HUMBLE BEGINNINGS: Long: We all kind of came together through mutual friends and college. Sam and I attended Morehouse together, and we got to know the others from being out at the same clubs on a regular basis.

Duvall: We wanted to open a club like Natalie's from the show "New York Undercover," but then one of us looked at the other and said, how are you going to have a club if you never threw a party before? So then we said, let's try that.

Jenkins: We started with a biweekly professional networking happy hour at Cada Vez in February 2002. Once our biweekly party started getting exposure, we saw the need to do it weekly. We ended up taking our party over to Ozio in May 2002. It turned into a 5-to-10 p.m. happy hour where people ended up leaving around midnight.

MONEY MATTERS: Jenkins: To start the business, we took our own personal income -- $200 per partner -- to cover expenses for the first event. That money was mainly for marketing -- fliers, handbills. We were using our computers to e-mail our collective network of friends to get the word out. Internet marketing is one of the biggest tools to use in this area.

STREET CRED: Duvall: Because we come from a grass-roots base, that's the way we carry ourselves as far as parties go. We're known for being a part of our own parties.

Long: There are other companies that believe if you put a DJ in a room, people will flock; it's not that easy. It takes marketing and having the right people. We're more hands-on about music selection, about the right DJs and making sure the atmosphere is right.

Clyburn: Anybody can go to a club, set up a deal with the owner and drop money for fliers. But the question is: Does anybody know you?

Jenkins: You must have extensive exposure to the night-life scene and really be out there seven days a week to understand what's going on. You have to know the people. Use your ingenuity and be different. People are always looking for something new.

Clyburn: It's like anything else -- you can read a book, take a class, but if you don't have street savvy, it's not going to work.

IN THE HOUSE: Jenkins: If you're throwing your own party and your audience is urban, mainstream hip-hop music is the best to play. Mainstream is what you hear being played on the radio the most, songs like "So Seductive" by Tony Yayo and 50 Cent. You want to play music people can react to, what's considered "hot" in clubs. And location is big. If you have a back yard, being able to party inside and out back is a plus. You definitely want libations, and card games are always big -- spades and the like. And make sure your house is clean.

OUT AND ABOUT: Jenkins: Fridays are big for clubbing. For a party that caters to the masses, Love is the place. Second would be Avenue. It has size, three floors, and caters to 3,000 people. If you're not feeling the club at all, there are a lot of people who go to the bars at the Boulevard at the Capital Centre. Those are the people who still want to be festive but on a lower key. H2O is clearly the main spot for Saturdays, but I'd also suggest Pearl, which is more intimate, not a party for the masses. H2O is like the Wal-Mart for Saturday nights.

As told to Y.B. Thompson

The IDC Group will host a party for Howard Homecoming Friday, doors at 9 p.m. Rappers Juelz Santana and Jim Jones will perform. Avenue, 649 New York Ave. NW. $20. 202-347-8100.

Perhaps you've seen them on the dance floor? Rashad "Ra-Ra" Jenkins, Sam Duvall, Chaka Long and Scotty

"Supa Scotty" Clyburn not only plan parties in the area, they're regulars on the club circuit.