From Strip Clubs to Shopping, Breaking Down the Hip-Hop Scenes In Atlanta, L.A. & NYC

New York City
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New York City

Rap’s capitals vary in their approach to style, clubs and deal-making. Take note and navigate like a pro (hint: order the lobster).


New York: The industry comes together at laid-back but hip Brooklyn food joints like Nas’ Sweet Chick (164 Bedford Ave.) and upscale Midtown Manhattan spots like the Polo Bar (1 E. 55th St.), mixing high-end labels like Balmain with sneakers from Flight Club (812 Broadway).

Atlanta: The “Black Capital” has something for everyone, from party king Alex Gidewon’s hotspots (Luda is a fan) to strip clubs like Magic City (241 Forsyth St.). Fashion rule-breakers like André 3000 and Lil Uzi Vert mean anything goes style-wise, from purple hair to man-skirts.

Los Angeles: VIP access reigns in Hollywood, says Warner Bros. Records’ Phylicia Fant: “You get into the right clubs because you know the right person.” If you slip into No Name (432 N. Fairfax Ave.), say hi to Pharrell (helps if you wear Supreme).

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Los Angeles


New York: WWPR (Power 105.1), WQHT (Hot 97), 300 Entertainment, SiriusXM’s Hip-Hop Nation

Atlanta: Quality Control Music, Generation Now, Awful Records, cast of FX’s Atlanta

Los Angeles: Top Dawg Entertainment, 740 Project, Mind of a Genius, cast of HBO’s Insecure

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New York: Vandal (199 Bowery) and the Hunt & Fish Club (125 W. 44th St.) feed the new-money appetites of the Mack Wildses, but the lobster wasabi pepper ($49) at Nobu (195 Broadway) and king prawns ($34) at Philippe Chow (33 E. 60th St.) affirm that classics endure for bosses like Steve Stoute.

Atlanta: Warner/Chappell’s Ryan Press does deals at The Cheetah (887 Spring St.) over lobster ($42), while street celebs like DJ Plugg get courted with Ace of Spades ($650) at Blue Flame (1097 Harwell Road).

Los Angeles: If you’re not DJ Khaled, Nas, Jamie Foxx or Chris Brown, getting a table at West Hollywood paparazzi haunt Catch (8715 Melrose Ave.) could be challenging, but the lobster mac ($23), short rib tacos ($24) and Hollywood Hills views are worth the effort.

Brian Crumb


New York: Fly guys like Fabolous hit Barneys (660 Madison Ave.) for Balmain, Goyard and Gucci. Impossible-to-find retro Jordans are religion.

Atlanta: Big Boi and Quality Control prove preppy and sports jerseys remain local classics. Future loves Gucci logos (3500 Peachtree Road), while Young Thug opts for tactical masks from Airsoft Atlanta (3280 Peachtree Corners Circle).

Los Angeles: Shop pop-ups for brand collabs, says stylist Tiffany Hardin (Ballers, Shooter): “People get exclusives like LV and Supreme.” Kick it in Cali-cool low-top Vans or Chuck Taylors from Undefeated (3827 Sunset Blvd.).

Courtesy of Nike 


New York: Power 105’s DJ Self breaks local bangers like Casanova’s “Don’t Run,” while hip-hop household name D-Nice plays all the VIP corporate events.

Atlanta: Ryan Cameron of WVEE (V-103) helped introduce Goodie Mob over 20 years ago -- and now he has the city’s No. 1 morning show.

Los Angeles: Big Boy of KRRL (Real 92.3) still rules the a.m. commute with A-list interviews, while NYC transplant DJ MOS spins rare soul sets at night.


New York: No MC, whether native (Dave East) or visiting (Anderson .Paak), breaks the country’s toughest market without playing the legendary S.O.B.’s (204 Varick St.).

Atlanta: Whether it’s for the city’s best new music or dancer Diamond’s acrobatics, Magic City Mondays bring out trap rappers both OG (Jeezy) and new (Trouble).

Los Angeles: L.A. Live’s 2,300-seater Novo (800 W. Olympic Blvd.) is growing into the premier spot to catch the internet’s newest and freshest rappers (RJ) and singers (SZA).

Courtesy of No Name


New York: “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B

Atlanta: “My Dawg” by Lil Baby

Los Angeles: “DNA” by Kendrick Lamar

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Lil Baby

This article originally appeared in the Sep. 23 issue of Billboard.