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D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2

Source: Ravie B / The TNTH

Kameron McCullough’s phone is blowing up, but the D’usse Palooza founder makes time for a few questions. Like did he ever imagine an invite-only party with friends in his Harlem apartment could turn into a full-blown concert in Midtown, NYC with celeb guests that highlighted a certain Brooklyn rapper of note?

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2

Source: Ravie B / The TNTH

“We just wanted to have fun, party with each other,” explains Kam to Hip-Hop Wired while backstage. “It just so happened that a few of my friends [are] very influential people via social media and stuff. Something cool, we make a little bit of change off it. I didn’t see it maybe for the first two or three years that it could be this.”

The “this” he’s referring to the latest D’usse Palooza, which went down Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018, at the Hammerstein at Manhattan Center, its second time at the venue. If you don’t know, D’usse Palooza is basically a touring party/concert, hitting festivals like Made In America and cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami throughout the year.

Recently hitting its sixth anniversary, the initial gathering of friends that include writer Kazeem Fayumide, blogger/host Nile “Low Key” Ivey, DJ/producer Austin Millz, and Rory Farrell of The Joe Budden Podcast fame amongst others, has spawned much more thanks to business smarts, influence, and particularly good timing.

“Building a brand via social media was really starting to pop in ’13, ’14,” explains Kam. “I remember when I saw it and that was when we went from Tammany Hall to the Well in Brooklyn. We went from 600 people stuffed in Tammany to 1800 people. That was the moment for me, ‘Oh this is something.’”

The Hammerstein, which is only part of the Manhattan Center, is the shindig’s biggest venue to date and is basically now its home.

Adds Kam, “As a New York City kid, I would come to Hammerstein for big shows, rap concerts. Hammerstein to me was like a Mecca, Manhattan Center, that’s 34th Street. I couldn’t ask for better partners in this situation because it is a full-on production. It’s a show. The screens, the setup, the pyrotechnics, it’s a show. So with that, you need the right people to be aligned with. They’ve been doing this forever and it’s an independently owned venue in Manhattan. When you walk in the building, this feels bigger than a party should feel.”

As the party grew, Kam admits he and his business partner Benner Hall had to become more business-minded, buckling down to book new venues and acts, which name Wale and Pusha T in the past as stars who have graced the D’usse Palooza stages. The OG team of the aforementioned founders play their roles while the agency that serves as the umbrella is called The TNTH, its name a homage to W.E.B. DuBois’ concept of the Talented Tenth.

As renown for the party, formerly dubbed Hennypalooza, grew, the namesake Hennessy brand never aligned itself with the organizers. It appeared to be a win-win to the average person if the brands joined forces, but it just never manifested.

“Things like that are weird,” says Kam. “Logic says, it’s a no-brainer, it’s in your backyard, everyone you ‘target’ is there, it’s a layup. But, what I’ve figured out is brands are gonna do brands man. At the end of the day, if they don’t feel it, they don’t gotta move on it. In their mind, they’re getting all this free promo anyway. I would say it’s our fault, but sh*t, we didn’t know it was going to be this.”

But others saw the untapped potential. About a year ago, via Roc Nation VP Lenny Santiago, a deal to partner up was put forth and Jay-Z agreed to formally bring the D’usse cognac brand into the fold.

“It’s crazy what a little support would do,” says Kam. “With the D’usse situation, it’s night and day because you have someone who has been at the forefront of our culture for 20 years. He sees everything. He reads everything. He knew about us in our third year. Not to say we weren’t popping, but we weren’t like that. So for him to know that just shows me that one, he does his homework, [and] two, he is who he is for a reason. The partnership has been lovely. They just support us, we’re aligned. It just different when someone gets it.”

Hova even came through the latest party, kicking it backstage with the team as well as Meek Mill and Joe Budden.

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2

Source: Ravie B / The TNTH

Says Kam, “It feels good to have somebody you can go to, somebody you can reference. Someone who’s done it. He’s the idol of my generation. For that, it’s been great. I’m hoping for many years of this, this partnership and collaboration. This is just opening up the floodgates.

Drink up.

Check out more photos from the latest D’usse Palooza, which included a performance from T-Pain and DJ sets from DJ Mister Cee and DJ Clark Kent at the Hammerstein at Manhattan Center, in the gallery.

Photo: Ravie B/The TNTH

1. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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2. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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3. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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4. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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5. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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6. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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7. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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8. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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9. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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10. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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11. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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12. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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13. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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14. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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15. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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16. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2 d’usse palooza hammertein 2

17. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2 d’usse palooza hammertein 2

18. D’usse Palooza Hammertein 2

D'usse Palooza Hammertein 2 Source:The TNTH

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