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Get Down and Dirty 

Current nightclub recommends from our hip-hop critic

So, kiddies, ever think about why you go to the club? I know that I go because of the fresh smoky smell that you just can't buy in a bottle. I also love to spend lots of money on drinks that I could buy much cheaper at the store and of course I love to hang out in clubs so I can get that nice worn-in look going on by peeps stepping on my shuz (as Tim from Pattini would say). But I am not like everybody else, as I found out through vigorous research. Other people just might go to the clubs because of the vibe that is created by the DJ.

Hmm, very interesting. And might these clubs play the same music one might hear on the radio but still got it going on? Yes, some. And might some of these clubs play fabulous music that one does not hear often on the radio? Yes, some.

Ah, ha. Well, seems that these clubs are the only ones really worth mentioning. So let's get dirty.

I will begin with places that offer food with their DJs. I think that Chapel Hill is gonna have to take home the gold on this one with spots that keep shit hot. The West End Wine Bar offers "big tunes" every Sunday from such DJs as BumRush (the man,, Simon Booth (mixtapemaster) and Chela No.1. Chela (the most happening female DJ in the area and the hardest MF repping Nicaragua around) jocks Aretha to Dead Prez and lots more in between. She spins at Henry's Bistro in Chapel Hill on the second Monday of every month and can also be heard on 88.7 FM-WXDU on Friday nights during 9th Wonder's show from 12 a.m.-2 a.m. 9th Wonder (DJ for Little Brother) and Merlin are DJing "Skyterrain Hip-Hop" on the first Wednesday of the month. And of course there's the ever-evolving Skylight Exchange. Books, records, CDs, tapes, sandwiches, zuppes and poetry, this store is much more than a hole in the wall--it's a temple.

Mucho respecto goes to one of the first restaurant/clubs in the area: Five Star--and you know this. Like I have mentioned before, Five Star remains my personal fav. Great Chinese food served until 2 a.m. every night, but it ain't about the eats--it's about the beats! Every Thursday the weekend begins with DJs Merlin and Joshua playing laid back, jazzy mello house along with trip hop, funky soul and more ... (very much like Sunday Night Lounge on WKNC 88.1 and Jazz Anew). Friday nights are a bit feistier when Merlin and Mooney rock hip hop to the fullest (make-you-sweat style).

Note that Mooney and Merlin of 4/4 Records ( hosts a monthly event on the last Monday of every month at Kings ( This is the night that the homies come out to play, check out Wednesday '80s, Jazz Anew and Sundays. But back to the Five Stizzy, Saturday night once again has Merlin (he is Soundmachine's protégé--so ya know he kicks ass) and Blake, aka Dick Serious (the "gimme two random records and I'll make 'em fit" DJ). The two create a zone with everything from '80s to hip hop to breaks to reggae to funk to hip hop mixed together like concrete.

You can also find Blake at Retail, the newest and neatest club to hit Raleigh. Blake spins mainly house, funk, disco and '80s on Fridays there. Saturdays you will most often find Foxy, who plays a different style of house, funk and disco.

Since I'm on house and if it's your thing you might also wanna try The Office ( on Wednesdays with DJ Chad who plays funky house and dance classics. On Thursdays, it's college night with Daddy Goodstick on the patio spinning current dance, top 40, hip-hop and party classics along with DJs Riot and Jade. It's about the same all weekend unless there is a special event or guest DJ (which happens frequently). But the nice thing about the club is that it has a patio and main rooms so there are always two DJs spinning at once.

So what if house ain't yer steez and you gotta have mo' hip hop? Well I would suggest Marlon Events (once Clifton's) off Six Forks Road on Saturdays when DJ Mike Nice and Bro Rabb hit the tables. That's right--90.7's own Straight From The Crate DJs, folks, in da flesh, in da club! Don't act like you don't see them. These two are icons. In Chapel Hill, Club NV has got extremely skilled resident DJs like Pez (from Sankofa) and Funk Junkie (regional spinner, Club Aura resident, and rated No. 172 worldwide Pez, a Chapel Hill-veteran DJ who has spun all ova spinning everything "with a beat," plays Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at NV. DJ Fadi is up and coming, forever keeping a variety to his sets at NV.

In Raleigh, off Poole Road at Una's Niteclub, DJ Willie Gee (respect one of NC's hip-hop foundin' fathers) spins Friday and Saturday, hip hop (new and old-school), reggae and more.

Another great hip-hop spot is The Sky Bar (not to be confused with the one in SoHo--they are nothing alike). Raleigh's Sky Bar is very chill even though dress code is sometimes stressed. You can bet on hearing "The Real Deal" hip-hop Thursday through Saturday with DJ Assain, and on Sundays, Sly Fox brings more fire with wicked reggae, roots, raga, culture, and dancehall all night long. Be on the look out for Sky Bar's new Wednesday night weekly, which is 'bout to blow.

I hope that this can help you with your next nightclub outing. But wait there's more! I didn't forget all you crazy rock 'n' rollers! There is a club just for you, and if you're cool enough, they just might let you in! The Jackpot (the old Bourbon Street Bar--aww, the good ol' dayz) has got a DJ for every night! That's right and you'll barely ever hear hip-hop or house. Shit, chances are good that you might not hear a single song from your lifetime. Wednesday night the infamous Chris Jones rocks Howling Wolf to the Germs. I grantee that you'll leave hearing at least 10 songs you've never heard before and 10 songs you'll start to listen to from then on. Thursdays Eddie Taylor blends '50s exotica, '60s/'70s blues, funk, rock and reggae (fo' shizzy). Sundays Mickey D'Loughy hits the decks with a wide variety from soul to mental, I mean metal ... metal spun like a champ by the champions at Jackpot--this is serious. On that note I will end with Tuesdays at the Jackpot when Queen of the Desert Metal, Que-Cera spins just about everything mentioned above, including hip hop.

OK, so those are the clubs I nominate--please don't abominate. And if I left you out--and you got skills, holla at yer girl!

Note: Other DJs to look out for are Madcow, Krazrock, Flash, MC, Dr. K, Chizel and TNT Sound, along with Kings' jukebox! Other hot clubs include The Edge, The Library and Ringside. EndBlock

Contact K8 Erwin at

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