Friday July 18, 2014

I wanted to go out and unwind after a long day, but I didn’t have many options after getting off work at 10:30 p.m.  I still had to go home and get ready, plus my one of my friends wouldn’t be ready until almost midnight.  So, we decided to take a chance on an after hours party we rsvp’ed to a week ago with a secret address in Los Angeles.  The police have been cracking down on parties like this, so we were hesitant about a party of this nature.  We didn’t want to go to a party that would end up being shut down by the police early.  But, at midnight we weren’t left with many options.  So, we took our chances and headed out to the address in the email.  

We were led to some industrial looking area off the 10 freeway just to pick up wristbands from some guy standing outside a U-Haul van.  He gave us the wristbands and the real address to the party.  This party cautiously took extra steps to make sure the cops would have a hard time finding it.

We got to the address a little past midnight, and the place reminded me of someone’s house converted into a shop selling God knows what.  There were people near the entrance with a table set up showcasing rocks and minerals, which was pretty weird.  

The heat was immediately felt as soon as you walked into the industrial-looking home.  But, this party was fully prepared with three bartenders ready to quench your thirst with cheap beer and liquor.  I couldn’t stand being inside with all the body heat near the dance floor, so I stayed outside most of the time within ear’s distance of the music.

There were only two DJ sets that I ended up watching up close.  The first DJ I decided to go back inside and watch was Hoodboi.  Hoodboi was scheduled to play for an hour starting at 2 a.m.  I’ve seen him play two other times, so I didn’t mind not watching the whole set.  The body heat made me leave the set halfway through and grab another drink.  As I was waiting in line, I noticed that Christopher Mintz aka McLovin’ from the comedy, Superbad, just finished ordering a drink.  I didn’t know McLovin’ was into this music haha.  

The last set I caught was from a DJ all the way from Sydney Australia, Alison Wonderland.  The energy she brought was like no one else that night, and this was happening at almost 4 a.m.  I didn’t want to stay for the next DJ after watching her.  She ended my night on a good note even after feeling the humid body heat from the crowded dance floor.  I would definitely go see her again if I have a chance in the future.

Gonna take y’all to “Summer Cool” with this mix. UTT SoundBites #86 is full of dance tunes to get you in that summertime groove. DL/Stream NOW!

On April 5, 2014, I was able to DJ on the same night that Nas was hosting Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Justin Credible took over the turntables from me as Nas was about to address his fans.  Nas was only on the mic for a good 10 minutes as he reflected on the past twenty years since his first album release, ILLMATIC. He also performed a few songs, and this is the footage I took of him.  The only problem for a Nas fan was being that this was Nas reflecting on 20 years since ILLMATIC, the DJ did not drop any songs from the album for Nas to rap over at all.  Nas still killed it as he held a fat cigar on one hand and a glass (bottle later on) of Hennessy in the other.

Set List:

1.  Hate Me Now

2.  Made You Look

3.  If I Ruled The World

Vancouver x Los Angeles x Las Vegas in 24 hours

I always end up in Vegas right after I get back from Vancouver. It happened for the third straight time on this last trip.

Superbowl Sunday started off with brunch at the hotel restaurant downstairs.  I cleaned the iron plate that my turkey sausage hash was warming up on.  We went to the local drugstore to pick up snacks to munch on during the game.  I bought two bags of ketchup chips: one for the game and one to take home.

We rested one more time before we were to head out for Ronnel’s Birthday celebration after the Seahawks annihilated the Broncos.   We decided to eat dinner at Japadog since Gerald had never eaten there.  I ordered the tasty Spicy Cheese Terimayo on this visit.  The hot dog was not too filling.  It was just the right amount to eat before heading out to The Queen’s Republic to party with Angelo for the fourth night in a row haha!

Gerald had us on pound mode with the drinks before midnight.  Ronnel’s birthday shot was 151 while we had Henny shots.  That definitely kicked him into gear to party.  The night was filled with Hiphop in the main room, and Reggae in the annex room.  Many thanks to Angelo for getting us into all his clubs these past four nights.  He even mentioned for us to hit up the chinese restaurant across the street from Fritz so that we could try something different.  The cab took us there, but the bad news was that the Chinese restaurant was closed, and so was Fritz!

On Monday, we took the train and arrived at Vancouver International Airport in the afternoon.  I couldn’t wait to go back home to some warm weather.  But, we arranged for our friends Kex and Kvn to pick us up at the airport so we could head straight to Vegas for one last party.  I switched seats before the flight so that I could sit in an empty aisle seat.  I was comfortable, but a gross smell hit my nose.  It smelled like the kid next to me took a doo doo.  I covered my nose with my sweater for the two and a half hour flight back to LAX.

Kvn picked us up from the airport, and we headed back to Gerald’s to drop off our bags and get dressed for Vegas.  Kex met us up and we left a little before 9 P.M..  We drove straight to XS to catch the end of Salva's set.  We hurried in some more drinks before the start of RL Grime's set.  The night got crazy after that.  

The beats were hitting hard, and the lights got really bright.  The visuals took a life of their own, and RL Grime brought out Lil’ Jon to do his lyrics for “Turn Down for What?!”. Lil’ Jon added some Lil’ Terio ad libs for the downtempo part at the end which was pretty entertaining. We left at the end of RL Grime’s set.  

I was full circle after that club night, exhausted from the previous nights. I want to travel more, but not necessarily to party.  My main focus and goal after this trip is to exercise and strengthen my writing skills.  And, if I have time… work on creating some music for fun.  I’m sure I’ll be back in Vegas again, but not for a while.

After Meat & Bread, we stopped by a few places that I had never checked out before on previous Vancouver trips.  I was finally able to check out the popular Beat Street Records store.  The place seemed more like a museum now that vinyl was not as popular as it used to be.  There were only a handful of people in there looking at record labels and record covers.  And, no one talked to each other over the faint music playing in the background.  I searched for some Canadian artists that I used to listen to: K-OS, Choclair, Kardinal Offishall, and The Rascalz (The rapper I talked to last night, Red-1, was part of this crew).  All those artists had vinyl in stock that made me reminisce about all the Hip Hop that I used to listen to in High School and College.  We slapped a UTT sticker outside and made our way to the hotel.

We took a brief rest at the Vancouver Lookout Tower.  The view from the top allowed you to see the beautiful harbor, and all the city buildings (including where the Canucks play on the other side).  We took some awkward selfies and group shots, typical tourist stuff.  We took one more look before it got dark, and finally got back to the hotel to rest before we partied on Saturday night.

We contacted a friend to get into Shine Nightclub in Gastown.  We waited in line for about 30 minutes in the cold.  We saw the amount of people heading out of the club, so we contacted our good friend Angelo to see if he could get us into Fortune again tonight.  His answer: “FUCK YEAH!”  So, we went into Shine for a good 20 minutes to use the bathroom.  The place reminded me of home with all the DJ Mustard produced tracks that were playing in the main room.  We went into the other room to say what’s up to our friend that got us on the list at Shine.  This room played all Old School R&B.  We found our friend and we took a shot of Jack Daniels with him. We checked out the main room one more time and headed out the club to look for a cab to Fortune.

The cab dropped us off in front of Fortune around 1 A.M..  The security guard asked to see the text I got from Angelo so he could let us in right away.  The security guard smiled at the “Fuck Yeah!” text that Angelo sent and let us right in.  The room was just as packed as last night, and Angelo sent me a text to head to the same bar near the stage.  Beautiful ladies, Red Dragons, and Red Stripes all over again as we partied on stage with him and his friends.  This time we stayed until the music stopped, and we took a cab to Fritz to make it three nights of eating poutine in a row.  I decided to try the bacon this time, and Gerald used ham.  The results were still amazing.

We woke up late again on Saturday afternoon.  Ronnel walked some girl we met last night downstairs for her friends to pick her up.  We joked around with him, and asked him about what happened last night as he grinned and spilled some info.  We cut the conversation short and decided to look for a good place to eat.

Gerald mentioned this sandwich spot he heard about through a TV show, called Meat & Bread  So, we decided to take a 15 minute walk to try their specialty sandwich called the Porchetta.

We got to the restaurant, and the first thing I saw was the Italian roast pig on the cutting board.  The guy was cutting off it’s crispy skin into little pieces, and those bits would go right on top of the sandwich I was about to order.  I watched as they cut the moist pieces of the pig’s loin and belly and put them into the rectangular ciabatta roll.  The home made salsa verde was smeared on top of the pork meat, and sprinkled with the crunchy skin bits.  I grabbed my ginger ale, and bit into one of the best pork sandwiches I’ve ever tasted. 

I woke up after 12 P.M., and took my time to get dressed.  Ronnel and I got a text from Gerald saying that he would be on his way to Vancouver, and he would be here around 3 or 4 P.M. if the border agent lets him in.  Gerald would definitely be flagged before coming into the country too if I got hassled because he was with me last time they gave us shit at the border.

Ronnel and I decided to look for some hangover soup.  We Yelped for Ramen, but we ended up at a spot that was permanently closed.  So, we yelped for soup one more time and ended up at a tasty Pho restaurant next to Japadog.

We walked back to the hotel, and Ronnel decided to use the gym while I updated this blog.  I got a knock at the door, and it was Gerald.  He arrived a little later than he mentioned earlier, but being late wasn’t important.  He mentioned that the border agent gave him shit, but he made it into Canada.  Time to party!

At night, we walked over to the Vancouver Convention Centre where a friend was working the Red Bull booth.  A good amount of people dressed in warm clothes came to check out the Red Bull Illume Exhibit.  Various photos of extreme Red Bull-like stunts were presented in tall bright lit frames scattered next to the 2010 Winter Olympic Cauldron while Hip Hop instrumentals played in the background.

We said goodbye to our friend working the booth and headed to Fortune Sound Club.  I hit up our friend Angelo about getting into the club earlier.  This would be our second night partying with him, but at a better venue.  He mentioned that there would be an after party with the same DJs as well, so we tried to pace ourselves with the drinks.  

Fortune would be the spot I would go to on a regular basis if it was in Los Angeles.  They booked all the artists that I would be interested in seeing.  Tonight, they had Devin The Dude perform before the club started.  We waited for his performance to end so we could get into the club, and I saw some rappers from my Hiphop childhood about to walk in.  Kool Keith was in the place, and even Sticky Fingaz from Onyx was about to walk in.  The one rapper I was surprised at seeing was Red-1 from the Rascalz.  I had all their albums, and quite a few singles on vinyl.  I was able to chop it up with him later on in the night at his booth, and it turns out he runs a cannabis clinic now called Red Med.

After running into Red-1, and throwing down a number of Red Dragons and Red Stripes, the night fast forwarded to the afterparty with Hoodboi and Falcons at an undisclosed location down the street.  It was not the typical industrial warehouse party we have in LA.  This party was held at an abandoned office with grey carpet everywhere.  The booze flowed from the small bar, the music was cranked up to the red, the lights flashed to the beats, and once again it was time to hit up some poutine at Fritz before they closed.

Last time I was in Vancouver, a border agent thought I was “stealing” jobs from Canadian DJs and sent me back home the next morning after seeing DJ equipment in my bag.

2 years passed and they sent me to the holding area again for screening. The border agent, who resembled Vin Diesel, was even more of a dick than the last one who sent me home. The agent questioned me about why I wanted to come back, and even took my phone to look up all the info he could get to nail me about a possible “unpermitted” DJ gig. The agent even tried pushing my buttons to get me to snap back at him by asking questions fast and telling me to calm down even though I haven’t talked aggressively toward him. After he couldn’t find anything on me, he let me back in to Van City! Cue up Drake: “N!**@ WE MADE IT!”

I celebrated my entrance back into Vancouver at a club my friend got us into called The Queen’s Republic. We even ran into a performance last night by Aries Spears. The DJ dropped beats as he did his famous routine where he would rap in other famous rappers’ voices. The voices were so dead on point that I thought Biggie, Snoop, DMX, and Method Man were all in the club too haha!

We stuck to beer all night since the club didn’t like to pour drinks generously. But, on a good note: we ended the night with some good ol’ Canadian poutine from Fritz! I took my time and devoured the gravy-fied cheese curded fries just so that I could enjoy every bite. I slammed dunked the empty container into the nearby trash can. I’M BACK VANCOUVER!!! What are we getting into tomorrow?!