200 Varick St., at Houston St.; 212-243-4940
Longtime world-music joint S.O.B.’s is also the place for up-and-coming rappers to convert Internet hype into money and fame. In his early days, Kanye West launched himself onto the charts with wild S.O.B. events crammed with label execs and unannounced guests. In spring 2010, a guy named J. Cole had a similar show and ended up with a No. 1 album a little over a year later. On a recent night, Brooklyn’s Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire (whose “Huzzah” is a YouTube smash) had his set interrupted by Harlem’s A$AP Rocky (6 million hits for “Peso” and a $3 million record deal) and Interscope- signed M.C. Iggy Azalea; the group then ceded the stage to Dr. Dre– endorsed wordsmith Kendrick Lamar. Nowhere else in the world will you see four of the most promising young rappers working today, under the same roof, within twenty minutes.
Best Rap Venue
From the 2012 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).