Low End Theory has often played the role of L.A.'s sole hip-hop night, but beats there generally take precedence over lyrics. Recently, Bananas has emerged as L.A.'s best unadulterated rap night. Hosted by venerated L.A. indie rapper VerBS and rapper-producer K. Solar, Bananas is held on the third Tuesday of every month at Kaos Network, a small performing arts center founded by L.A. filmmaker Ben Caldwell. Located in the heart of Leimert Park, the same neighborhood where storied open-mic nights at the Good Life Café took place, the venue is usually packed wall-to-wall with a lively and eclectic mix of friends, fans and performers. It gets hot inside, but you can step out to cool off anytime. Like Project Blowed before it, the monthly is both a breeding ground and a sanctuary, featuring performances from rising rappers such as Hugh Augustine and established acts like Nocando. Earlier this year, Kendrick Lamar stopped by. You probably should, too.


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