Unapologetically in a New York state of mind, two friends, A.V. “Supreme” Perkins and Marian “Skinni Bee” Andoh-Clarke, embarked on a journey that would fuse their love for hip-hop, trivia and throwing dope parties. Their brainchild, University of Dope, didn’t just become a trivia game; it evolved into a cultural phenomenon, uniting hip-hop enthusiasts around the globe.
University of Dope’s saga began in 2004 at Central Connecticut State University when Perkins and Andoh-Clarke found themselves in debates about music. Little did they know these debates would spark a cultural phenomenon during an evening filled with drinks.
Towards the end of the night, Perkins challenged Andoh-Clarke to name all the Wu-Tang members, and to her surprise, she aced it. The lightbulb clicked on, and University of Dope was born.
An ode to the essence of hip-hop and cleverly packaged as a “disrespectful” trivia game, it recently celebrated its fourth anniversary with a rebrand dedicated to collaborating with creatives of color and Black-owned businesses.
How to Host a Night with University of Dope
According to Perkins, hosting the ultimate University of Dope night is an art. Whether you’re a hip hop mogul or a regular Joe, a vibe check requires a deck of your choice, University of Dope shot glasses and fresh-to-death U Dope Merch.
To up the ante, slide back into the ’90s or early 2000s with playlists on Spotify and a backdrop that screams hip hop nostalgia.
We vote to start with The Kickback in a Box. The activation includes University of Dope’s General Studies deck, Anatomy of R&B expansion pack and two UDOPE 1.5oz shot glasses or the University of Dope 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop Edition.
For a throwback experience, Perkins suggests everyone be 90s clothes down “to the socks.” Ladies, grab your throwback jersey dresses and gents lace up your Timbs. Disclaimer: no Dickeys are necessary, but Timbs are non-negotiable.
Throw on door-knocker earrings, rope chains, a Yankee fitted cap, or a bucket hat for that authentic hip-hop swag. Perkins also suggests going the extra mile by ordering ’90s-style cell phones from Amazon for that authentic touch.
University of Dope Hip-Hop Party Pairings
Are you looking for some inspiration for a birthday party or the holidays? Perkins recommends these pairings to hypnotize your guests. She has the perfect theme to represent New York City, the birthplace of hip hop. Let’s throwback to ‘94 á la Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls.
“We can’t have a bougie hip-hop party without Champagne,” says Perkins after recalling the famous line from Juicy, “Birthdays were the worst days. Now we sip Champagne when we thirsty.” She continues, “Add some East Coast hip-hop classics to your playlist and a t-bone steak, cheese eggs, and Welch’s grape’ for safe measure.”
To provide variety, think about what you or folks were drinking back in the day. Perhaps some cognac (or gin and juice, if you’re eager to stir the pot with a bit of West Coast flavor), or start the festivities with a bottle of Dom Perignon.
“Quarter waters, potato chips and Italian Ice are essentials” for a University of Dope party, declares Perkins. True to her do-it-yourself (DIY) nature, you can elevate the experience by creating a platter from scratch. Fill barrel-shaped containers with your drinks of choice and add a bit of food coloring or fruit extract for fun.
Cut and cook fresh chips and season them with traditional and innovative flavors, like Perkins’ favorite, salt and vinegar, or elevate your selection with truffle oil or salt. You can also create organic crushed or shaved ice mini servings for a nostalgic refresher.
The rule of thumb is to select a few lyrics about food or drinks representing your game pack and use those songs to set the mood and create dope pairings for your party.
Remember, University of Dope isn’t just a game; it’s a portable party. Grab the travel-sized decks for girls’ night in, bachelor parties or the after-party to a game of spades. University of Dope is a game that encapsulates the essence of Black culture, bringing back memories of an era that continues to shape the world 50 years later and counting.
To commemorate the beginning of an era, it’s worth picking up the University of Dope 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop Edition before it sells out. If you’re curious who Perkins’ University of Dope dream team would be, Issa Rae and 50 Cent top her list.