A fight broke out in the freight elevator on the way up to the penthouse, leaving a grip of decked out 20-somethings lusting for the okay signal (which never came). Stragglers, posted up outside on cars and railings, took to the side entrance to duck the liters of water thrown from the surrounding buildings above. They hoped their luck would be better off if they said some magic password for guaranteed entry to the top floor. For what? 40oz Bounce of course.
The once word of mouth event evolved into a RSVP-for-top-floor soirée, with cops doing circles around the block waiting for the prime opportunity to shut everything down. A few stories up, through the glass doors of the top floor of the SlamxHype building, Bronx native 40oz Van sat quietly, basking in the glory of the success of his latest 40oz Bounce event. Some would call the humble man a socialite, but Van thinks himself a business man, hustling his way to his current frequent flyer lifestyle through the success of his annual event, clothing line, and love for the female body via his shameless NSFW Twitter posts (Peep).We caught up with the NYC mastermind to chop it up about the revival of the 40oz Bounce event, the stagnant state of NYC, and who runs current youth culture.
Mass Appeal: The 40oz Bounce event was packed this year! How did this all get started for those who aren’t familiar?
40oz Van: The 40oz Bounce started off as a 30 person BBQ Uptown in Riverside Park (Washington Heights) four years ago. Honestly, I just wanted to bring all the homies from every borough together. My girl initially came up with the idea of throwing a BBQ, and the best way of getting everyone to come out was by running through the contacts in my phone. Word of mouth and social media is mad powerful, by the fourth one I had 4,000+ kids flooding a park. It’s a melting pot. All walks of people come through with the same intentions: having fun and meeting new people. Aside from all that, it’s always been free and beer on me.
MA: You had over 2,500 RSVP’s in the first few hours after you posted the link on your Twitter. What were your main concerns for the event this year?
40: My main concern was the NYPD shutting me down, which thankfully they didn’t. I’ve been blessed with a dope following; everyone knows to leave any bullshit at home. It was an amazing turn out. I got to see people I haven’t seen since the last 40oz Bounce, four years ago, and also tons of new faces. I capped out at 6,500 RSVPs in two days, that’s love, and I’m very appreciative for that. I’ve always turned to social media for promotion. Back then, I was taking advantage of Facebook to send out e-invitations. This time around, Twitter did all the work for me. Expansion is key. As long as you keep the same organic feel to what you first created, you can’t go wrong.
MA: You spoke with a lot of different creatives at the event. What words stood out most to you from all your conversations?
40: I got hit off with the usual “Let’s work” convos, but it felt amazing to hear all the genuine thank you’s. That shit is an ill feeling, being able to bring people together like that and leaving them with a lasting memory.
MA: Would you consider yourself a business man or a personality?
40: I’m a hustler. I’ve got to juggle being the personality at the same time as being the business man— there’s no on/off switch for that. To keep it real with you, other than a few cases of beer, everything else was out of pocket. In the future, ideally, I’d love to bring in sponsors and figure out how we can benefit off each other, but for now this past one was covered by 40oz NYC.
MA: Who is in your circle thats most important to your movement? What moves are worth highlighting right now?
40: Crystal Crespo (his girlfriend) & Corey Kamenoff. Crystal keeps my mind right and Corey helps me manage my brand. Without him, things wouldn’t be as smooth as they are. Got a few random big collabs in the works that I can’t speak on at the moment. I’m all about going left when everyone’s going right. It’s been slow lately. But as far as coming up and making noise, that 1992 brand (1992gear.com) is doing it up in the streets.
MA: How do you feel about the stagnate state of NYC in terms of producing culturally? Do you feel like NYC has lost its ability to create outside of its comfort zone.
40: New York isn’t what it use to be; a lot of the come ups are nonexistent nowadays. I love NYC, that’ll always be home base, but I’m on a plane twice a week now expanding, planting that seed in other cities. Everyone’s attention spans are so short you gotta be able to entertain people from every aspect, and be familiar with how other people move, not just from your city.
MA: Judging by the turnout from the event, you generally reach out to the youth culture. What and who defines the current youth culture ?
40: A$AP Rocky & Kanye still got the youth on smash. You can see their influence everywhere, on and offline. Fashion wise, it’s still high fashion normcore & sports wear season— everyone’s cozy. I wanna wrap this interview up by saying thank you to everyone who fucks with the kid and for all the love people have been showing me for years now. There’s a hustle out here for everyone. Get your shit right and don’t procrastinate on million dollar day dreams.