second C.U.P.S party of the year this past Sunday. I’d received my early invite from Bronson Beverly (AKA Dubb B) and was dead set on going when I heard the location for the event was Blind Whino, a trendy art gallery in SW, DC. I should mention that Dubb B is one of the founders of Syce Game, another local brand that has become a movement since its inception a few years back. And while Syce Game’s brand has been booming, Cupset, founded by Sean Martae Williams and handful of other native DC creatives, has been booming right along with them. They’ve been partnering to create the type of events that the District’s young taste makers crave most. And now that Cupset DC’s C.U.P.S series is back on deck they’re proving that if you’ve got the cups, they’ve got the juice.
So here’s the recap.
As I entered the gallery and passed droves of narrow-bodied chics in dark lipstick while fending off a few MILF lovers (I may have been the oldest chic there), I was taken aback by the style factor of the whole shindig. Colorful hairstyles, vintage leather and expertly done makeup was abound, and the looks paired well with the overall aesthetic of the space. Art was on the walls, cherry blossoms fashioned from pink tissue paper was strewn across the ceiling of the dance floor and artsy kids leaned coolly on the graffitied walls as they waited for the Bud Light promo girls and the other bartenders to dole out beer into their red Solo cups. It was lit, and what I’ve come to expect from Syce Game; only, this was Cupset DC. And I never would’ve gone to the event had it not been for my experiences with Syce Game’s parties…or so I thought.
Let’s back up.
See, the brands are so similar I thought Cupset DC was a spinoff of Syce Game. But that’s incorrect. Though Dubb B calls Cupset DC the”brother brand” to his Syce Game brainchild, he cites his closeness to the brand’s members and his support of their movement as the reason for that. In reality, both brands throw events that match the look and feel of the basement parties full of black scene kids I used to go to in Brooklyn, NY in the early 2000s but have always had a hard time finding here in DC. So when my little sister told me her buddy (Dubb B) from high school threw parties with the type of music and people we dig–the types of parties where no one is likely to get shot–I was all in. Good thing too, because each soiree brought me a fresh experience. There was that black light party at Velvet Lounge. Then, a jam packed Halloween costume party in someone’s apartment in a questionable northeast neighborhood. And eventually, a springtime kickoff in an art gallery that used to serve as a church. The locations are always a pleasant surprise, the crowds are always diverse, and the chic-to-dick ratio is never off.
The events were so good, in fact, that I’d actually attended some Cupset DC events thinking they were solely produced by Syce Game. It’s terrible, I know. But in my defense, I’m a writer and my eyes doth fail me when reading tiny text on digital flyers.
Anyway, I totally stopped through a recent Cupset DC brunch called, aptly enough, ‘F*ck Up Some Waffles: A Future Brunch’ that featured two of my favorite things; Future’s music–and waffles. Luckily, cross promotion between two strong brands is never a bad thing. Actually, their turnouts are proof that both see more coins that way.
Also, cross-marketing could be why both brands are consistently able to attract the elements they want. That means Cupset gets to vibe off Syce Game’s wave, and vice versa. That in itself teaches me a lesson about branding: Build a lifestyle brand by being the purveyor of the wave you want to see. Since both brands were built on the concept that its founders want to party and connect with people like themselves, a niche market has thus been filled. As a result, the Blind Whino was packed with artists, bloggers, and DMV-famous folk of all kind last Sunday. Like this singer, who also hosted the event.
The DJs at this event had the most ideal spot in the house. Flanked by security , the booth was an open air semi-circle covered in graffiti just north of the dance floor. There, Cupset’s official DJ, DJ Teck DJ Swerve and DJ Stevo alternated playing the typical, bass-heavy fare one would expect for the demographic there. And that roster is one that’s been vetted, so the sounds were on point. Syce Game’s DJs Yxung Kellz opened and closed the event and DJ FREEZ was on the mic for a bit too.
Second only to the music was another dope party feature–an iPhone replica that stood a little over five feet and was set on permanent selfie mode, serving as the event’s photo booth. Only after we’d taken the most random-asf-pics ever were we informed that all those pictures would be on Cupset’s Facebook. I’ll admit that after hearing that news, eyeing the photos for bad angles and smudged eyeliner caused my baby sister and I some anxiety. But I got over it. ‘Sides, if I ever leave a party looking the exact same way I came in, I probably didn’t have fun, anyway. And I definitely had fun at Cupset, despite the insane fact that I didn’t actually drink at all.
And I think that was just it. A balanced sort of fun was presumably had by all. I think it’s the perfect mix of good music and hidden recreational drug use that creates the cocktail that makes the Cupset crowd what it is: young, fresh and green–in a good way. Sure, someone stole my little sister’s credit card there…but it was an event sponsored by Bud Light–not a fucking convent. There’s always some bad apples waiting to prey on a faded few at most parties.
And since I’m not judging the event on the moral misgivings of one individual, I highly recommend the Cupset series. They’ll be rolling out more events this summer, so get fly and show up fashionably late. And as with all parties, putting your credit card in your bra for safekeeping is optional. But bottom line is, it’s a good time to believe in C.U.P.S–and in Cupset.