Hip-Hop Hits The High Seas With Sixthman’s Rock The Bells Cruise

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HIP-HOP PARADISE: Sixthman partnered with Rock the Bells on its November cruise. Photo courtesy of Sixthman

For 22 years, Sixthman has navigated a lucrative niche by offering passionate fans lifestyle and music-themed cruises that are right in their wheelhouse. For the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, the company’s upcoming Nov. 13-17 “Rock the Bells” cruise from Miami to the Bahamas, produced in partnership with the LL Cool J-founded hip-hop brand of the same name, is right on course and sold out even before a lineup was announced.

The four-day “Rock The Bells Cruise: A Hip-Hop Experience,” will be hosted by Roxanne Shanté & Torae with a lineup that includes Rick Ross, Lil Jon, Big Boi, DJ Jazzy Jeff, MC Lyte, Ghostface Killah, Trina & Trick Daddy, Just Blaze, Big Daddy Kane, Too $hort, Slick Rick, DJ Spinderella, Mannie Fresh, Pete Rock, DJ Quik, Rah Digga, EPMD, Bun B, Bahamadia, Grandmaster Caz, DJ Scratch, The Finisher Mister Cee, DJ EPPS, DJ Nina 9, Grandmaster Dee, Technician The DJ, and DJ Critical Hype. Kid Capri will present a pool deck party series. 

The cruise sold out in about five days and there’s now a waiting list, according to Sixthman senior marketing specialist Taniqua Martin.

“This was an event that didn’t announce a lineup. There wasn’t even a tease,” Martin said. “We just put it out to the public and it sold out very quickly. Clearly, there’s a demand and the hip-hop community is excited about a cruise that speaks to every aspect of the culture.”

Selling out without a lineup is not as unusual as one might think, given the passion of fans who make up the music-cruise fanbase. 

“We really strive to bring together those superfans and so when we have events it’s not surprising just off of the name,” Martin said. “With Rock the Bells in particular, it’s a well-respected name in hip-hop culture so fans knew there was something great they could expect here. It was a no-brainer to put your money down and lock in your space.”

Taniqua Martin | Photo courtesy of Sixthman

Hip-hop is a relatively new cruise genre for Sixthman, which has produced the “KISS Kruise” and the ongoing “Chris Jericho’s Rock N Wrestling Rager at Sea,” which made teaming with Rock the Bells an ideal move, Martin said.

“Even the name ‘Rock the Bells’ comes from a classic LL Cool J song. It just speaks to their work in the genre,” she said. “They really are the premier partner for something like this.”

Sixthman, a partner of Norwegian Cruise Line, priced the cabins affordably on the low end at $1,099. The most elaborate offerings go for around $6,000 and include amenities like private decks.

“We make sure our pricing is comparable with a four-day vacation,” Martin said.

Guests have the option of securing their cabin with a $100 deposit and have options to stretch out payments over the course of a year, she explained.

“We really make sure people see they can get everything they really wanted, a dream vacation, essentially, with one of our cruises,” Martin said. “It’s really a great value, especially when you consider the cost of a traditional vacation or a traditional music festival.”

The cruise will accommodate just over 2,000 people, excluding artists, production and the ship’s crew, Martin said.  

“It was essential that we included a range of hip-hop’s icons and showcase their artistry with fans through unforgettable musical experiences during the 50th anniversary,” said Rock The Bells’ head of marketing Jamaal Orr. “There will be live demos and experiences for attendees to learn about the creative process from some of hip-hop’s best MCs, DJs and producers.”  

The offerings won’t stop there.

 “We’ll be taking over every corner of the ship with pool deck parties, MC and DJ battles, rap karaoke, interactive graffiti, live podcasts, roller skating, open mic nights, movie screenings, masterclasses, art galleries, custom grillz, tattoos, basketball, The Trill Mealz Food Court, and much more,” Orr said. 

As for production elements, Martin said the team curating the experience will touch every element of hip-hop culture including fashion and food, along with allowing fans to have face-to-face, personal moments with some of the artists. She added, “I can’t give too much away because we want to offer a surprise element, but I can confidently say this event is going to be like no other that hip-hop fans have experienced.”