Last Night: The Hip Hop Soda Shop Is Bubblin'

Last night marked the beginning of a new type of social experience. There were tons of flashing (flashing) lights (lights) courtesy of a jam-packed media pit, more flat screen TVs than a Best Buy, cocktail prices that make sense and the Miami requisite - celebrities of the silver screen, the small screen and of course the music scene. But the brightest star of the night was the mega-watt Hip Hop Soda Shop – the first publicly traded Hip-Hop company and easily your new favorite spot to grab an order of Chicken Quesa-DJ’s and an ice cold Melon Ball Bond Issues.

Last night’s grand opening was packed with everyone from the business set to B-boys and girls, familiar club faces and the I-haven’t-been-out-in-years crew - but all eyes were focused on the VIP area where celebs and their respective entourages held court. Fat Joe was getting busy on NBA Live, and eventually had to hand over his massive chain to one of his boys so he could really get down. Fabolous was the epitome of cool as he played it low-key while Eric B. & Rakim blasted away, and reality manwhore Tango was forced to cha-cha from his table once FUBU founder Daymond John came through. But it was all love, because Tango proceded to walk around the club posing for made-for-MySpace flicks with his “fans.” Special Ed was near the dance floor wiping sweat from his brow, Prince Markie Dee proved that he’s a better host than anyone could dream of, and R&B newbie Casely proved that his flossin’ skills are second to none. And when screen siren Meagan Good showed up with a gaggle of girls, men and women alike took the time to enjoy the view. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, the President and CEO of H3 - the company that owns the Hip Hop Soda Shop, started the night off with a rousing speech, followed by performances by Grind Mode, up-and-coming MC Rahsaan, Casely, Fat Joe, Fabolous, and Special Ed.

The walls of our city’s newest urban hang suite are lined with flat screens begging for you to indulge in a friendly game of Grand Theft Auto via the wireless controllers dotting the tables, the bar is huge but not too big for you to catch the bartender’s eye, and the music mixed hip-hop from the 80’s up until today. The night was orchestrated by party promoters Michael Madd and Abebe Lewis who already dominate the SoBe and downtown scenes with their unique brand of events called Miami Live - but last night they were just as comfy throwing down in an unsuspecting Miami Gardens neighborhood. The duo arranged for a car service to pick up lil’ ol me – as if they knew that I may overdose on fun and need a chauffeured ride home. Well, they were right because just walking into this huge bar/restaurant/performance space/gaming area was enough to intoxicate my senses with a cocktail of live music, Xbox mania, great food, and the cool crowd - shakin’ not stirred.

See for yourself at 2710 N.W. 167th Street, Miami Gardens, 33054. Or www.hiphopsodashop.com

Raina McLeod

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