Despite forecasts of economic and music industry gloom and doom, for the talented and lucky the good times still roll. So it went that last night's launch for songwriter/producer Rico Love's new label, Division 1, was a relaxed but still definitely upscale affair.
Industry luminaries and wheelers-and-dealers hit South Beach to pack the roof lounge of Red the Steakhouse (which was, luckily, equipped with portable heaters), where the smell of strong Botran rum mojitos, passed hors d'oeuvre, and, uh, power hung in the air.
In an only-in-Miami touch, celebs walking the red carpet were greeted by a bit of human decor: two ladies in skimpy lingeried hired to lounge on a pedestal and alternately pillowfight, and pretend to read magazine covers featuring Rico himself.
Those hip-hop A-listers -- hey, let's boldface 'em -- included producers Danja and Jim Jonsin, Fat Joe, and, of course, the much-hyped host of the party, longtime Rico mentor Usher. Mr. Raymond, though, seemed intent on keeping the focus on the man of the hour, preferring to pose for group photos and keeping his sunglasses on.
Rico himself seemed amped but humbled by the whole affair, arriving with his new Division 1 artist Young Chris -- but also his mom. Other Division 1 artists appearing were Sophie Green and local girl Cherlise, whose music we hope ends up being as entertaining and offbeat as their style. Check out Cherlise's crazy Pucci-print jumpsuit in the photos.
After the press gauntlet in the lobby, the party moved definitively to the roof, where DJ Affect played a long run of millennial R&B (Next's "Wifey," anyone?) mixed with Rico's current chart-toppers, including of course, the always-fresh "Sweet Dreams" by Beyonce.
Go-go dancers in Vaudevillian and circus gear shimmied half-naked on boxes like it was still 80 degrees, Fat Joe did a little bounce to Faith Evans' "Love Like This," and caterers scurried with an endless supply of crab legs, and of course, bottle after bottle of champagne. If a party could serve as a coronation, this was it.