Hip Hop + Los Angeles
It's hard to imagine Los Angeles without hip hop and it's hard to imagine hip hop without Los Angeles. The two go together like pb and j,
a perfect compliment to one another that share a fabulous history together. We are all familiar with the East Coast/West Coast beef of
the 80's and 90's which ended with the tragic deaths of hip hop's biggest talents, Biggie and Tupac. Well, it's 2009, Barak Obama has
just been elected, the world is getting smaller and we would like to think that the East Coast/West Coast rivalry is all but a thing of
the past. All beef aside, Los Angeles is a city heavily saturated with great hip hop, local and otherwise. There is not one week that
goes by without numerous great hip hop shows taking place around town.
You can find established artists to local, rising underground talent performing on a weekly basis at venues around town. There is not a hip hop artist, established or otherwise, who will overlook performing in Los Angeles. Established artists such as the Roots, members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Busta Rhymes. EPMD, Public Enemy, Aesop Rock, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, KRS One, Kool Keith, Prince Paul, Jeru the Damaja, De La Soul, DJ Premier to name a few are frequently passing through town. Not to mention, the rake of local talent and hip hop festivals occuring on a regular basis.
Stones Throw Records based in Los Angeles is one of the most cutting-edge hip hop labels of recent years and offers a litany of quality artists who perform in Los Angeles on the regular. Everytime you turn around, another Madlib, Beat Konducta project is being produced and released. The label is run by Peanut Butter Wolf who often performs unique sets around town with label troops such as Aloe Blacc, Koushik, Baron Zen, Charizma, Dudley Perkins, Guilty Simpson, J Rocc, Madvillian, Oh No, Percee P, Quasimoto (Madlib), Wildchild and other great artists. Several promoters such as Joshu Silverstein, Sean Healy, YAMA Artist Management and others are frequently organizing great hip shows. For example, Silverstein has organized a fabulous show matching Aceylone, a founding member of the Freestyle Fellowship, with Aloe Blacc of the Stones Throw crew and DJ Jedi from the Digable Planets. You do not find shows like this in Kansas, Dorothy. Sean Healy Presents is another stalwart promoter providing great shows to LA residents including Houstonian, Paul Wall at the Knitting Factory, Dead Prez, J-Mo with DJ Quik, De La Soul, Missing Persons, Nappy Roots and many others. YAMA has given local residents the Elevate Tour presenting a host of taltented underground rappers.
Another gig not to be missed is the "We The People" Festival. In 2008, this festival included the RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, Murs, EPMD, Dilated Peoples, DJ Premier and many others. Considering festivals come around usually only once a year and sometimes can be hard to catch and are normally occur in less intimate settings, there are several weekly sets which are the cornerstone of the hip hop scene here in Los Angeles. These include but not limited to Afro Funké Thursdays with resident DJs Jeremy Sole, Glenn Red, presented by KCRW (NPR) which happens every Thursday at Zanzibar Live in Santa Monica. Other weekly hip hop sets include Bump Bump Wednesdays at Bar Copa, Natural High Wednesdays at Earlez Grille, The Root Down at Little Temple, DJ Adam 12 Thursdays, Good Vibez at Malone's, Freedom Sundays @ L'Scorpion, The Grasshopper (Monthly) @ Little Temple, Hot Butter Fridays with DJ Lady Sha @ Dakota Live Music Lounge and the list goes on and on.
There is certainly no shortage of shows in Los Angeles for hip hop lovers. Many venues around town host hip shows including the Viper Room in West Hollywood, the Troubadour in Hollyood, Key Club in West Hollywood, the Knitting Factory, Safari Sam's in Downtown LA, Leimert Park and Spaceland/The Echo in Echo Park to name a few. Considering the copious amount of hip hop shows in Los Angeles, keeping up with it all can be an extremely daunting task. However, they are great resources to keep you abreast of hip hop happenings around town. Fusicology www.fusicology.com and LA Hip Hop Calendar http://lahiphopcalendar.com are great online resources to keep you up to date with all the latests hip hop goodies. Fusicology also does a weekly newsletter delivering great gigs right to your inbox. Also, LA Weekly is great online and print resource for hip hop. Pick one up to browse gigs around town. It also behooves hip hop lovers to check in at www.StubDog.com, which offers half-price tickets occassionally to hip shows around town.
If Hip Hop has not died yet, it will never die. If you love it and support it, there is no better place to experience it other than Los Angeles. Whether your thing is Snoop or Jurassic 5 or Ohmega Watts, you can be sure your favorite hip hop artist will be hitting the LA circuit. Stay tuned.