On Saturday, September 22nd 2018 Fat Beats Los Angeles reopened its iconic doors.
Fat Beats closed its doors in Los Angeles back on September 19th, 2010. The New York location closed down earlier that same month. For many, the closure of Fat Beats marked the end of an era. The record store being closed left a tremendous void in the city. Fans no longer had that go to hub for celebrating Hip-hop culture. Fat Beats was a place where music was pushed to the forefront, you could discover new artists and see incredible live performances on any given night.
Thats why when it was announced that Fat Beats would make its return to LA, the Hip-hop community spread the good word like wildfire. House Shoes had a particularly great post on his Instagram about the grand opening of the new store.
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I had the honor of putting together the closing festivities on Melrose. The old manager walked when the news came in they were closing shop. I wasn’t an LA native but the history of Fatbeats in LA and LA itself needed to be celebrated. I handled that. For LA. Honored to carry the responsibilities that I do. And now we are celebrating the rebirth of a very important place for US in Los Angeles. You should be there. I play at 4:15.
The grand opening was incredible, two of our Word Is Bond team members George and Eric were able to attend. So many pillars of the Hip-hop community in LA were there to show support. The lineup up of performers was special as well. The lineup included the most talented beatsmiths and DJs from the likes of DJ Rhettmatic, Dibia$e, House Shoes, Ras G, Exile and DJ Babu. One after the other, these talented artists spun dope records that had the new store packed to the brim with fans. Check out some photos taken from the grand opening of Fat Beats below.
Exile went on at 7:15PM and had one of the best sets because he brought along a handful of special guests. Most notably, he brought out his longtime partner Blu. After his surprise performance with Exile, we had the opportunity to speak with Los Angeles legend Blu.
When asked about what Fat Beats meant to him, Blu shared his nostalgia associated with the record store.
“The record store was the source. It was the source, it was where everybody touched down at. We used to come by bus and ditch school to get to Fat Beats. That was way back in the days and we’re glad Fat Beats is back! Plus we don’t have to ditch school anymore haha.”
Blu went on to discuss what performing at the grand opening of Fat Beats was like.
“It feels good, it feels really good man. Exile brought us out and had us here as special guests. We’re honored to be here.”
Blu also shared some information about future events and shows at Fat Beats from him at the Dirty Science crew.
“We have some new records coming out with Fat Beats. So we are definitely looking to do more in-stores in the future.”
DJ Babu arrives to spin around 9PM for his attendees. The Beat Junkie turntablist decides to play some new music from his upcoming projects that will be available through Fat Beats, such as a 45″ series, the fourth installation of Duck Season, and Super Duper Duck Flips. Before he starts his set, he takes people back in time to when he discovered Fat Beats in New York, and how he and the rest of the Junkies eventually worked for Fat Beats when it opened for the first time in LA. The opening of the LA store happened 6-8 months after Babu and Fat Beats founder Joe Abaijan (aka DJ Jab) initially met.
According to Babu, he went to his first DMC battle, and somehow he heard about the record to store that took over the space over the Beatles’ old shoe store. He and the Bay Area legend DJ Shortkut went to go pay the store a visit.
“And so I walked in and they’re playing my DMC battle tape on the TV,” Babu said. “And my man Joe was behind the counter and was like, ‘Yo, Shortkut, Babu… what’s up,’ and it became like family ever since.”
Abaijan acknowledged that the resurrection of the store was important to his team and the community. Ever since the store closed, the element of even having a great store that was dedicated to the hip-hop community, went along with that, too. The idea of an underground community nowadays seems to fall on ears of those who have apparently been unaware.
“Hip-hop has all these different meanings, but there’s a void of all the good stuff that’s (kind of) not being pushed,” Abaijan said. “There’s an underground community that’s really big but people don’t know about it.”
When the store was open back in the ’90s, it was for the meetings of the minds. Customers would either come in and shop, or even just hang out and listen to dope music that would be playing by the DJs that worked there. Abaijan hopes that this element of the experience will also return to today’s crowd once they step into the store.
Plans to reopen a store in New York aren’t currently in the works. For Abaijan, the possibility of a chain opportunity has to be reasonable.
“I wouldn’t go open a store in New York,” Abaijan said. “But if the situation presented itself that makes sense, there could be one there.”
Talks among the attendees were nostalgic when it comes to the memories of their past experiences at the store. Now that the store is back and running, more memories are expected to be made.
“Congrats Joe, we’re glad to have you back,” Babu said.
Eric Soul has contributed to this story.