Hennessy Artistry 10th Anniversary: A Decade of Excellence in the “Art of Blending”
“They wanna know my role model, it’s in a brown bottle – Hennessy,” 2Pac, one of the greatest rap artists of all time, raps on ‘Hennessy,’ a track off his posthumous 2004 album, Loyal to the Game.
Five years after that album was released, Hennessy Artistry was debuted in Nigeria to celebrate the best of talents that exist in the country’s artistic community. 10 years down the line, Hennessy artistry has helped rappers, producers and Afro-pop artists create enduring partnerships and genre-defining songs.
Who can forget in a hurry the Hennessy Artistry tracks that had Nigerians jumping from ; “Like a bottle” by the King of Afro-Juju; Sir Shina Peters, international recording artist; Nneka, MI, Bez, Kas and VS Class Alumnus; Ice Prince, “Toast to the Good Life” by Eldee, Tiwa Savage and Banky W, “Bartender” by MI & Naeto C, “Dance Go” by Wizkid & Tuface Idibia, “Raise Your Glasses” by D’banj, “No be Water” by Burna Boy, Praiz and Vector and “Live Life” featuring the electric trio of Olamide, Timaya and Falz.
The platform has also served as an incubator for gifted rappers such as Phlow, Vader The Wildcard.
Hennessy Artistry has become a common fixture in Nigerian social circles – creating important moments, exposing talent, and creating collaborations across various music genres via the Hennessy Artistry Cyphers, VS Class, Artistry Club tours and the Hennessy Artistry Finale Concert.
However, the 10 years of Hennessy Artistry in Nigeria transcends just the creation of artistic content that pop. The platform has left an indelible impact on the urban culture in Nigeria – creating and defining pop culture trends.
“Our focus on Hennessy Artistry is much less about music and much more about urban culture and its different facets. It seems that the focus is on hip-hop due to its prominence in Nigerian urban culture,” Oluwole Awoleke, the brand manager of Hennessy and Spirits in Nigeria says.
“Hennessy identifies with the Nigerian people, our ambition and our never-say-die spirit. The brand has been a part of key milestones within Nigerian urban culture facilitating and creating unforgettable consumer experiences via the Artistry platform.
“The result is that the brand is now an integral part of Nigeria’s social fabric – a brand with a proud legacy that looks boldly to the future just like the Nigerian people.”
The affinity the premium spirit brand has for the Nigerian urban and pop culture is evident in the near-constant mentioning and visibility it enjoys in popular songs and videos in the last decade.
In return, the Nigerian market has been kind to Hennessy, lending its culture and resilient people to the growth of the brand.
“[Nigeria is] a market that is integral to any brand that wants to remain relevant and grow,” Awoleke says. “This is especially important for a premium spirits brand like Hennessy.”
Hennessy Artistry’s longevity and success is a testament to the strength of the brand’s devotion to strengthen and promote artistic content within the Nigerian creative space. It also signals its commitment to provide a platform that enables Nigerian creative entrepreneurs to bring the “Art of Blending” to life.
Hennessy has collaborated with one of Nigeria’s finest urban artist Osa ‘Osa Seven’ Okunkpolor to create a limited-edition bottle in commemoration of Hennessy Artistry’s 10th anniversary. The stunning carafe tagged “A Blend of Our Best” is a visual representation of the Art of Blending – it seeks to capture the beauty of who we are as a people, our boldness & vibrancy. With his Afrocentric pop art graffiti style, Osa Seven uses shapes and patterns to represent our uniqueness as individuals. Each bottle within the limited edition has a unique sequential number on it.
The choice of Osa Seven, is anchored on the mutual values he shared with the cognac brand.
“[Osa Seven] is a pioneer in multi-disciplinary collaborations, notably between visual art, music and dance. He is committed to setting an example on a community level and effecting positive change through self-expression. He encapsulates the ethos of the Hennessy brand and our tagline of Never Stop, Never Settle,” Awoleke says.
Beyond those values, Osa Seven’s art was birthed in a community which was once a mecca for would-be hip-hop artists in Nigeria. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, FESTAC Town, Lagos, was prominent in the creative space, contributing but not limited to locations for movies and videos, and raising hip-hop stars such as Plantashun Boiz (read 2Baba, Blackface and Faze), Azadus, Ruff Rugged and Raw and more recently, Ycee.
The town itself was founded in 1977 when Nigeria hosted the world festival of African arts and culture. FESTAC epitomised (and still does to an extent) the latent artistic qualities Hennessy Artistry promotes. . .
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