Hip-hop heads don’t hit the big clubs expecting to hear music we actually enjoy. On the rare occasions that we do swap the Air Maxes for Cole Haans and put up with whichever Dutch DJ is being paid six figures to press play, it’s solely so we can cop feels on the dance floor. (At least that’s been my totally ineffective strategy.) Fortunately, we don’t have to fake it any more.
If you’re willing to take off that snapback and pay for overpriced drinks, you can catch a legit hip-hop concert—not one of those three-song cameos—at Drai’s or Foxtail. Although both clubs cater to a mainstream audience, anything’s better than Calvin Harris (except Tyga … unless Drai’s is gonna have him bungee jump off of the Cromwell without a cord—I’d purchase a VIP cabana for that). Still, there are some gems.
Kanye apprentice Vic Mensa and Atlanta monster Future both performed recently at Drai’s, with Big Sean and the Weeknd holding down residencies. While they’re sprinkled in an EDM-heavy calendar, there are a couple of upcoming shows worth checking out. “Bankrupt” but still likely to blow unnecessary cash, 50 Cent hits Drai’s August 23. You can hear “In Da Club” in the club by the guy who wrote “In Da Club.” R&B sensation Miguel is up next on August 28. His new album, Wildheart, is a clash of soulful vocals and fuzzy guitars, making for an eclectic alt-R&B masterpiece. If you’ve got a girl coming over to kick it, that’s the album you throw on (but don’t play “The Valley” until the third or fourth date—you don’t wanna come on too strong, playboy).
Trumping Drai’s in quantity but not quite quality, SLS has rebranded itself as the most hip-hop property in the city, launching the Made Sundays day party and #GreystoneSundays evening jump-off at Foxtail. The venue has had everyone from stoner stalwarts Method Man & Redman to up-and-comers such as Travis Scott, with actor/singer Jamie Foxx popping in August 22 for a special one-year anniversary. If you need some novelty and/or “Thug Lovin’,” the gruff-voiced Ja Rule appears for not one but two concerts (day and night) on August 23. Who books/goes to see Ja Rule twice on the same day in 2015? This isn’t a setup for a joke; I’m seriously asking.
Foxtail does get it right with Detroit firecracker Dej Loaf on August 30. Skipping the overly sexual rhymes and skimpy outfits of her mainstream female rap peers, Dej can hang with the hardest of emcees—a point she’s made aggressively clear on her biggest singles, “Try Me” and “Back Up.”
Finally, Fetty Wap—the man behind two of this year’s biggest radio bangers, “Trap Queen” and “My Way”—and Lil Wayne treat Foxtail to a Labor Day Weekend blowout on September 6. Out from under Birdman’s wings, expect Weezy to spit flames and fire shots at the man he once called “daddy.” Bring a fire extinguisher.