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.