Hip-Hop Legends...Ten Top Hip-Hop Clubs to check out!
"Hip-hop is the last true folk art." - Mos Def
Like said folk art referenced in the quote above, trying to pin down the exact origins of hip-hop music is pretty much impossible. Like rock and the blues, it draws on a hundred (and counting) different influences.
It's largely accepted that hip-hop started in the Bronx, NY at house and street parties. Deejays turned up the heat by using two turntables and incorporating scratching, instrumental tracks and beatboxing; later on, rappers added spoken word over the beats. In 1979, "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang became a mainstream hit, introducing hip-hop and its cultural vibe far beyond the confines of New York City.
Since those early days, hip-hop has continually evolved, from distinct East and West Coast sounds, to "gangsta", "hardcore" and "Southern" rap, and even spilling over into pop and country music. The great thing about hip-hop is that there's always someone new pushing the edges and coming up with something different. But the old-school stuff is still a whole lot of fun to hang (or dance) to. From dive bars to clubs with a serious dress code, here are ten spots across the country that hip-hop fans will want to check out.
1. bOb Bar, New York City, NY
Located on the Lower East Side, this dive joint offers up tribute to some of the best rappers of all time. The DJs are also known to spin deep cuts you haven't heard in ages (if ever). The dance floor heats up fast, so prepare to hydrate in a serious way. Despite the sweaty conditions, fans regularly give it big thumbs-up for the music it plays.
2. Webster Hall, New York City, NY
This historic place first opened in 1886, exactly a hundred years before Run-DMC recorded "My Adidas." It's since become one of the go-to places for entertainment, featuring some of the biggest DJs in the world. Their regular Thursday night House Party is the biggest hip-hop event in the city.
3. S.O.B.'s, New York City, NY
It stands for "Sounds of Brazil," but despite its place in the pantheon of Latin music, it's devoted to world music; in fact, its slogan is "the Home of Universal Music." And naturally, hip-hop is a huge part of that. Kanye West, Common and Drake are just a few of the artists who got a huge springboard performing there. So you never know what future star will be breaking ground on its legendary stage.
4. Magic City, Atlanta, GA
The thing about this place isâ€¦.it's a strip club. But for three decades, it's been hugely famous in the Atlanta hip-hop scene. Dozens of artists tend to hang out there, and its not unusual for producers to bring a freshly cut track straight from the studio to gauge crowd reaction.
5. MJQ Concourse, Atlanta, GA
There are tons of clubs in the ATL, but this one regularly gets raves for the music it plays. It's underground - literally - and a little hard to find, but once you're there, prepare to dance and hang with totally cool people who love the vibe. A real throwback to some of hip-hop's golden days.
6. The Shrine, Chicago, IL
This ultra-swanky club has been voted the #1 hip-hop club in the Windy City (although some folks on Yelp disagree). But the legendary names - like Lil' Kim and KRS-One - who grace its stage are undisputed. And it's a great place to dance and get up-close views of the artists.
7. First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
Since the 1970s, this club has been a hugely important destination for music in the Twin Cities. Prince is one of its most famous "graduates" - but artists including U2, Metallica and Eminem have used the stage to launch a career. Up and coming hip-hop artists are regularly showcased here in the venue's mission to keep music alive and growing.
8. Drai's Nightclub, Las Vegas, NV
In the pantheon of hip-hop, Sin City isn't exactly counted among the most influential cities. But there's no doubt that this elegant mega-club on the Strip presents not just some of the top DJs, but HUGE names on a regular basis. A quick look at their calendar showed appearances by Ludacris, Nicki Minaj and The Weekend. And that was just over one week.
9. Playhouse Nightclub, Los Angeles, CA
It's not as bright and shiny as other clubs in L.A., but it's been ranked as the one of the best in the world. Located on Hollywood Boulevard, you'll spot more than a few celebrities while waiting on line. The club offers electronic music on one floor, but the other floor is a hip-hop paradise. Snoop Dogg recently appeared there.
10. The Dime, Los Angeles, CA
The complete opposite of the Playhouse, this is a little bar that serves up old-school hip-hop for those who love the genre. It can get crowded, and you'll probably stand - but the vibe is known for being fantastic. Everyone just wants to chill. Or dance.