California Love Revisited: An LA Travelogue
Wanderlust-in’ and Hip Hop Thrustin’
In a hella last-minute fashion last month, I took a trip out to Los Angeles to be a part of the Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde 20th Anniversary Celebrations with my Delicious Vinyl fam. Endless amounts of love for the West Coast combined with The Pharcyde being my favourite group of all time, as I boarded the flight my excitement levels were already grazing the clouds. But, even as the scorching wheels would have hit that Californian tarmac, I don’t think I was, or could ever have been, prepared for the unforgettable experiences that lay in store…
So, here’s just a little day-to-day account of a pretty exceptional week in Los Angeles:
I’m actually a baller now, so on the 21st May I flew direct to Los Angeles from Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic. It felt pretty badass, but I gotta admit I missed that element of surprise and the characters you meet when you fly Air Sketchy.
However, on the way to Hollywood from LAX I coincidently met a fellow music journalist (and generally interested, plugged-in, creative type) – the brilliant Jesse Jaded of Dance Trance Hood Medallion (http://soundcloud.com/dancetrancehoodmedallion). Mad diverse range and crazy knowledgeable – like a Nardwuar with social skills – check out some of his work here: http://lwt.tumblr.com/
Goes to show that the more you get yourself out there, the more you meet like-minded and inspiring people. Gaining momentum being where you should and want to be.
Boy it felt good to be back in California. I pretty much headed straight to Sunset Boulevard to visit my Delicious Vinyl fam before shooting down to The Roxy Theatre for the Bizarre Ride Live rehearsals. The energy of so many people coming together was just insane. And, it was touching to see the amount of work being poured into the project by those involved.
Pizza rations for the crew:
Hey – even rappers need downtime:
It was dark once we left the venue, the strip was lit up neon, and the bill for next night’s show had gone up:
I can only try to describe the feelings and energies buzzing at that moment – like the butterflies before a school play mixed with the anticipation you feel as a kid on Christmas Eve. With a pinch of sleep-deprived jetlag exhilaration. Young and excited, a million miles away and feeling so at home.
‘DV Presents: Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde Live feat. Fatlip, SlimKid3, J-Sw!ft & L.A. Jay’
The day that so many weeks of preparation, promotion, hard work, and straight up good times had been building up to finally arrived, and even though I could see the palm trees, hear the sound-checking and taste the dutch-courage Modelo, I couldn’t quite believe that I was out in my favourite bands hometown for such a landmark show.
Me and the lovely Denisse Salcido, a.k.a Girl Is Tough, teamed up to cover the show for DVTV (Delicious Vinyl TV) – pulling crowd interviews and exclusive backstage chats.
Deep chat with SlimKid3:
Mike ‘Floss’ the genie:
The show itself was a complete knock-out. A stellar realisation of collective visions; one spectacular performance paying tribute to one of hip hops most cherished albums.
The day after the show was pure blissed out elation all round. So much shared gratitude, excitement, pride, and relief. Certain highs you just don’t come down from; memories and times that you will always have and no-one can take away from you.
Over at DV HQ in the afternoon, Fatlip, still rocking his Puma tracksuit from the ‘Return of the B-Boy’ finale, jumped on the decks to get an impromptu day-after-party started:
As fate would have it, that evening Stonesthrow were having their weekly 56 party with very special guest, my NYC buddy Prince Paul. PP was joined by Stonesthrow founder Peanut Butter Wolf and HouseShoes behind the decks at Mr. T’s Bowl (a converted bowling alley), right by the labels offices in Highland Park. Driving down the Freeway gazing at the lights of Downtown LA on your way to an underground night is one helluva way to be 23. That’s all I’m saying.
Ain’t no party like a straw-hat party!
On Friday the 25th May an epic time went down at Freak City on Hollywood Boulevard, as LA Substance and Boy London invaded the space to throw the party ‘Boy Hollywood’.
The night kicked off with some late night shopping, breaks and beats courtesy of Chico Sonido, multi-coloured vodka jello shots, and all-round good vibes and times.
Beautiful ladies Girl is Tough and Kiara Tenae:
Chily T and yours truly:
Vally Rap dosing up on caffeine:
Later on the party really got started with performances from The Keyishe and Brooke Candy, a UK deejay takeover, corridor rap battles, and twerking.
One of my favourite things at Freak City events is seeing the outfits and characters that turn up. Always vibrant – hey, ‘vivrant’ even if we wanna get Q Tip – and entertaining:
Saturday 27th May Delicious Vinyl had a little get together at the X-Large clothing store on Vermont to mark the release of the dope ‘Delicious Primal’ tee:
Signed prints by Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde artist Slick:
DV homies were out in full force as Cee Brown, L.A. Jay and Chily T took it in turns behind the decks. An unexpected jam went down when Fatlip started freestyling during Cazal Organisms beat set, and J-Sw!ft even went back to back on the mic with young Bay artist Chiggy Chazz.
Girl is Tough on the mic:
The beautiful singer Sophia Bastian (www.sophiabastian.com) even stopped by in her equally beautiful ride – and so an impromptu Cadillac photo-shoot ensued:
Memorial Day Weekend:
After a ridiculously packed week of burning the hip hop candle, when Memorial Day weekend came it was all about pool parties and chilling at the beach in Malibu…
Jacuzzi times with Vally Rap and Girl is Tough:
I never really feel ready to leave places, and, flying back to London on the 29th May was no exception. What did I learn though?? That at the moment, life is still all about travelling, keeping on beat, and the incredible people that you meet.