If you want to hear rap and hip-hop on a weekend night in the City of Angels, your options are limited. If you’re willing to dress up, pay a cover and order bottle service, you can head to the clubs in Hollywood. If you’d prefer something more laid-back, you could choose a hipster dive bar, but be prepared for a track list of overplayed, run-of-the-mill, old-school jams. Or you could opt for a warehouse party filled with kids half your age.
“There seems to be no middle ground in the rap club scene,” says British DJ and promoter David Sadeghi, better known in the hip-hop scene as Davey Boy Smith. Luckily for hip-hop heads, Sadeghi has a solution to this problem in the form of a monthly rap dance party called Southern Hospitality at Los Globos.
The event, which has been held in London in various forms and iterations since 2004, is the antithesis of what one would normally expect from a rap party. It’s not scene-y or gaudy, but laid-back and welcoming. The dance floor is huge and if you want to twerk sans smirks and Miley Cyrus references, this is the place to do it (there’s even mirrors on the walls so you can watch your performance).
For a rap party, this is a singularly unique night. It’s the kind of fete where you can have a girls' night out and not deal with dance floor sharks. You’ll hear old-school, new-school and obscure jams, sourced not just from the South, but from all over the country. Even the bartenders fist-pump and do a few wiggles from behind the bar when a really good song comes on. There's not even a cover charge.
At last month's event, Southern Hospitality's resident DJ's, Sadeghi and Suspect (a.k.a. Conrad Loebl) rang in the night with some solid classics from the last few years, like Young Dro's "FDB" followed by Rocko's "U.O.E.N.O." While partygoers were dancing to Bollywood music at an event downstairs, Southern Hospitality guests were grinding and two-stepping in the dimly-lit, cavernous space upstairs. Bucket hats were rampant and the crowd morphed into slow dance mode when LoveRance's "Up!" started playing. Multi-colored lights showered the dance floor and if there had been a cat at Los Globos, it would have had the time of its life. The crowd was so mesmerized by the music and preoccupied with dancing and/or head bobbing, that when someone shattered a glass on the floor, nobody even bothered to clean it up.
“We’re just championing the music that we love,” says Sadeghi, who has booked everyone from OJ da Juiceman and Project Pat to Young Thug and Yung Gleesh. “There’s no real agenda. It’s just a passion for us and something that we’ve had some success with, which we’re really happy about.”
Southern Hospitality, which now encompasses a label, blog, radio show and mixtape series, got its start in the U.K. in 2004 as the brainchild of two Southern rap devotees, DJ and promoter Rob Pursey and DJ Superix. At the time, Southern rap was not something you heard very much of in the bars and nightclubs of London, so it was up to Pursey and Superix to foster the new sound. The parties caught on fast and from there expanded into a hip-hop karaoke night and other rap-themed parties.
“It was really quite a radical thing at the time,” says Sadeghi, who joined the team in 2008. “Even now, it kind of is, but back then, it was really out there. We kind of established ourselves as the few Southern and West Coast rap champions in the U.K.”
But Sadeghi was determined to grow the brand internationally, which is where Twitter comes into play. As he put it, Twitter helped immensely with growing the brand’s fan and listener base, as well as connecting them with rappers and like-minded hip-hop heads. The mixtapes also helped grow their audience; to date, Southern Hospitality has dropped at least 60 tapes. They’ve also been writing a regular column for Fact magazine since 2014 and having been holding showcases at South By Southwest for the past few years.
Sadeghi, along with Suspect, who was the head booker for iheartcomix and is now the chief talent buyer at Los Globos, joined forces and opened the brand’s second party spot in 2014 at the Lash in downtown Los Angeles. For one Saturday a month, party-goers got to hear Sadeghi and other DJs spin the newest in rap, as well as a smattering of R&B and early hip-hop, until they decided to move their location to Los Globos last July.
Thanks to the bigger venue, Southern Hospitality has started doing something new with their monthly shows: They’re inviting rappers and producers to come spin. According to Sadeghi, having a featured guest is something they've never done in London (“It’s a very self-contained experience in the U.K.; we show what we do without confusing the message or being reliant on guests”), but they’re trying it out and so far the results have been positive.
At their first Los Globos show, they had the boys from Ham on Everything take over part of the night; the line for that event was so long that it snaked down the block, even at 1 a.m. Kreayshawn from White Girl Mob DJed a set at the second event and this month, which is also Southern Hospitality’s one-year anniversary of being in L.A., DJ Carisma of Power 106 will be spinning.
“She’s the perfect guest for our anniversary because she’s at the forefront of all the brand new Cali rap we’ve been supporting for years,” says Sadeghi.
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As for who would be his dream artist to have as a guest at one of their parties, Sadeghi's answer was simple: Webbie. "That would be a dream come true," he says.
Southern Hospitality returns to Los Globos this Saturday, Sept. 19, with special guest DJ Carisma. More info.